CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Jan. 22, 2020) – The Yano Fitness Center here has doubled its available size for functional fitness with an added 800-square-foot area that includes a wide variety of exercise equipment.
Stefan Thompson, chief of fitness, athletics and aquatics for Camp Zama’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said the area opened Jan. 15 and is a versatile way for Soldiers and others to build strength and increase mobility.
“It’s probably the biggest trend right now in fitness, and it has been a trend for virtually the last eight or nine years,” Thompson said. “People like the idea that they can customize workouts, and the workouts are usually much shorter than your traditional workout, so it allows people with busy schedules to get in 20- to 30-minute blocks of exercise.”
Functional fitness is exactly what the title implies, Thompson said. It trains the body to perform movements for the demands of a given task.
The new area at the fitness center includes a metal “rig” that nearly spans the entire room and allows for pullups, leg tucks and other exercises, as well as six squat and bench press areas, two “wall ball” throw plates, and bumper plates, kettlebells, dumbbells and much more, Thompson said.
U.S. Army Installation Command G9 Sports, Fitness and Aquatics, with assistance from IMCOM-Pacific, provided the new equipment, Thompson said.
The new Army Combat Fitness Test, which includes leg tucks, deadlifts, a standing power throw, hand-release pushups, a sprint-drag-carry and 2-mile run, also influenced Army officials when deciding to install the new equipment, Thompson said.
The functional fitness area is split into two sections, and the current social distancing posture limits five people per area at a time.
On Jan. 21, Soldiers used the area for their 6 a.m. physical training and said they appreciated the added room and equipment.
Pfc. Keaundra Glover, assigned to the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion, complimented the upgraded workout area and said she likes functional fitness because it allows her to make her own routine and change it as necessary.
Glover said she wants to improve her upper body strength and her ability to do leg tucks, and the functional fitness area gives her an opportunity to do both.
Staff Sgt. Miguel Garcia, also assigned to the 311th MI Bn., said the new functional fitness area is great because everything is brand new and in top condition.
Garcia, who has been doing functional fitness for about seven years, said the expanded area is good for the fitness of Soldiers on Camp Zama.
“Staying fit is important,” Garcia said. “Staying in shape helps your overall health and wellness, so staying fit helps with everything else.”
The area has other fans as well.
Col. Don King, commander of I Corps (Forward), is a functional fitness regular who used the room for a workout Jan. 19, a training holiday.
King said the Army introduced him to functional fitness at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, about 15 or 20 years ago, and he has been doing it since.
Functional fitness is especially useful for Soldiers because it mimics the multi-joint movements Soldiers need for combat, King said.
With the new functional fitness area and equipment, there is enough equipment for everyone, so people who visit the gym for a quick workout at lunch, for example, don’t have to wait for equipment, King said.
“It’s readily available, any time you come here to work out,” King said.
Likewise, Col. Cory Delger, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Army Japan, who also used the gym that day, said the new area has all the equipment Soldiers need for functional fitness, as well as more space to work out.
Delger said he has been doing functional fitness for about 10 years and what he likes in particular is the variety and ability to switch up routines on a day-to-day basis.
“There’s always something new that you can do and something you can challenge yourself with,” Delger said. “And it doesn’t take a lot. All you really need is some small weights and a bar. You don’t need any special weights or machines to do it, and it strengthens your body to do what it needs to do in real life.”
Functional fitness not only helps Soldiers understand how their bodies work, but also helps them develop the strengths they need so they can do their jobs well in combat, Delger said.
“That’s why this area is pretty critical for readiness and making sure the Soldiers are ready to do their jobs,” Delger said.