By Rick Musselman, Belvoir EagleNovember 21, 2019
With the calorie-rich holidays fast approaching, many of us are, once again, turning our thoughts to staying fit and keeping our weight-gain in check amid countless opportunities to overindulge. Fortunately, Belvoir's fitness team has several programs to allow us to get through the forthcoming festivities and the entire year in the healthiest ways possible.
One of the most popular MWR Fitness programs is Functional Fitness, a specialized exercise program, offered in six-week cycles, that focuses on total-body conditioning through cardio, aerobics and core strength conditioning. Through dynamic training, metabolic conditioning and extreme training, the Army-wide program engages people in strenuous physical activity during 60-minute sessions. For Soldiers, Functional Fitness develops skills they can use 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.
People start with a basic warm-up and stretching routine and then progress through numerous workouts. According to Calvin Simpson, lead Functional Fitness trainer, the workouts allow participants to visit numerous "stations" offering specific exercises that target isolated areas of the body.
"We utilize all types of equipment, from barbells; dumbbells; kettle bells; jump ropes; battle ropes; med balls; slam balls and TRX straps," he said. "Any given day, you will use any of these pieces of equipment. However, I've altered the class a bit. Now, instead of repeating workout routines throughout the week, you get a new workout each day. In some classes, you will rotate by repetition and other classes, you will rotate by time."
Simpson added Functional Fitness provides all the guidance to build total-body fitness. However, the results entirely depend on how dedicated and driven each person remains throughout the six-week cycles, he said.
"When it comes to the class, itself, the workouts range from dynamic exercises, metabolic conditioning and extreme conditioning," he said. "You're going to get out of the class exactly what you put into it. And the class is designed for you to work at you own pace. We get people who come to the class with all different physical conditions, and each one of them is able to get a maximum workout. I like to encourage individuals to focus on themselves and their own goals and not be worried about the person to their left or their right. This helps remove the intimidation factor and allows individuals to freely work out."
Simpson also noted coordinators constantly expand the program, because of increasingly large turnouts and an apparent renewed dedication to fitness across the installation. Sessions including 40-50 people are not unusual at Belvoir and the feedback is consistently positive.
"This program is really good," said Reservist Sgt. Ariel Baker, during a session Nov. 13. "Back in January, I was 150 pounds, and I ended up going to Basic Leadership Course and I lost all that weight coming here every day. So, it's a very good class and the instructor, Calvin Simpson, is really good."
"I've been at this for two and a half years, now and, at my age, it's not so much about improving but staying at a (consistent) fitness level," added civilian, Taeym Rhodes. "I love this class and it really helps me."
For others, Functional Fitness is ideal for prepping for the Army's new fitness test.
"I'm really looking at overall fitness for my goal," added Maj. Pamela Rainey, Office of the Chief Army Reserve, during last week's workout. "And, it really helps getting ready for the Army Combat Fitness Test. I've been doing this for about a year and I've definitely seen results. I'd recommend it do anyone."
"This is great prep for the ACFT," said Sgt. 1st Class Nikea Dawkins. "I've been coming here for seven or eight months, now, and the results have been awesome. It's helped with every aspect of the ACFT."
For more information on Functional Fitness, email Simpson at email@example.com or visit belvoir.armymwr.com.