WIESBADEN, Germany - There is a powerful surge building in U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.
And it is spreading like wildfire -- to unit leaders, family members, high school students and fitness enthusiasts throughout the community.
“This all came about because we had to go into closedown due to COVID-19 Mitigation Measures. I know people are frustrated, especially with summer coming and wanting to get in shape,” said Installation Fitness Coordinator Maria Diaz with the Wiesbaden Sports and Fitness Center. “With that in mind, we thought it was important to create challenges that everyone could be a part of interactively.”
The result was a monthly challenge, that started in February, whereby individuals perform a series of workout routines and challenge others by name to meet or exceed the challenge.
“Anyone who wants to be challenged, please reach out to us – we want to know who you are,” Diaz said, adding that the first iteration was a Squat Challenge. March was – an Abs Challenge – participants started with 20 rotations. “By the end of the month we had about 170.”
Videos of participants performing their challenge routines are featured on the Wiesbaden Sports and Everything Fitness Facebook group page – along with challenges to others to take part. Community members are more than welcome to request to join the online group and participate.
“We’re just picking fun challenges that challenge different parts of the body,” said Diaz, “routines that you can add to your toolbox.”
While instructors and staff at the Wiesbaden Sports and Fitness Center have consistently contributed to the challenge, the fitness initiative has drawn support and contributions from garrison leaders, fellow unit commanders and noncommissioned officers, Wiesbaden High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets and fellow individuals willing to share their fitness routines.
“We wanted to get senior leaders involved in what we were doing,” said Diaz, “to put their stamp on what we do.”
“The challenges are a component of what we do and an opportunity to get and stay fit,” said Col. Mario Washington, U.S. Army Garrison commander. “The Fitness Center is probably the most impactful place on post, (and) when it shut down (due to the COVID-19 response), we felt the loss throughout the community.”
Washington, along with Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Truchon, were among those leading the way in participating and promoting the challenge effort.
Truchon said their involvement is aimed at “supporting the community, interacting with one another and in setting a good example.”
“I played football back in school, and fitness was always a part of my life,” said the garrison commander. “I love staying active.”
For Truchon, committing to physical fitness became a part of his life upon joining the military. “I find it helps with self-confidence, being more alert, having more energy and strength,” he said.
Washington and Truchon explained that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light and validated how important fitness and all the components of fitness are to everyone. “Closing down the facility and taking it away showed us how valued it was and what an important role it plays in our daily lives.”
“In April, it’s a one-minute challenge,” Diaz said. “What’s exciting to me is getting to see what other people’s ideas of a fitness routine are. Through the challenge, you can keep working on that body, even if you don’t have anywhere to show it off yet – and it keeps you accountable.”
To get involved in the monthly challenges, visit the Wiesbaden Sports and Everything Fitness Facebook page. “We welcome you to become a member of the group,” said Diaz. Group members can scroll down the page to check out the various challenge routines and to view interactive fitness workouts provided by Fitness Center instructors.
“Sometimes you just need people you can connect with,” Diaz said, adding that the Sports and Fitness Center staff will continue to “strive to deliver quality programming, challenges and competitions to enhance the community’s overall well-being.”