By Mr. James Brabenec (IMCOM)January 25, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Thanks in part to a Fort Sill leader's enthusiasm for fitness, the post has a "new" gold standard cardiovascular and strength training room called Iron City in Goldner Fitness Center.
Col. Paul Hossenlopp, Fort Sill Garrison commander, helped speed a process along that converted the basketball court in October.
"The theme of the center is 'you don't have to wait for anything,'" he said. I'm a big weightlifter, into fitness and physical training; I believe it's a cornerstone of resilience."
To fulfill this wait-free vision, all existing workout machines and free weights were moved from other rooms in the center and augmented by newly purchased fitness equipment. For weightlifters of all levels and experience, the upgrade features additional power racks, more flat and incline benches and an additional decline and military press benches.
"I'm very happy, the center has everything in there I want," said the colonel. "The staff has embraced this , always displays a great attitude and keeps the place spotless."
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation personnel had the conversion planned out, but Shane Dunlevy, community recreation officer, expressed his appreciation for Hossenlopp's input.
"Colonel Hossenlopp's interest, his passion for fitness and improving facilities really helped speed up the conversion process," said Dunlevy.
He added the new layout ensured the safety of the fitness center's patrons and staff by providing increased space between equipment and more area to perform various exercises.
Jacob Denton heads up the staff at Goldner and said the overall excitement with the change is indicative of the contagious nature of Hossenlopp's energy. He said there were a few minor issues to remedy early on, but the facility he manages on a daily basis exceeded his expectations.
"We've doubled the number of people who visit the fitness center and word keeps spreading," said Denton, who likened the old layout to "Cheers," the old TV show. "We used to see the same faces, but now everybody is in here."
A competitive bodybuilder since 2008, Donna Mariscal, the wife of a Soldier, has worked out at Goldner for about five months. She addressed the planning that went into placing the equipment on the floor.
"I like that machines that target specific body parts are all together, that makes it easier for me to do supersets, because everything is right where I need it," she said.
Dunlevy said some concerns were raised about the amount of money spent. However, the majority of the expense was offset through the Army Bulk Buy program for fitness equipment. It requires installations to determine needed fitness equipment for upcoming years and to order it.
"We went a little out of cycle to get this equipment, but feedback from everyone has been positive," he said.
A secondary concern right after the conversion inquired about Fort Sill taking a basketball court from Soldiers. Hossenlopp reminded people the new child and youth center on Fort Sill Boulevard by New Post Chapel has a basketball court. Also, construction is scheduled to begin in the next few months on a new gym in the Forces Command area.
"There are plenty of places to play basketball on Fort Sill," he said.
Hossenlopp related his own first experience with weightlifting and how it transformed his life over time. He began lifting nearly 30 years ago, in part, because of a situation that arose, one many people experience themselves. He broke up with a girl he'd dated for a couple years and that led to difficult times.
"The first year of college my grades got really bad, and I couldn't eat or sleep for about a month," he said. "One day I decided to make a change and began going to the gym I have never stopped."
Not only does he regularly workout, he changed his diet, too, and stuck with those changes.
"I exceed any Army standard or expectation for fitness, because it's a passion and lifestyle for me," he said. "I love to share what I know about working out and a good diet that supports physical fitness."
Serving in a position often likened to a city mayor, Hossenlopp can relate to how some people might say they're too busy to workout regularly.
"For me it's a matter of discipline and setting priorities," he said.
Working up Randolph Road a few blocks, Hossenlopp used to frequent Honeycutt Fitness Center, but he emphatically stated his new preference.
"I'm at Goldner now!"