Friday, February 27, 2015

Striving for fitness excellence

by Senior Airman Stephanie Morris
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

2/24/2015 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- 1st Lt. Kal Judah, 23rd Bomb Squadron B-52H Stratofortress co-pilot, was recently awarded Minot Air Force Base's first perfect score for the Iron Airman Challenge.

The challenge, which aims to push Airmen to strive for physical excellence beyond their physical training test requirements, was first under taken by Judah at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

"Walking into the gym at Barksdale, I saw the plaques of past Iron Airmen on the wall and thought that with a little bit of training I could reach those goals," Judah said.

In order to obtain a perfect score Judah would have to receive maximum points in each category: pushups, pullups, situps and a two-mile run.

Requirements to simply obtain the title of Iron Airman would push him to obtain 360 out of 400 points, completing all four components in one session in 30 minutes or less.

· The pullup maximum for males is 21 and eight for females or a 70-second hang. The minimum amount of pullups needed to get a point is two or females could complete a 15-second hang.

· The pushup maximum is 91 for males and 71 for females, which must be completed in two minutes. The minimum is 67 for males and 47 for females.

· The situp maximum is 100 for both genders and the minimum is 61.

· The maximum run time for males under the age of 30 is 12 minutes and 16 seconds and males over the age of 30 is 12 minutes and 46 seconds. The minimum is 16 minutes and 22 seconds.

· The maximum run time for females less than 30 years of age is 13 minutes 50 seconds and females over 30 is 14 minutes and 44 seconds. The minimum is 18:38.

After augmenting his fitness routine to focus more on Iron Airman-centric exercises, Judah was ready for his first attempt at the competition.

"The first time I did the challenge, I received 396 out of 400 points," Judah said. "The next time I tested at Barksdale, I completed my run first and obtained a perfect score overall."

After receiving his first perfect score at Barksdale, in the 90 degree heat of summer, Judah continued to train for triathlons to keep himself fit and physically challenged.

Judah describes himself as someone who has always been goal-oriented who constantly strives to test his limits.

Once his career training at Barksdale was complete, his focus turned to his approaching permanent change of station to Minot.

As soon as he learned the Iron Airman Program was also held at Minot, he was determined to complete it again, Judah said.

"I think it's great that we have something like the Iron Airman challenge here to inspire Airmen to exceed the standard," Judah said.

His sentiments were echoed by Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Johnson II, 5th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of the fitness assessment cell, who was one of the original groups that brought the program to Minot.

"This program was brought to me by a captain from the 69th Bomb Squadron who had heard of its greatness at another base," Johnson said. "He pitched the idea to me and the Fitness Center Director, Ms. Judy LaRue; and after some evaluations/risk assessments, hard work, publicity, and coordination with other agencies, we were able to get this program off the ground."

Originally, Judah planned to undertake the challenge with other members from his squadron at Minot, but due to unforeseen circumstances he would have to face the task alone. Determined to crush the test for a third time, Judah made his way to the McAdoo fitness center for his solo attempt.

"Stopping was never an option," Judah said describing his trials at the fitness center. "I removed myself from the situation; got into a groove to push through and knocked out the cardio first, then strength."

Each exercise fell away with as Judah achieved maximum score after maximum score, until only one strength test was left. After one last trial, he was awarded a perfect score-- for the second time in a row.

"It was cool to be the first person at Minot to score 100 percent," Judah said. "But I hope many more people take up the challenge and become Iron Airmen."

Individuals interested in undertaking the Iron Airman Challenge can call the fitness center to make an appointment with a base fitness specialist, Johnson said.

"I hope people continue to be interested in challenging themselves," Johnson said. "After all, if they fall short of the title of Iron Airman, they have all the time in the world to keep training and pushing themselves, which is what being fit and staying fit is all about -- constant improvement!"

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