Functional fitness training program participants build cardiovascular fitness with some aerobic bench jumps during a lunchtime workout session Monday at Specker Field House.

More than 40 servicemembers and civilians took advantage of the Fort Belvoir Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's lunchtime functional fitness training session Monday at Specker Field House.
The Army-wide program, sponsored by DFMWR sports and fitness, engages military personnel and civilians in aerobic and strength training exercises during 60-minute sessions offered throughout the year. For Soldiers, functional training focuses on developing skills they can utilize to increase operational readiness and performance by emphasizing mobility, strength, restoration, and energy system development.
The sessions are free and open to anyone interested in improving cardiovascular fitness and training the body as an integrated unit.
According to Calvin Simpson, functional fitness trainer, participants visit numerous "stations" offering an array of specific workouts designed to target isolated areas of the body. Individuals engage in a basic warm-up routine at the start of the class and then progress through waist flexes, dumbbell lifts, squats, bench-jump workouts, stair steps, pushups, weight-bar lifting and many other exercises.
"The participants are put into groups of four and each group works out at 15 separate stations," Simpson said. "Today's session is actually unique in that it's the first session of this cycle, or the assessment session. This gives individuals a chance to see what they're capable of and to allow them to chart their progress as they continue with the program."
Simpson added that the functional fitness training provides all the necessary tools and guidance to build total-body fitness. But the results are entirely dependent on how dedicated and driven each individual remains throughout the six-week cycle.
"You get out of this exactly what you put into it," he said. "This is not basic training; we're not screaming and yelling at people to work hard. It's up to them. If you're just going through the motions, you won't get as much out of the training."
Simpson also noted that coordinators are constantly expanding the program because of increasingly large turnouts and an apparently renewed dedication to fitness across the installation.
"The program is really growing; we've got between 40 and 50 people out here today," he said.
Simpson, with DFMWR sports and fitness trainers, Nicole Pittman and Cindy Moore, kept the pace brisk for the duration of the session, keeping participants motivated and encouraging them to push their limits. Pittman even provided a station at which individuals could have their Body Mass Index (BMI) measured and recorded, to be referenced at various times during the cycle.
"We have the BMI machine here that we put each person's height and weight into and then the unit sends an electrical impulse through the body and gives us a reference number," she said.
For many, the training sessions provide a practical break in the workday and can aid in combating obesity, building general strength levels and accelerating the healing process with respect to previous injuries.
"I think this is the best training there is," said retired Master Sgt. Anthony Johnson, who served the Army for 25 years. "The kind of workouts I used to do resulted in a lot of injuries to my knees and ankles. This kind of training is a lot better for me. That's why I'm in here because of the different mode of exercise."
Johnson said the utility of functional fitness training in burning calories and extra weight has been especially important to him.
"When I came in here I was 230 pounds and now I'm 196 pounds. I was able to get that weight off in three months doing morning and lunchtime sessions," he said.
As an advanced fitness training program, the physical demands are high and participants feel the results right away.
"Functional fitness is as tough as it looks," said Maj. Debbie Ubamadu, Office of the Chief-Army Reserve, Employment Partnership officer. "It will definitely work you."
For more information regarding the function fitness training program, contact Justin Fitzgerald at or visit

Page last updated Wed August 7th, 2013 at 15:54