By Walt Johnson
One way to assure America will always have the best military force is to make sure it has a force that is physically fit.
Members of the Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base community are accustomed to great fitness programs that are making sure soldiers, airmen and their family members are fit to fit the nation’s battles.
Both installations have fitness programs that are as good as any you will find. The installations not only offer first rate facilities but also first rate programs that support those facilities and the people who are seeking to get in or stay in shape.
Les Stewart, special programs manager at the Peterson Sports and Fitness Center said Peterson officials made the decision to insure it had the best fitness program possible for its patrons and have also made the program free (through appropriated fund money) for all active duty members and people that have Department of Defense authorization.
Stewart added that the classes at Peterson are so popular that they have to place a maximum limit of 20 people per class. He said active duty members have first priority on the class (they can sign up 30 minutes prior to the class) followed by DoD people (who can sign up 15 minutes prior to class) and contractors who can take part in the class on a space available basis.
Fort Carson also has some outstanding programs for its patrons. The post is currently building a super fitness center that is scheduled to be open in the spring of 2012 that will add to the facilities that currently being used for sports and fitness needs.
Currently the post has three fitness facilities that can meet any fitness and/or sports need a person may have. McKibben, Waller and Garcia Physical Fitness Centers each offer unique fitness programs for the people at Fort Carson
At McKibben PFC patrons can take part in aerobic, warrior fitness training and one of the best free weight training rooms you will find anywhere. Garcia and Waller PFCs also offer weight training and aerobic classes in addition to having basketball and volleyball courts that also give members the chance to get a full cardio workout.
In keeping with the theme of fitness Fort Carson recently began the process of turning one of its former fitness centers, Forrest PFC, into a Resiliency Center. The new resiliency facility will be designed to help people focus on mind, body and spiritual wellness according to Mountain Post Wellness officials.
When completed the center will become a world class health experience and the cornerstone of the Mountain Post Resiliency campus which will include a super gym, a behavioral health facility and a child development center that is currently under construction just north of the current Forrest PFC location.
Wellness center officials said the post has needed a centralized facility that brings a variety of resiliency services under one roof that will provide Soldiers, Families and retirees an expanded wellness clinic which will provide healthy lifestyle programs.
Both facilities said the need to have a healthy and fit force both physically and mentally is just as important as any other aspect of military preparedness. Officials feel that fit military members and those that support them will be much better prepared to meet its challenges with top notch programs like the ones that are offered at the facilities on their installations.
Each of the facilities have certified instructors and personal trainers that can help people meet their fitness goals in a safe and healthy environment. Each of the facilities also have special fitness programs that are designed to help charitable organizations while also giving people a fun way to meet fitness needs.
“The Fitness Improvement Program is what drives our programs. We try to upgrade our aerobic and spinning classes as often as necessary to meet the desires of our customers. Zumba is a really popular class and there is a new class called Stride, that is another version of Zumba, that we are looking to bring in,” Stewart said.
Both facilities said they are well prepared to meet the demand for fitness activities at their installations but they are always looking for ways to improve their programs which will keep them on the leading edge.
“We are way ahead of what the requirements are for fitness programs that the Air Force wants. We have gone above and beyond those requirements and that is because of the feedback we get from our customers who let us know what we need to do to meet their fitness goals,” Stewart said.
Amber Zurita is the manager for Garcia PFC on post. She was formerly the manager of Forrest Fitness Center and has seen the fitness programs evolve over the past three years to where they are today. She said the Mountain Post is very proud of what it has to offer its patrons.
“Our goal for our fitness programs has always been to make sure we keep up with the current programs that will help Soldiers and those that support them be in the best possible condition and have the best program to meet their needs. We have a number of programs that are designed to meet any level of fitness or aerobic activity that people may have. We are constantly looking for ways to make our programs even better than they are because the volume of programs is not as important to us as ability to meet the needs of our people are,” Zurita said.