FORT BENNING GA - Audie Murphy Fitness Center opened with a new look and a new name Monday after a monthlong renovation. Now called the Audie Murphy Athletic Performance Enhancement Center, the center is the only one of its kind at Fort Benning, said Carol Gearheart, sports specialist of the facility. The center is modeled after the Tucker Performance Center at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The renovation of the 35,000 square foot building came after the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation funded the renovation.
The biggest addition to the gym is the athletic performance enhancement room, located in what used to be the basketball court. It includes a dead-weight lifting area, weight sleds, an abdominal training area, Jacob's ladders, weight benches, kettle bells, medicine balls, rubber weights, resistance bands, plyometric boxes and obstacles.

The two racquetball rooms were replaced with a combatives room and a boxing room including combatives mats, speed bags and punching bags. There is still one more phase remaining in the renovation, including exchanging weight machines for versa climbers and rowing machines.

Most cardio equipment - ellipticals and treadmills - only work the lower body, Gearheart said. The new center is designed to work on both cardio and strengthening.
"This is more tailored to a Soldier's training needs," she said. "This center prepares Soldiers to be more combat ready."

2LT Tyler Rossley, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, who exercised at the gym Monday, said the center is more relevant to Soldier training.

"It's great to have a facility like this," he said. "It's not just about getting buff in the gym. It will actually help us in our job - it's a much better way to train. Getting buff might make you look good, but it's not going to help you too much on a 20-mile ruck march or a 10-mile run. At this center, you can strengthen your entire body and get a good cardiovascular workout and get your heart rate up."

The center is open 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays. The gym is open to all valid military ID cardholders. Units can reserve the gym for training, but must reserve it two weeks in advance.

To reserve the center, e-mail or for more information, call 706-604-0977.