PFA Cycle – Thoughts to Consider

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                Once again, the PFA is upon all of us.  Twice a year our physical fitness is tested using a series of exercises, body composition analysis and even a physical health assessment.  For some, they dust off their sneakers and workout gear twice a year and for others, the PFA is just another day in the gym.  Regardless of whether or not you are the twice-a-year guy or an everyday type, the PFA is critically important to your career and ultimately, your health.
                In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and an overall culture of fitness, the Navy continues to refine its message regarding alcohol, tobacco and exercise.  This is one of the many reasons that we see “dry” Navy events, such as unit gatherings, as well as an increasing amount of “healthy choices” on menus.  Ultimately, the reality is that we need to “Be Ready” as citizen Sailors and we will have a harder time doing just that if we are out of shape and/or over weight.
                Here are a few things that have helped me over the years.  First, maintain perspective.  Fitness is not a sprint, it is a marathon.  Make it an everyday habit by building balance into your diet, take the stairs instead of the elevator and watch your portions.  For me, portion size was the biggest challenge.  Remember, as we get older, our metabolisms don’t run as high as when we were teenagers.  We can’t eat like our teen-selves.
                Follow the simple rule of balance.  If you burn more calories than you bring in, you will lose weight.  If you take in more than you burn, well, the opposite is true.  Yes, it’s that easy.  There are many programs, systems and or devices that can help you track calories going out and coming in and if it helps, get one and use it.  Many of our smart phones have applications that can facilitate tracking and since they are nearly always with us, we have easy access to their use.
                Bottom line, find something that works for you and use it.  Consistency is key.  Honor the commitment you make to yourself and don’t quit.  Remember, you wouldn’t miss a meeting with your boss – so, since you are the boss of your own health, don’t miss that meeting.

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