FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Soldiers seeking 'F.A.S.T' workouts to gain cardiovascular endurance and strength have inexpensive training sessions available to them at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility.

WO1 Jimmy Peterson, a certified CrossFit instructor, said the course name stands for "Functional Athletic Strength Training." It focuses on "full-body exercises done at a high intensity," he noted.

Classes are based off the CrossFit training model, which is used by some military members, police officers, firefighters and other individuals with "physically demanding jobs," Peterson said.

"It focuses on handling your body weight and promoting functionality," he said.

Peterson has volunteered the past several months to teach F.A.S.T while waiting to start flight school training on OH-58D Kiowa Warriors. He was originally introduced to the CrossFit method by a team sergeant while he was an enlisted Special Forces member in 2005. After several months of following the unique training style, Peterson said he grew to love the workouts and hasn't stopped using them since to train himself and others.

"It keeps me in shape and gives me the opportunity to bring a different style of fitness to Soldiers," he said.

Fellow flight school student WO1 Neil Hardin also believes this type of training is beneficial for servicemembers.

"It's better for Soldiers getting ready for the battlefield," he said. "The kind of strength and conditioning it focuses on is typical of what you might need (in combat)."

An experienced CrossFit follower, Hardin began F.A.S.T. workouts here with Peterson at their homes about six months ago and then joined him at the gym once classes began.

"(I enjoy) the intensity of it," he said. "It doesn't take much time to do it and most of the workouts are (structured) so you're pacing against yourself and trying to rest as little as possible. You get a lot of benefit in a short amount of time. You're always going to wear yourself out."

While classes are fairly intense and designed for individuals with a solid fitness base, Peterson said he will scale exercises back so beginners can join sessions, too.

Those considering F.A.S.T. should expect challenging workouts requiring stamina and maintaining high heart rates, he said.

Jorge Arreola, a U.S. Coast Guard cadet originally from Enterprise, attended F.A.S.T. for the first time May 18 hoping to "get in better shape and gain motivation."

He was joined by military spouse Jessica Sandin, who has followed Peterson's guidance for a few months.

"It's a (great) workout that doesn't take long," she said. "It's good to have somebody give you a workout they know works."

Within a few weeks of attending classes regularly, she saw improvement in her muscle tone. Sandin said she enjoys the classes and encouraged others to give them a try.

PFF staff provides all necessary equipment for the classes - including jump ropes, kettle bells, medicine and stability balls, mats and more.

Because F.A.S.T. classes require a lot of energy, Peterson advises athletes to follow balanced, nutritious diets and drink plenty of water to sustain themselves throughout the workouts.

Class schedules are available at <a href="http://www.ftruckermwr.com/PhysicalFitnessFacility" target="_blank">www.ftruckermwr.com/PhysicalFitnessFacility</a>. Sessions are $3 per class, $5 per week or $20 for one month. To register, call 255-3794.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16