Civilian fitness trainer helps Airmen pass PT test

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Susan Penning
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
"You may know what results you want to achieve, but you may not know exactly how to get those results," said Mike DeRosa, the 193rd Special Operations Wing's recently hired civilian health and fitness specialist.

DeRosa was contracted to train and educate Airmen who have failed their Air Force physical fitness tests.

"My ultimate goal is not simply to help these Airmen pass their tests, but also to offer them the nutritional and fitness tools they need to make permanent lifestyle changes," he said.

DeRosa's wing-funded program involves mandatory group exercise sessions and counseling for these Airmen. Two exercise sessions are held during each drill, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Those who have unsuccessfully passed their physical fitness tests are required to attend both sessions. The sessions include warm-up drills, strength and resistance training, a core workout, conditioning/cardiovascular exercises and stretching.

The Airmen who work with DeRosa are also required to meet with him one on one to discuss and develop a personalized plan that will put them on a path to success.

"This benefits more than their military careers," DeRosa said. "It should improve their quality of life, too. For example, they may want to lose weight to look better, or have more energy to play sports with their kids and grandkids, or reduce or eliminate their aches and pains. I can help them with all that."

DeRosa was specifically chosen for his position based on his credentials and success at another military facility.

He earned a bachelor's degree in health and exercise science with a concentration in exercise program management and testing from Rowan University in New Jersey. He earned the title of certified personal trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine and has since worked with clients ranging in age from 17 to 75.

When he's not working at the wing, DeRosa is employed full-time as a personal trainer and fitness expert at Gold's Gym in Camp Hill, Pa.

With experience designing workshops, seminars and group training sessions, DeRosa also prides himself on his ability to create individualized nutrition and exercise plans that get fast results. For example, one of DeRosa's clients was able to completely eliminate his back pain using prescribed core strengthening exercises. Another client lost weight so quickly on DeRosa's plan that adjustments had to be made to slow down her progress.

DeRosa doesn't use fitness guru secrets or so-called "magic bullets" to get results for his clients, just tried-and-true fitness and nutritional advice.

"My goal is not for my clients to need to work with a personal trainer for the rest of their lives," he said. "Rather, I teach them what they need to do to reach and sustain results on their own. I'm big on knowledge and education ... the 'why.'"

In addition to a focused fitness regimen, DeRosa teaches people new ways to eat and how to make better choices on a regular basis.

"I get my satisfaction from the fact that I'm helping people live better lives," DeRosa said. "Knowing that I can make a difference in their daily lives is why I do this."

Senior leaders at the wing are confident in DeRosa's abilities and strategy. Their hope is that he will help Airmen not only become -- and stay -- fit to fight, but also improve their morale, readiness and overall quality of life.

The Wing currently has about 100 Airmen who have failed their physical fitness tests. They will attend DeRosa's mandatory fitness sessions until they retake and pass their tests.