FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers, civilians and Family Members battled for bragging rights during an intense physical challenge Thursday at the Atkins Functional Fitness Facility. Fort Drum's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program teamed up with AFFF staff to sponsor its first functional fitness challenge.

The obstacle course required participants to complete a rope pull, jump on boxes, throw a large medicine ball, jump over obstacles, flip a tire, sprint, push a weighted sled and carry a sand bag.

Randy Gillette, AFFF manager, said while traditional workouts focus on individual body parts and muscles, functional fitness workouts condition the entire body and trains muscles with strength, power, agility and endurance exercises.

Sgt. Douglas Winters, BOSS vice president, said he enjoys the functional fitness facility over traditional gyms and believes this type of training is gaining popularity because it allows for more combat-oriented workouts.

"It's a full-body workout," Winters said. "Each station requires a certain amount of (repetitions), and (competitors) have to go through and try to get their best time."

While the course did not seem long, Gillette said it proved challenging for many of the participants.

"People came in here pretty confident today, but they are breaking a sweat. It's tough," he said, adding that put of all of the stations, the kettle bell and push sled events were the most difficult.
The BOSS program teamed up with AFFF staff to offer fun, enhanced physical training options for Soldiers, according to Michelle Roden, BOSS program manager.

"We want to make people want to go to the gym, which is why we partnered with the Atkins Functional Fitness Facility," she said. "When there's a competition, Soldiers are more likely to get involved. Soldiers like to compete."

More than 25 competitors participated in the event.

The top three male competitors were as follows:
*Justin Wiley, first place;
*Spc. Leon Miller, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, second place;
*Pfc. Jacob Hestin, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, third place.

The top female competitors were as follows:
*Kara Smith, first place;
*Bethany Payne, second place;
*Second Lt. Marlene Dwyer, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, third place.

Roden and Gillette said they hope to offer similar competitions on a monthly basis.

"Hopefully, in the next competition, we will add some different functional fitness challenges for our competitors, to enable them to challenge themselves in a … higher-intensity hybrid workout," Gillette said. "(The event is beneficial because it) also teaches them the exercises for their own personal gains as well as to have fun."

Competitions are open to all DoD ID card holders 18 or older. There are male and female categories, and prizes are awarded to the top three competitors.

Gillette and his staff have all completed the Mountain Athlete Warrior course and are certified functional fitness trainers.

For more information about upcoming fitness competitions or personal training, call the AFFF at 772-6071 or BOSS at 772-7807.