My road to fitness

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Pamela Lozano
  • 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron
I recently found a picture of me from 2012 at the combat fitness gym during a "Murph," an intense workout meant to challenge you and honor fallen warriors. No, I was not participating in the one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 sit-ups, 300 squats and another mile run event. I was running beside someone who was, and I accidently photo-bombed the picture. That was me, two years and 25 pounds ago.

Growing up, I was never into any sports. I do not have any kind of athletic history, and my favorite pastime was eating Doritos and playing video games throughout the night. In fact, the first time I was introduced to running was during basic training in 2008 at the age of 18. To top it all off, I started smoking at an early age.

When I started my Air Force career, I had a 34-inch waist and was pushing close to 150 pounds, and I was just over five feet tall. I somehow made it through basic training, but barely. My unhealthy lifestyle didn't catch up to me until 2011, when I failed my physical fitness assessment. Worse, I failed my test three weeks after I found out I had a line number for staff sergeant. You can imagine all the crap that was flowing through my head at that time.

Fortunately for me, my commander trusted that I would pass my next fitness test and allowed me to keep my line number. That moment, I promised myself I would never fail another PT test again. I began to run; I first pushed myself to one mile, then a mile and a half, then two miles...up to where I was capable of running for 30 minutes comfortably.

When it came time to retest, I passed with an "excellent" score of 96.6. I was happy with myself, but still struggled with my changing weight and waist measurement. I was working out, but my diet was not what it should have been. At the time, I thought: "As long as I work out, I should be able to eat whatever I want and still smoke." WRONG.

In May of 2013, I walked into my first combat fitness class. At first, I hated every moment of it. I hated being out of breath, the high intensity and the instructors yelling to keep pushing. For some reason, I still went to the class for the rest of the week, and then continued on weeks after that. I fell in love with the sport when I was introduced to the heavy lifts such as squats, cleans and deadlifts. Finally in August 2013, I crushed my last pack of cigarettes and have never had one since. I wanted to be faster and stronger, and the only way I could do that was if I stopped smoking and cleaned up my diet.

I found that having a workout partner helps as well. If you have someone who is actually motivated as you are, it is a great support system. I am competitive, so a having a workout partner is a great way to push yourself beyond what you thought possible.

But it isn't just about fitness. It's about a lifestyle of healthy living. I used to inconsistently eat well before lapsing back to poor eating habits until this year, when I finally taught myself some discipline.

First: Eating healthy is a lifestyle change... It's not a temporary commitment then ends with going back to old habits. Every once in a while treat yourself with something you love, but do not over-indulge; lack of consistency will be a reason you are not seeing results.

Second: Do what works for you and your body. Never give in to one type of diet plan that is a really popular fad, or something that your friend's friend does, and they are shredded and have an eight-pack. I have personally tried almost every diet out there, including a very short experience as a vegan. I stopped depending on these diets to fix my problems, and started being real with myself. I paid close attention to how my body reacts to certain foods, and made sure I had a colorful plate with moderate servings. When shopping for food, I ask myself two things: Do I know what these ingredients are? And if the expiration date is two years from now, should I be putting this in my body?

Third: My last and most important tip is BE PATIENT. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not expect to see results instantly in the first two weeks. Be consistent, continue to eat healthy, go to the gym and wait. If you fall off the path of fitness and happen to land face first into a cheeseburger, that's okay. It happens to all of us. Just pick yourself back up and press on. Do not give up if you fail. WE ARE HUMAN.

This is not an advertisement for combat fitness. This is a call to action for those who think, "Oh, I could never do that because I have never done a sport in my life," or "Oh, I am too old to change my habits and my work is in the way."

Stop with the excuses and change your life to a healthier one-- if you want to prevent a large number of health risks, this is the way to do it. You will benefit from it, your loved ones will benefit from it and I can promise you will feel happier about yourself. There are so many opportunities on base for you to take that step towards a lifestyle of fitness and health, including programs offered by the fitness center and combat fitness.

One of my favorite quotes to live by is a Combat Fit motto: "One Life, One Body, One Chance."

The only thing getting in the way is you against you. So, what road are you going to take?