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Stay fit and healthy in the summertime.

Now that summer's coming, Bring out the burgers and grill. With all of the nice weather, Who needs that darned treadmill?

OK, maybe that's not my best poem, but here's the point: You've just finished your spring PFA, and as the summer approaches there is always a risk to slack up on your fitness routine. For those who worked hard on the PFA, the temptation can be even greater. But first, ask yoursel: How hard was it? Did you do well or just barely pass? Did you meet your personal goals?

For those who failed ... then there is even more to ponder and more work to do.

First, here are the administrative implications of PFA failures. According to NAVADMIN 073/09, if you've tanked three or more PFA's in the last four years, you can't transfer, reenlist or extend without a waiver from Navy Personnel Command.

Also, effective Oct. 1, 2008, Physical Readiness Information Management System (PRIMS) data is now a major factor in whether or not you advance. If you fail your most recent PFA, don't expect to tack on that crow until you meet the standards.

More food for thought: If you don't complete a PFA, your command needs to enter the reason for it in PRIMS. You also must meet body fat standards in order to pass semi-annual requirements. Even if you have a medical waiver for certain parts of the PFA, you still have to pass a body composition assessment (BCA) unless that's also medically waived.

One last thing: after June 30, progress waivers will go the way of the Commodore Amiga 64-into the sunset, never to return. So put down that cheeseburger and take a walk.

You know what the PFA consists of--curl ups, push ups, and the one-and-a-half-mile run (or 500-yard swim). You're also thinking, "If I have to do this for the umpteenth day in a row, I'm going to scream." This is perfectly understandable. If you would prefer to undergo unanesthetized root canal than continue, it's time to shake up your fitness routine.

At my local Morale, Welfare and Recreation gym they are offering 11 different classes a week from kick boxing to spin cycling and cross-fitness. If you check the class schedule of your local gym, I'm sure you can find something appropriate for your fitness level and your interest.

Summertime is the perfect opportunity to venture off the beaten path when it comes to fitness. The Navy has plenty of intramural sports teams for you to try out--basketball, soccer, baseball, rowing--talk to your chain of command about trying out if you're interested.

It may seem daunting at first to get out and work out instead of seeking the comfort of your couch, but exercise can be habit-forming as well--in a beneficial manner. Morgan Freeman said it best in the movie "Clean and Sober:" "The best way to break old habits is to make new ones."

"Fat, Drunk and Stupid Is No Way to Go Through Life, Son!"

Of course, I'm using the Honorable Dean Wormer's quote to refer to nutrition rather than alcohol abuse. I have just two words about alcohol, though: Empty calories. This is yet another reason not to drink to excess, and I'll leave it at that.

Now, the "fat" part: Part of fitness means feeding your body correctly, and a steady diet of fast food is not proper nutrition, no matter how you spin it.

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins (lean meat, low- or non-fat dairy, legumes, etc), as well as small amounts of unsaturated fats. Eat about six small meals a day rather than three huge ones--smaller amounts of food are easier to digest and metabolize, which means you don't fall into a gastronomical coma after lunch or dinner.

Summertime means barbecue season, which means enjoying whatever flies off the grill. Don't be tempted to go back for seconds immediately after finishing what's on your plate. Eat slowly, and wait half an hour or more for your food to settle before going back.

If you're having a barbecue, try something other than the standard burgers and dogs. Granted, turkey burgers and turkey dogs have less fat than those with beef, but shish kebab and souvlaki--meat that's been marinated and skewered before grilling--are wonderful substitutes with more flavor and less fat. Also, the mystery meat factor is eliminated.

"Trust Me, I Know What I'm Doing"

Safety is a paramount concern when you're working out. You don't want a jog in the park to turn into a medical emergency or have a pick-up game become a catastrophic letdown. Keep the following pointers in mind:

* HYDRATE. HYDRATE. HYDRATE. Summer temperatures can reach to the point where you sweat more than you urinate. Keep drinking water--not tea, not pop, not beer, water. Drink until you're not thirsty, and then drink s ome more.

* STRETCH. Many injuries happen because of inadequate stretching and little to no warm-up. Don't be in such a rush to hit the court or your playing time will be cut woefully short and rather painfull, I might add.

* WEAR SUNSCREEN. The sun-kissed look is attractive; the boiled-lobster look, not so much. The sunscreen you pick should have an SPF of at least 15 and a shot-glass worth should cover your body. Reapply every two hours. This is especially important if you have fair skin.

* WATCH OUT FOR HEAT INJURIES. If you don't feel well, seek shade and hydrate. Check for signs of heat stress. Heat cramps and heat exhaustion can be treated by moving the victim into shade and giving them some water; heat stroke is a medical emergency.

* IT'S HOT, BUT IT'S NOT. Believe it or not, hypothermia can also happen in the summertime, especially if you've been swimming in extremely cold waters, like Lake Michigan. Take steps to warm up if exposed to such conditions.

* CHECK THE FLAGS. Don't work in the heat if you're not acclimatized to it. Pay attention to the heat condition flags. If you see the black flag, go for a swim or a class in the gym. If that's not possible, it won't kill you to skip your workout for the day--literally.

"Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying"

Whether you're in shape or on the fence as far as your physical fitness is concerned, there's no excuse for not training to attain and to maintain.

The main reason you should get in shape is for YOU. You'll still be alive and kicking even after you've hung up the uniform for the final time, so you want to take good care of yourself. Of course, while you're wearing the uniform, you have to keep in mind Navy regulations, because you don't want to hang it up too soon.

Vlahos is assigned to Defense Media Activity--Anacostia, Washington, D.C.

Story by [MC.sub.2](SW) El izabeth Vlahos, graphic by [MC.sub.2](SW) William Blake
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Title Annotation:Something to Think About
Author:Vlahos, Elizabeth; Blake, William
Publication:All Hands
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:1151
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