Getting Personal: Teaching to the PT test
August 23, 2006
Anthony Cook might not pump you up into a muscle-toned bodybuilder, but he’ll surely help improve your next physical training test score. The 38-year-old from Kosciusko, Miss., has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and uses his expertise to conduct fitness classes at RAF Mildenhall’s Health and Welfare Center.
Cook, who has been working for the military for nine years, admits that the majority of his job focuses around the strenuous PT test, which determines if an airman is meeting the Air Force’s physical fitness standards.
From one-on-one appointments to interval training to classroom study, Cook will snap airmen into shape, as well as dependents and Department of Defense employees.
Do you conduct those embarrassing tests to determine one’s body fat?
We do tape tests and skin-fold caliper tests, yeah.
Do you have to use those “fat pinchers” as part of these tests?
We do use the fat pinchers, which are called calipers. I do a lot of these pinch tests. On average, probably 10 a week. People get these tests done to help monitor the effectiveness of their exercise program.
Is it true that most sports are 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental, or is that just a myth?
I think it’s pretty much true in the sports world. A lot us can probably run a marathon, but many don’t have the mental capacity to push through that wall and keep going.
Do you preach this a lot during your classes?
I preach it a lot, definitely behavior modification and motivation. You just have to be able to mentally say that, “I can do this.” And, of course with some sound physiology, so you don’t try to push yourself too hard, too fast.
Are there any uplifting anecdotes about a patient of yours that you would like to share?
I had a guy who [came] in about six months ago who couldn’t pass the PT test. He started attending my exercise class on Mondays and Wednesdays and then doing some other exercise regimens that I’ve built for him to do on his own time. In three months, he decreased his waistline by four inches, improved his run time by three minutes and improved his push-ups and sit-ups. He went from a 49 score to a 76 in three months.
Is there one tip you would like to put out there to people who are exercising or thinking about exercising?
Be consistent. If you build some moderation and some consistency [in your exercise], you will see changes — it’s just going to be gradual.