By Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden
21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — More calories out than in is often viewed as the most simple equation for weight loss and the start to a healthy lifestyle. This formula, however, is easier said than done for many. If you are one of the many struggling to get on track to a healthier lifestyle, then the Health and Wellness Center is the place for you.
For the past year, the HAWC staff has tracked and measured the progress and improvement of every person who has come through their doors, said Lindsay Buckalew, Health Promotion Flight commander.
“The really cool thing about what we do here,” said Buckalew, “is there is no other HAWC in the Air Force that does this.”
Part of this precedent the Team Pete HAWC has instituted is that before anyone visits for his scheduled appointment, HAWC personnel complete a medical review of records to assess a person’s current physical capabilities.
“The advantage of coming to the HAWC is that we are medical personnel … and a lot of people don’t understand that,” said Buckalew. “We are going to see your medical history, your profile history and we are going to be able to screen everyone appropriately.”
Buckalew said the screening process helps to assess the unique abilities of each person in order to maximize potential output while minimizing risk of injury.
After the initial sit-down, HAWC personnel assess body composition, complete a gait analysis, and lastly, measure a person’s Vo2Max, which calculates maximal oxygen consumption. The Vo2Max calculations, combined with the other assessments, are combined to create a custom workout plan that allows for more efficient and effective workouts.
“It’s a much better and more comprehensive approach to what a normal HAWC would do,” said Buckalew. “If you run, you’ll improve your cardiovascular fitness; if you do weight training, you’ll improve your anaerobic fitness.”
Along with custom fitness regimens, the HAWC also offers a variety of classes to help people toward a more health-minded path. One class Buckalew touted was their daily, 3:30 p.m. boot camp.
Buckalew noted that although most of the boot camp attendees are referrals from failed physical fitness tests, many members attend because they enjoy the camaraderie of the group. Furthermore, he added, since October of last year, of the 108 people who completed boot camp, 88 percent passed their following PFT.
In addition to this impressive pass rate, boot camp attendees lost on average 1.2 inches from their waist and increased their overall PFT score by 15.56 points, Buckalew said.
Considering the HAWC’s results and the fact that the Air Force allows up to a 90-day remedial period between a failed PFT and the re-test, an Airmen could potentially pull themselves from a possible failed PFT to a score of “excellent,” which would require the member to only test once a year rather than every six months.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s the member doing the work,” said Buckalew. “We’re giving them the right place to (work out) and also some structure and education to help with that.”
Overall, Buckalew said he was very pleased and excited with his team for all of their hard work and effort to create such a rewarding and life-changing program here.
Members who are interested in getting to the HAWC to create their own custom workout plan can do so by calling the appointment line at 554-CARE.