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NCANG, 145th FSS airman creates fitness program to help "Beat the PT"

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
  • 145th Public Affairs
Senior Airman Cody Hilton, a fitness specialist for 145th Force Support Squadron, saw a disturbing trend happening in his wing as he watched fellow airmen failing the Air Force Fitness Test.

"As a proud member of the North Carolina Air National Guard it really troubled me to see so many falling just short of the required scores. I wanted to be a good wingman and try to do something to motivate and help others, as I know my wingman would do for me," said Hilton.

Hilton used his educational background in exercise science from the University of South Carolina and his degree from the Community College of the Air Force as a fitness specialist to create the program. In February 2015, after three full weeks of study and research, Hilton introduced Beat the PT to the Wing.

Military members have a lot of responsibility trying to juggle both their civilian life with their military career and the accountability that goes with both. It is not always easy to find time to exercise.

"I saw how many members would start working out a month before their test date to get fit. It's hard to pass a PT test when you haven't exercised since your last test a year ago, so I saw the need to create something that would motivate people to exercise on and off duty," said Hilton.

Beat the PT (BtPT) is a supplementary fitness program that supplies all of the tools and advice necessary in every fitness level to members wishing to improve scores on the Air Force Fitness Assessment (AFFA). Not only does BtPT offer a six week recommended exercise routine compatible with all levels of fitness, it also suggests universal dietary advice that can be helpful in achieving AFFA goals and improving eating habits.

But why is BtPT different than any other fitness improvement program? Motivation, convenience and universality are all major factors that determine the success of any fitness improvement program, and this program has them all. 

Hilton teaches classes three times a week for those who want to participate at the base. The recommended exercise section of BtPT suggests a universal, time-efficient, equipment free session. By conducting strength and endurance exercises in a short 25 minutes or less and in a timely circuit training fashion, BtPT allows for improvement in all categories used on the AFFA: strength, endurance and cardio. Each exercise movement recommended was carefully picked based upon the ability to increase or decrease the intensity of the movement and to ensure all levels of fitness  skills could benefit from the same exercise by conducting it a different way, thus making the exercises universal, time-efficient and convenient. 

Although the fitness portion of the program is extremely user-friendly, the main factor in promoting BtPT is the motivational components it utilizes. Thus, the "Wingman Challenge" and "Off the Clock" portions of BtPT were incorporated into the program to encourage motivation and promote healthy recreational activities while not at work. The Wingman Challenge simply allows the wingman to track and compare their progress in order to earn bragging rights, while Off the Clock consists of a hardy list of recreational activities and events specific to areas that encourage healthy teambuilding skills with fellow airmen. Adding these aspects into the program allows BtPT to become a major hub for anyone looking for guidelines to improve their health in general.

"The greatest feeling of accomplishment for me is seeing with my own eyes that my hard work and shared knowledge have made a positive impact on someone else's life. I feel designing Beat the Pt fitness program as a wingman challenge adds to the motivation in each participant. The morale has gone up and people are losing weight and getting in shape together. More importantly, the percentage of passing scores has increased. There's nothing like a little friendly competition to motivate one another," said Hilton.

For more information on Beat the PT program contact SrA Hilton at