Team McChord Airmen have unique methods for PT

Airmen from the Civil Engineering Squadron cheer on their teammates in this month’s CE Fitness Challenge April 25, 2014, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The 627th CES has created a unique PT program that promotes competition and focuses on improving fitness assessment scores. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez)

Airmen from the Civil Engineering Squadron cheer on their teammates in this month’s CE Fitness Challenge April 25, 2014, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The 627th CES has created a unique PT program that promotes competition and focuses on improving fitness assessment scores. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez)

After completing his fitness assessment, Col. David Kumashiro (left), 62nd Airlift Wing commander, runs with two Airmen as they finish their final lap April 25, 2014, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Airmen are often seen relying  on each other for support at most fitness assessments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez)

After completing his fitness assessment, Col. David Kumashiro (left), 62nd Airlift Wing commander, runs with two Airmen as they finish their final lap April 25, 2014, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Airmen are often seen relying on each other for support at most fitness assessments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez)

Senior Airman Christian Hill, 62nd Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman, performs push-ups during his physical fitness assessment April 25, 2014, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Squadron unit fitness program managers on McChord Field have found different ways to keep their Airmen focused on physical training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez)

Senior Airman Christian Hill, 62nd Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman, performs push-ups during his physical fitness assessment April 25, 2014, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Squadron unit fitness program managers on McChord Field have found different ways to keep their Airmen focused on physical training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Tech. Sgt. James Abney, Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment shop NCO in charge, smiles at the workout he has assembled for his Airmen. It is called Tabata. This relay challenge consists of eight rounds of push-ups, sit-ups, squats and a single lap around the McChord Field track. It was created to be brutal and exhausting. It was also designed to be outstanding for any Airman trying to improve their Fitness Assessment test score.

That is the goal of the CE Fitness Challenge which is administered once a month by Abney and other physical training leaders in the squadron. CE and other squadrons on McChord Field have found extraordinary ways to maintain a strong focus on physical training.

"Our program encourages competition among the shops and raises awareness about improving their Air Force fitness assessment scores," said Abney.

Many squadrons on McChord Field have their own PT programs. In addition to weekly workouts as a team, the 627th CES has made their program special by creating a contest.

"We have this competition every month," said Tech. Sgt. Jared Rhodes, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector. "Two members from each shop in CES compete and the winners are given a gift card."

Two members per shop might not seem like many but, for the 627th CES, that totals 30 Airmen each month going all out to prove they are the most fit member of the squadron. At the end of the competition, Lt. Col. Jennifer Phelps, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, gives out the prize to the winners.

"It's terrific for shop morale," said Rhodes. "At the end of the year, we plan to throw a party for the shop with the most improved PT scores."

Higher PT scores are also the goal for one staff sergeant in the 627th Force Support Squadron. For him, however, PT is not about competition at all.

"Running together is great for camaraderie," said Staff Sgt. Jason Turner, 627th Force Support Squadron enlisted promotions NCO in charge. "We run together, we sweat together and it builds solid teamwork. I never let anyone in my group finish alone."

While the 627th FSS has its own weekly PT program, Turner invites his entire squadron to come running up to four miles with him three times a week.

"I don't like running alone so I have gathered a bit of a following," Turner said. "At first I would invite people from my office but it's expanded to the point where everyone gets an invite, especially those with upcoming fitness assessments."

Turner's running program is important to him and the Airmen of the 627th FSS due to the fact that the 1.5-mile run is a large requirement of the Air Force Fitness Assessment.

"I hate running but the fitness assessment requires that I run," Turner said. "I also refuse to fail so running is what you'll find my Airmen and me doing three times a week. Every week."