Fort Polk fitness centers get upgrade with new equipment

By Angie ThorneApril 25, 2023

Fort Polk fitness centers get upgrade with new equipment
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – New equipment is prepped before being put in place at Wheelock Fitness Center. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Polk fitness centers get upgrade with new equipment
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Patrons work out on the upgraded fitness equipment at Cantrell Fitness Center April 18. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT POLK, La. — Two of Fort Polk’s gyms — Wheelock Fitness Center and Cantrell Fitness Center — have undergone a major transformation thanks to an upgrade of equipment that took place April 14-20.

Wheelock Fitness Center got brand new equipment that includes functional fitness equipment, free weights, both plate and pin loaded machines, new cardio equipment, an HD Athletic Bridge lifting station and an LFX Total Training system.

All together, it’s more than 200 pieces worth approximately $550,000.

Jonathan Cole, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, director, said his team was excited to replace the workout gear at Wheelock Gym with completely new equipment.

“That upgrade is particularly important in that it allowed us to move Wheelock’s previous equipment to Cantrell to better both facilities,” Cole said. 

Top quality equipment is important to the mission.

“This equipment improvement will ensure that Wheelock Fitness Center continues to be a gym Soldiers value as one of the biggest draws of Fort Polk,” said Sean McCroary, DFMWR business and recreation chief.

Being physically fit enables Soldiers to accomplish all aspects of their tasks while avoiding injury and maintaining deployability. The goal is to prevent injury or illness, and have a speedy recovery if injured, according to

In addition, the website states physical fitness is more than body mass index, physical fitness run time, or how many push-ups a Soldier can do.

It takes strength, flexibility, balance and endurance all working together to optimize physical fitness, and for some, exercise is stress release, preventive health, social activity or even spiritual expression.

That can be true for Soldiers, as well as the Family members and Department of Defense employees that use these facilities.

Monica Knight, Cantrell Fitness Center recreation assistant, said the update is essential to their patrons.

“They come here to get fit, but also relieve stress,” said Knight.

Before the upgrade Soldiers who workout at the gym made it known some improvements they would like to see.

“We have gotten good feedback with these upgrades. They feel like they are being heard,” Knight said. “It’s just another way for them to experience a better quality of life — body, mind and soul.”

Coryne Butler also works at Cantrell Fitness Center. She uses the equipment to further her passion — bodybuilding. Butler is a sponsored national level women’s physique competitor.

The equipment Cantrell got from Wheelock is important to Butler on a personal level.

“The upgrade helps me get the best lift-in I possibly can,” Butler said. “It’s also great for the Soldiers and Family members because they can better enjoy the new equipment. It livens up the experience of coming to the gym.”

Cole said DFMWR will continue to submit requirements in a resource constrained environment, advocating for facilities, equipment and programs to both advance and sustain the quality of life for the Fort Polk community. 

“Fort Polk has seen some great improvements in recent years, with many more on the horizon!”