PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2022) – The Price Fitness Center has more than doubled the size of the gym’s functional fitness area, and Soldiers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of it.
The Presidio of Monterey is an Army installation, but service members from all branches of the military attend the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and share the same gym on post. With the increase in space and equipment, service members from all branches are discovering the benefits of functional fitness and increasing their overall readiness.
“It’s very popular,” said Nicole Dansby, fitness center manager. “Come at peak time, right after [DLIFLC] classes—about 4-4:30 p.m.—and it’s quite full in there. It’s neat to watch. It’s very motivational as well to see everybody training and just getting a good session in.”
The new equipment includes multi-functional lifting racks, multi-functional athletic rigs, rowers, plyometric boxes, sled drag and parachute simulators, battle ropes, ham and glute developers, SPARC trainers, stability balls, foam rollers and speed bags.
“With functional fitness training, Soldiers and service members can build a wide range of workouts that develop skills that increase mission readiness—strength, power, rotational movement and agility,” Dansby said.
The Army Combat Fitness Test, which requires functional fitness equipment, is a key reason Army gyms around the world have increased the amount of equipment available to Soldiers, Dansby said. The gym doubled the amount of functional fitness equipment in November 2021 and continues to add more.
The ACFT includes leg tucks, deadlifts, a standing power throw, hand-release pushups, a sprint-drag-carry, and 2-mile run. The functional fitness area includes all the equipment necessary to train for the test, Dansby said.
Soldiers are making good use of the equipment and space.
Army Pfc. Cole Thomson, assigned to the 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, said he visits the functional fitness area every day in addition to his unit’s physical training so he can gain weight and muscle.
“I love all the pull-up bars and there are a bunch of racks everywhere, so a lot more people come in here,” Thomson said. “All the equipment is super.”
Meanwhile, Army Pfc. David Holland, also assigned to the 229th MI Bn., said he comes to the gym to use the functional fitness equipment four times a week. He keeps himself in shape for being a Soldier in the field, outside of the garrison environment, by following a strict routine and setting goals.
“It’s just a big hobby of mine,” Holland said. “If you’re in the service, I recommend it just because that’s kind of the expectation, you want to be better than you were yesterday, and functional fitness is a great way to do that.”
Soldiers, however, are definitely not the only ones taking advantage of the area.
Seaman Apprentice Gabriel Demetter, assigned to the Information Warfare Training Command Monterey, visited the area Jan. 27 and used a rack to complete a set of pull-ups. Then he tied a 25-pound weight to his waist and did several more. He does functional fitness three or four times a week, he said.
“Once you see that you’re capable of doing things that you didn’t think you were able to do, it boosts your self-confidence like crazy,” Demetter said. “It’s the best feeling in the world just to see yourself do something that you didn’t think you could do before.”
Airman 1st Class Carly Mougeot, assigned to the 314th Training Squadron, said she has been working out in the functional fitness section for about a year, mostly lifting weights. The workouts provide health and mental health benefits, she said.
“Definitely, while you’re here, I think it’s important to keep that as a part of your schedule even though we’re so busy. It really makes a difference,” Mougeot said.
The Navy, Air Force and Space Force fitness tests have remained more traditional than the Army test, Dansby said, and the gym includes all the equipment necessary for service members from those branches to train.
The Marine Corps, meanwhile, has two fitness tests. The Physical Fitness Test evaluates strength and conditioning, and the Combat Fitness Test measures functional fitness and simulates the demands of battle in full-combat uniforms.
Lance Cpl. Solstice Morano, assigned to the Marine Corps Detachment Monterey and a fire-team leader who creates physical training plans, said the PFC functional fitness area helps with both tests.
The Marines at PoM have their own High Intensity Tactical Training Locker that includes a variety of functional fitness equipment such as battle ropes, sleds for pushing and more, Morano said. But they like coming to the gym as well.
“We also have the ability to come here and focus on the lifting side, which is really nice that we have both of those options,” Morano said. “One thing I really do like about them adding more is that now that there are [weightlifting] plates, and there’s more ability for people to come work out here.”
Marine Corps Pfc. Mateo Martinez, also assigned to the MCD Monterey, said he appreciates the new equipment and the gym in general.
In regard to functional fitness, Martinez said, “You can come in here, you can be a body builder, you can do that stuff, that’s cool, you’ll look big. But at the end of the day, if you want to be strong for what really matters—the movements that you actually do in your daily routine—functional fitness makes more sense.”
The functional fitness area, however, is not just for service members, but all patrons of the gym, and Dansby said one of the aspects that keeps people coming back is the variety.
In addition, the gym offers a Circuit Training class in the functional fitness area at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, Dansby said, and the instructor works with those at all functional fitness levels.
“It’s a fun group,” Dansby said. “That’s a lot of the joy in it. That’s what’s so fun about the functional fitness area. You’ve got everybody in there at the same time with all their various goals. It makes it motivational and a fun atmosphere.”
To learn more about the ACFT and how the events relate to the everyday jobs of Soldiers, visit https://www.army.mil/acft.