By Walt Johnson | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — In the early morning hours at McKibben Fitness Center, one fitness specialist is making huge progress in preparing Soldiers to be combat fit and ready. Beth Bearden, fitness program specialist, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, spends hours helping Soldiers practice for the Army Combat Fitness Test. She also helps some with mental wellness, as well.
Bearden is a certified strength and conditioning specialist who trains groups and individuals to prepare them for the Army fitness requirements. She has a master’s degree in sports science and rehabilitation, and she is using that to help Soldiers prepare for the Army Combat Fitness Test.
One of those Soldiers, Jerome Ramsey, is a stately 6-foot, 3-inch, 250-pound man, while Bearden stands at merely 5-feet and weighs 130 pounds.`
“I have been working with Beth for about two months now,” Ramsey said. “We initially started working (with) members of my squad’s Army Combat Fitness Test in the mornings. I was getting so much from her training that I reached out to her, and I asked her if she did individual training on the side because I am trying to increase my strength and endurance. She said she could help me. … Once we were able to schedule (time to meet), I’ve been coming every day.”
Ramsey said the key to the success of Bearden’s program is that she breaks the training down very well, and she has a science behind her workout regimen. She has been so effective in helping him reach his goal that he “simply does what she says.”
Ramsey said during his workouts, he may have been doing too much, as his body was not able to properly recover.
“Basically, I just do what she tells me to do, and I have increased my strength and endurance drastically over the past two months,” he added. “I have lifted weights before, but everybody needs a coach. … Then I started working out with Beth, and she showed me the muscle groups that I should be working to get more out of my workouts.”
Bearden showed him how to take proper breaks between and how to balance between heavy lifting and light lifting to meet goals and objectives, Ramsey said.
“The bottom line is what you see in me today is not what you saw two months ago,” Ramsey said. “I have dramatically improved. Right now, I owe my fitness regimen to the work that Beth is putting in with me.”
Bearden said she feels as though she has made a difference with many of the Soldiers, and helping others is her way of contributing to making this Army the best in the world. Soldiers like Ramsey motivate her to be at the top of her game when helping Soldiers achieve their fitness goals.
Ramsey is the best example of a leader who leads by example, she said, and she wanted to do whatever she could to help him and his fellow Soldiers be successful in their fitness goals.
Bearden’s husband is a command sergeant major in the Army Reserve, and it was he who helped her down this path after she began a career that led her to know fitness was her calling.
Bearden said when she was a musical theater actor, she weighed about 165 pounds, and it was the prospects of not receiving theater assignments that led her to fitness.
“For someone my size, which is 5 feet tall, I was a little plump,” Bearden added. “So, I started to train so I could lose weight and be more marketable for theater. As it turned out, I enjoyed doing that much more than I did theater. So I went on my personal training search, got certified and started working with my peers in theater. From there, that grew into group fitness programs, and then I went and got my master’s degree in sports science and rehab.”
After she moved to Texas and met her husband, Bearden was introduced to technical fitness training, and her husband said it was something the Army would embrace.
“(My) husband and I would work out together, and he would tell me how the Army could use fitness instructors,” Bearden said. “He would tell me how technical fitness training could benefit the Army, and I then would get my technical fitness training certificate. And that helps me bridge the gap between my general fitness training and my technical fitness training, which I use now to train Soldiers.”
Bearden said she feels humbled and honored to work with good Soldiers like Ramsey because he puts so much effort into listening and absorbing the training. That is one of the keys to getting the most out of the training and seeing positive results.
“I love coaching large groups, but the personal stuff is really when you get to know someone, and you get to know the nuance of their body, and you can see a lot about them that you wouldn’t normally find. This will help the ability to improve and get the most out of fitness,” Bearden said.
Units or individuals interested in improving their ACFT scores can contact Bearden at McKibben Fitness Center.