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Boot camp teaches lifetime fitness habits

Jennifer Crowley, Health and Wellness Center exercise physiologist, checks the form of a Domination Boot Camp participant who is doing a plank during a circuit training workout. The class consists of interval training, circuit training, low intensity training, and foundation training and is offered Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson)

Jennifer Crowley, Health and Wellness Center exercise physiologist, checks the form of a Domination Boot Camp participant who is doing a plank during a circuit training workout. The class consists of interval training, circuit training, low intensity training, and foundation training and is offered Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson)

Participants in the Domination Boot Camp class do lunges and an overhead press during a circuit training workout. After six months of the program at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Physical Fitness Test scores increased an average of 16.9 points for individuals who attended four to five times a week and an average of nine points for those who attended three days a week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson)

Participants in the Domination Boot Camp class do lunges and an overhead press during a circuit training workout. After six months of the program at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Physical Fitness Test scores increased an average of 16.9 points for individuals who attended four to five times a week and an average of nine points for those who attended three days a week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson)

Participants in the Domination Boot Camp class do three of 15 different exercises in a circuit workout. The class is offered Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and is currently open to all ID cardholders. The class is set up to promote a life-long fitness program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson)

Participants in the Domination Boot Camp class do three of 15 different exercises in a circuit workout. The class is offered Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and is currently open to all ID cardholders. The class is set up to promote a life-long fitness program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Smarter not harder. Airmen are familiar with the phrase encouraging better physical training practices to ensue passing fitness assessments. The first pillar of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness Program focuses on lifelong physical health, not just passing the physical fitness test.

To help Airmen set up a lifelong fitness program, the Health and Wellness Center is offering Domination Boot Camp weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Many people know boot camp classes as intense workouts that leave muscles sore for days. Domination Boot Camp is a little different. "Our goal with this boot camp is not to pound them into the ground," said Jennifer Crowley, HAWC exercise physiologist. "What we want to do is give them the habits in a program that they can sustain forever."

No two days of boot camp class are the same, Crowley said. Mondays consist of running intervals, Tuesdays and Thursdays are total conditioning circuits, Wednesdays are low intensity training, and Fridays are foundation training. "We used an endurance athlete-type training program," she said.

Even though classes have anywhere between six and 36 people in them, Crowley and Charles Hurlbut, HAWC exercise physiologist, can help individuals customize the program to fit their unique needs.

Participants in the class fill out a brief pre-assessment before their first day. This allows the HAWC to evaluate their current fitness routine and possibly recommend a nutrition class to further promote a healthy lifestyle.

"If we know people are really struggling with their run, Mondays and Fridays are days that we would recommend they come in. If it's strength, we recommend Tuesdays and Thursdays. We can kind of tailor it to what they want," Crowley said.

Crowley set up the same boot camp program at Kadena Air Base, Japan, in 2010. After six months of classes, Airmen who attended four to five times a week increased their PFT scores by an average of 16.9 points. Those who attended three days a week increased scores by an average of nine points.

Crowley is collecting the same information at Pete. "We really won't see that data for another couple months until we get 90 days out and actually start retesting," she said. "I expect that this will be good data."

So far, two squadrons have made the class mandatory for Airmen who have failed the PFT. If more squadrons follow suit, the HAWC will try to add more classes to accommodate the interest. Space has not yet been an issue and the classes are open to anyone, Crowley said.

"It's important that we're mission ready all the time," Crowley said. "The class contains components of a lifetime fitness program so their heart is healthy and their lungs are healthy and they also are seeing performance at the same time."

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