Why in the World do I Take Military PT Tests Voluntarily?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.



Two weeks ago I volunteered to take the Army physical fitness test.  It’s not the first time.  I’ve taken the Air Force test several times as well.  Last year I rucked 26.2 miles with my favorite soldier; both of us carrying packs weighing over 50 pounds.


Am I a masochist?  Which the dictionary defines as “Someone who obtains pleasure from suffering mental or physical pain, punishment or humiliation.”  Am I trying to prove something?  Why do I like taking PT tests and running military obstacle courses when most of the people I know who are actually in the military hate those things?  Why in the world would I voluntarily walk 26 miles through the dessert, carrying a big heavy backpack.



Ah.  That is the key.  That little word right there.

  • I am voluntarily choosing to do these things.  Just as easily, I could choose to quit if I want.
  • Nobody told me I “have to”.
  • My military family and friends are required to do these things.  They must, and if they choose to quit, there will be heavy consequences including a whole host of mandatory programs and retesting.


Do you see the difference?


This is true for everything.  We hate to be told what to do.  We hate to be limited.  We hate mandates.  We inherently rebel against these things.

Why would trying to make health and fitness changes be any different?  How many times have you, “gone on a diet” and been told (or told yourself), “you CAN’T have that” or “you can ONLY eat this”?    You “have to.”

What happened?

What typically happens is that we obsess over the things we’re not “supposed” to have.  I normally only have carrot cake two or three times a year.  I love it but I don’t keep it in the house and I don’t bake it so that’s just typically the way it works out.  It rarely crosses my mind.  If you told me this afternoon that I could not have carrot cake.  I would want nothing but carrot cake.  I would think about it all the time.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.13.52 PM

When you look at this picture, what are you thinking about?


I know this for a fact.  When we lived on Okinawa, there were no granny smith apples on the island.  None.  After a while, it seemed like every commercial that came on television, every show, and every magazine I received in the mail, contained granny smith apples.  They were sitting in a bowl on the table, somebody was eating one, or they were somewhere in the frame.  I obsessed about those green apples.  They were everywhere – except my grocery stores.  All I wanted was a granny smith.  Some months later, we flew to Guam for a week and I ate 3 or 4 apples a day.  Every single day.


What does this mean in the health and fitness arena then?


It means YOU have to choose to make a change.

You have to be the one to decide to forgo this or that.

You have to be the one to decide to make time for exercise.

You can’t – you won’t – do it just because you’re told you have to.  Even if the person telling you to do it is your doctor, your spouse, your mother, or one of your children.

YOU have to determine why you want to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, have your annual health screenings, and the like.  You.

None of it works if you’re not ready to make a change.

Mindset might not be sexy (I mean, I think it is but that’s just me) but it’s absolutely critical!!!


Mindset Mostly


1 ping

    • Annmarie Mangin on November 18, 2015 at 22:29
    • Reply

    This is SO Great! I run marathons and I always tell people it’s 90% mental, 10% physical. The mind is so powerful. Thank you for this!!

    1. Thank you, Annmarie. Running marathons – you know exactly what I’m talking about!!! Thanks for commenting.

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