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Tactical Fitness Center: ensuring Andrews is Fit to Fight

Posted 6/7/2010   Updated 6/7/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Patrick McKenna
316th Wing Public Affairs


6/7/2010 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- After four months of renovations, Team Andrews opened the doors to the Tactical Fitness Center in January 2009. Since then, it has played a huge part in helping Andrews' servicemembers and their families improve their physical fitness and overall health.

The TFC, a 4000 square foot multi-purpose room that features enough weightlifting equipment and pull up bars for 20 people to use at once, rowing machines, an indoor track and a 52" mounted flat screen television where the workout program P-90X is shown three days per week, offers a variety of ways Andrews personnel can get the workout they need.

"The tactical fitness program is important because it focuses on the 10 general physical skills," said Casey O'Donnell, West Fitness Center fitness director. "Those are cardio/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, accuracy and balance. It doesn't focus on just one or two skills. It's all encompassing."

It's never been more important for Andrews Airmen to push themselves physically. Not only to prepare for the new physical fitness test starting in July, but also the rigors of deployments.

"We are adapting our Air Force 'Fit to Fight' vector to the conditions that our Airmen must master in this current war," said Col. Steven M. Shepro, 316th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander. "It is a non-linear war in which aircrew, engineers, security forces members, convoy drivers and our other personnel put their lives on the frontlines daily in extreme heat and cold, wearing 40 pounds of protective gear, for more than 12 hours a day, and must be continually at their mental and physical best to win. This program builds the core strength and endurance that are fundamental to a superior level of combat fitness, both as individuals and teams. It has only one standard, that crosses all of our other missions: everyone gives their best."

The TFC has already made an enormous impact in the fitness levels of those who've embraced it as a part of their workout regimen.

"I have noticed a dramatic improvement for those that have been consistently coming and pouring everything they have into the workouts," Mr. O'Donnell said. "They have improved on their PT tests, as well as increased flexibility, injury prevention, functional fitness, and better overall health."

The Tactical Fitness Center not only helps to strengthen Andrews personnel physically, but it's apparent to those who utilize the facility on a consistent basis that it also helps improve morale and camaraderie for units who use the TFC to work out as a team.
"When units workout together in the TFC you can definitely see camaraderie," said 1st Lt. Sheriden Martinez, 316th Comptroller Squadron deputy budget officer and 316th Wing Staff unit fitness program monitor. "People are cheering each other on and pushing each other to reach new physical limits."

In the year and a half since its opening, the TFC's reputation as a great place to work out has reached all corners of base resulting in an increase in class sizes. According to Mr. O'Donnell, to make sure that everyone who wants to take part in a class is able to, the fitness center staff has added more classes to decrease congestion.

Much of the success at the fitness center can be attributed to not only the 316th Force Support Squadron which oversees the facilities, but the fitness center's dedicated staff who ensure that the TFC is ready each day for the hundreds of people who utilize it.

"The gym has the best staff," Lieutenant Martinez said. "We are blessed to have a trained and professional CrossFit coordinator at our gym. More Air Force members should take advantage of the knowledge and experience that the staff has to offer. People pay major money to have the access to these types of programs that we get for free."

Team Andrews can expect to see the TFC continue to improve and evolve in the not too distant future. Some renovations that can be expected are an entire resurfacing of the TacFit area. They will also be expanding the CrossFit area into the tennis courts and resurfacing the indoor track with lanes.

For a schedule of all the CrossFit and P90X classes the TFC offers, refer to the schedule below. For any other information regarding the Tactical Fitness Center, call 301-981-7101.



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