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Physical training leaders discuss AF fitness

By Alex Salinas | Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Nov. 20, 2012

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — All uniformed members are obligated to make time in their schedules to exercise their bodies to pass physical training tests. While the onus falls on every service member to excel on fitness tests, physical training leaders are in many ways the backbone of fitness success.

PTLs lead workout sessions with Airmen at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, to include running, weight lifting and CrossFit routines.

Squadron leaders determine how often workouts are held with the group and corresponding PTL.

For some PTLs like Airman 1st Class Jason Rice from the 359th Medical Support Squadron, becoming a leader in fitness is his own choice.

"I became a PTL straight out of tech school," Rice said. "When I first arrived at Randolph and began the physical training regimen with our squadron, I decided to volunteer to become a PTL."

Under Air Force Instruction 36-2905, Airmen can take on PTL duties as volunteer opportunities become available. Airmen must be CPR- and automated external defibrillator-certified and take a course on conducting group fitness and Air Force fitness requirements to become a PTL.

Rice said he leads one or two physical training sessions per week, with eight to 20 people attending each session.

Senior Airman Brandon Gibbs from the 902nd Comptroller Squadron leads workouts Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 45 minutes, with 20-30 people in attendance each session.

"The most difficult part of being a PTL is trying to put together a workout that challenges everyone," Rice said. "If you go too hard, it can be tough to keep everyone motivated; if you take it easy, then the more advanced exercisers may not get a challenging enough workout."

So if a PTL's job is to motivate their wingmen, what motivates a PTL?

The answer lies within a sense of service before self.

"No matter how many people may complain that I'm too tough, I'm helping them keep their career," Rice said. "Being 'war fit' is a mandatory part of being in the military."