(Editor’s note: Throughout the month of June, Navy Medicine is celebrating Men’s Health Month by urging our male Sailors, Marines, civilians and family members to “Get Healthy Like a Man.” Paul Ross, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery deputy public affairs officer, will be blogging about living healthy during the month.)
By Paul Ross, deputy public affairs officer, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
The word has never sounded so sweet.
There are a lot of things I do that are considered unsatisfactory. The way I shoot a basketball is a good example – hitting the backboard 10% of the time would be a historic victory. In sixth grade I averaged four points – not a game – for the entire season. The way I dance is unsatisfactory. I have one move and it’s the Robot, which my wife hates loves for me to bust out at weddings in front of family and friends. Smiling for photos is also listed under unsatisfactory – which is evident from the goofy grin on my face in my first school picture, where I’m donning thick plastic glasses that were taped together – nerd-style before it was cool to be a nerd. I display the same awkward smile decades later in our most recent family portrait.
Then there are things I do in life that are satisfactory, which means I do them acceptably – though not outstanding or perfect. My grilled cheese sandwich skills are satisfactory – or so says my seven-year-old. Growing a beard, playing guitar, and answering Jeopardy questions after I hit pause on my DVR right away, all fall in this category. Singing Justin Timberlake – acapella – in the shower/car/waiting room of a Jiffy Lube also should be considered something I do acceptably (okay, maybe that one belongs on the first list).
Today I found something else that I do satisfactorily.
It’s been 25 days since I first took – and failed – the Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT), which is broken into the categories of “maximum,” “outstanding,” “excellent,” “good,” “satisfactory,” or “failure.” Sure, I missed the lowest possible passing category by a mere two sit-ups last time, but I failed none-the-less. I took the test again this morning after nearly a month of eating healthy and working out regularly and like the pint-sized Rudy Ruettiger getting a sack for the golden-domed Irish in a meaningless game, I found redemption, sort of.
The initial numbers were promising. As I stepped on the scale I was proud to see I had lost nine pounds from the original 205 I had ballooned up to. My waist and neck each lost an inch to 36 and 16, respectively.
Next up was my arch-nemesis – the dreaded sit-up. This is what caused me to fail my first test when I was two short of what I needed to pass. Well, well, well … not today exercise that I hate more than getting dental work done without Novocain! Today I did 44. While this number may not seem spectacular to most readers, and it’s short of my goal of 50, it was a hard-earned satisfactory.
While I haven’t been doing a ton of sit-ups, because I wasn’t training specifically for the PRT, I have been doing a lot of push-ups. So I was disappointed with the 45 I knocked out. It’s better than the 40 I did last time, but I wish I could’ve squeezed out at least five more. This however, fell into the “good” category.
The run was one of my prouder moments. My target was to run a sub-12-minute mile and a half. I originally ran the distance in 13:42. I was able to cut more than a minute off the run, turning in a time of 12:23, while still using a treadmill because of the weather. But the run was not without its dramatic moments. While Bonnie Raitt hip-hop was blaring in my ears, my spastic running style caused me to knock my phone off the treadmill not once, but twice. I didn’t stop running as someone handed the musical motivation back to me. But after the second drop I let the phone stay on the ground as I worked my way through the last half mile. Would I have run it in 11 minutes with the music – probably (not a chance). But my time was good enough to put my run in the “good” category.
After compiling all the scores in the PRT calculator I still received an overall score that was satisfactory, despite scoring “good” in a few of the categories.
I did not meet my goals for any of these categories, but I made improvements in each. While striving for satisfactory should not be my goal, or anyone else’s, making improvements is still notable progress. I feel much better and have gotten used to eating a diet that doesn’t consist of Little Debbies and the left over frosting from our electric mixer after my wife bakes a cake.
As far as my 16 Mostly Attainable “Get Healthy Like A Man” Goals For Myself From Myself, I won’t be the dad wearing a shirt at the pool this summer, I didn’t eat a bite of fast food, I believe I inspired some others to get healthy, and I had as much fun as a man not being allowed to lick the beaters after his wife bakes a cake can have.
Living healthy throughout the month has taught me that it doesn’t have to stop on July 1. I will continue my diet and working out regularly, while making some exceptions because you have to have balance in your life. As far as my fitness test scores go, there’s always next year.
But for now, I am proud to call myself satisfactory.