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NEWS | Feb. 24, 2015

Sweat, high-fives and rock-n-roll

By Senior Airman Nesha Humes 11th Wing Public Affairs

"How many calories do you think is in this?"

"Have you logged in your work out today?"

"Man, this one entrée equals 400 burpees!"

These were not the quotes I thought I'd hear as I followed the U.S. Air Force premier rock band Max Impact during their trip in support of Super Bowl XLIX. Instead of stereotypical wreckless musicians yelling at the waiting staff when sat down for our first dinner together, I had five clean-shaven SNCO's counting their daily calories on fitness applications.

As we engaged in casual dinner talk, it became evident a positive image and fitness was of high importance for these rock stars.

"We're out on stage as the face of the Air Force," Senior Master Sgt. Ryan Carson, U.S. Air Force Band Max Impact vocalist said. "We want to make sure we're doing the Airmen that we're representing justice."

As a physical training leader for my unit and a future NCO, it was valuable to see effective team cohesion. The theme, "Fit to Fight," is engrained in our minds by seeing health pyramids in dining facilities worldwide; yet nutrition takes a back seat when it comes to the physical side of fitness. In order to achieve optimum health, I truly believe you cannot out work a bad diet. So, when I see Airmen banding together to embrace the whole-health concept, I am thrilled.

"The app is a lot of fun, we track each other, it keeps us even more motivated," said Senior Master Sgt. Ryan Carson, U.S. Air Force Band Max Impact vocalist. "It allows us to think twice on what we consume along with how many calories we're burning. You know where you stand and you know where you need to be."

This specific health regime was new for the six-member team, after having a decline in physical fitness testing results; they decided to start fresh.

"We're hitting the reset button," Carson, the NCO in Charge of the band said. "Failure is your first chance to try again. Our goal is to have everyone in the excellent category and we're close."

In order to achieve the excellent category, a 90 or above on their PT assessment, the team started a new tradition of push-ups and flutter kicks after every stage set-up.

Additionally, while some did high intensity workouts at the hotel, two of the bandsmen were happier cycling the nearby towns to make their 'fitness' ride, a bit smoother. 

"I feel a sense of freedom while I ride, it helps me unplug from the stress of the day," Tech. Sgt. Robert K. Smith, U.S. Air Force Band Max Impact percussionist said. "It's very peaceful, I feel accomplished when I'm done."

I was impressed when I saw Smith and Master Sgt. Dave Foster, electric bass guitarist, tote their folded up road bikes into the hotel with their luggage on the first day.

After two weeks with this family of rock stars, I learned what support and accountability can do for a unit. It's no secret that sometimes fitness is a struggle for some Airmen. It takes creativity and ongoing communication to build up your team to achieve.