by Scott Prater
Capt. Colleen Noonan expected to be pushed, but after every session with Schriever Fitness Center personal trainer Patti Eafrati, at least one part of her body was sore for days.
She needed the external motivation at the time. The caesarian section birth of her son last year, left her with two broken ribs and tenderness.
“It was a difficult pregnancy,” she said. “I wasn’t able to work out the entire time, and of course, afterward I was in no condition to hit the gym.”
This past February she passed her first Air Force Fitness Assessment of the year, scoring an 81, but she knew her next test would be much more difficult since the AF adopted new standards and new component minimums beginning in July.
Out of shape and near desperation six weeks prior to her next fitness test, Captain Noonan, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, sought the help of a personal trainer at the fitness center.
“We gave her a mock fitness test and she couldn’t do one push up properly,” Ms. Eafrati said. “She needed help with everything. I figured we had enough time to prepare, but I was concerned she wouldn’t be able to pass her push-ups component minimum (14) even with the work she was about to put in.”
Sensing repetitive exercises might do the trick, Ms. Eafrati kept Captain Noonan’s customized workout plan simple. The pair concentrated on push-ups, abdominal-core exercises, arm and chest strength, and cardio.
Prior to her personal training sessions, Captain Noonan completed the 1.5 mile run in 17 minutes, 19 seconds.
“She hadn’t been running,” Ms. Eafrati said. “So I had her run two laps on the base-asphalt-running loop on the days she didn’t train with me. That’s three miles each session.”
To help shed inches off her waist, she wore a neoprene belt during her workouts and running sessions. Since she was also working heavily to gain upper-body strength, she drank protein shakes to feed her muscles.
And of course, Ms. Eafrati ordered her to trim the fat, sugar and sodium from her diet.
“My husband and I both like to eat pizza,” Captain Noonan said. “I ended up replacing it with grilled chicken, tuna out of the can, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
In the gym, Captain Noonan was amazed at how beat up she felt following her workouts.
“We did a lot of planks, which is holding the push up in the up position for 30 seconds, before performing a set of two to five push-ups, and a lot of core work with balance balls,” she said. “Patti is a great motivator. I was sore all the time, but by the end, her motivation eventually turned to self-motivation because I could see the results. I still workout four times a week.”
At the end of their work together, Captain Noonan had shed 3.5 inches off of her waist and dropped 12 pounds. Oh, and her fitness assessment? She completed the 1.5 mile run in 14:09, three minutes faster than her time just six weeks earlier. She also performed 17 perfect pushups (17 more than before) and did five more sit ups for a score of 86, four points from excellent.
As she was running the asphalt running trail just last week, Captain Noonan found it funny to think how her thought process has changed since working with Ms. Eafrati.
“I wanted it to hurt,” she said. “I wanted to feel like I was getting a good workout.”
Active duty Airmen are allotted 12 free sessions with a personal trainer at the Schriever Fitness Center. Airmen who are interested should visit the fitness center for more information.