By Mrs. Erinn Burgess (IMCOM)August 1, 2019
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Community members can enjoy more flexibility with their workout schedules thanks to increased after-hours access at two U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz fitness centers.
Landstuhl Fitness Center and Baumholder's Mountaineer Fitness Center now offer 24/7 service to local Department of Defense ID cardholders.
"People have spoken -- there is a demand for this," said Daniel Washington III, chief of Fitness, Athletics and Aquatics for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "Typically, when we have a large push for something, we're going to try to cater to those needs."
These two centers were selected for 24/7 access based on the surrounding clientele, Washington explained. Shift workers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and special units at Baumholder have limited access to indoor training areas that are open outside of regular duty hours.
"This supports mission readiness," Washington said. "When you think about the demands that our active-duty members face, their mission is not about aesthetic physique -- it's more about being physically fit -- so we're helping them stay fit and prepared for whatever obstacles and challenges they may face."
There are seven fitness centers, two intramural fitness programs and an aquatics center that belong to the garrison. Due to the large cost factor involved with installing video surveillance systems, fail safe doors, non-entry points and all other measures that go into opening a facility for 24/7 access, it hinders how much the garrison can open to the public, Washington explained.
"We had to strategically identify two sites to use as pilots for Rheinland-Pfalz, but we're not saying it'll be limited in the future to only those two sites," he said.
Community members may register for 24/7 access to Landstuhl and Mountaineer fitness centers at any USAG RP fitness center during business hours. Once registered, they will be able to scan their ID cards to gain entry to the facilities after-hours.
"We advise and highly recommend that patrons use the buddy system after-hours," Washington said. "That way they're not working out by themselves in the event that something were to happen."
In case there is an emergency situation, the gym has posted signage with emergency contact numbers for the Directorate of Emergency Services and the Directorate of Public Works (in case of infrastructure failure such as a faucet or toilet leak).
Not all points of the gym are available after-hours, Washington noted. Patrons will have access primarily to the cardio room, strength room and locker room facilities.
"This is great news for the community because it's going to give those who struggle to work out less room for excuses and more opportunities to get to the gym," Washington said.
Army Capt. Adam Szabat, inpatient pharmacy chief at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, said the unmanned hours will benefit the inpatient pharmacy staff due to running a 24/7 operation.
"The new hours allow for increased flexibility for staff who prefer to work out after their shift," said Szabat, who uses Landstuhl Fitness Center as his primary workout location. "Previously if you worked the weekend shift, the fitness center was not open at the time the shift started and was closed when the shift ended. The new hours will boost morale by allowing staff to maintain their fitness level no matter what shift they're covering."
The extended access is also in line with what people may be used to coming from the States, where 24/7 gyms with unlimited access have become increasingly common.
"Just being able to provide that extra service of 24/7 access is going to give people a closer feel of home while they're abroad here in Germany," Washington concluded.