13 years ago: fitness center evolves with dynamic people and programs

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Julia Bruner
  • 28th Force Supprot Squadron
I remember the first time I walked into the fitness center at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., 13 years ago. I was an Airman Basic and member of the service's career field. At that moment I told myself one day I would be rotated to work in Fitness. I could only hope to present the same physically fit image Airmen working in this fitness center possessed.
Two assignments later I finally got my chance, at the Gateway to the Air Force, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Every event I helped organize gave me a sense of pride unparalleled to anything I'd ever felt. For instance, a fun run wasn't just another run, it was a chance to represent a squadron and show just who had "the right stuff." Equally, squadron physical training challenges brought honors back to units, giving squadron commander's well-deserved bragging rights. Looking back, I don't remember complaining about working extra hours to put on these events, because the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction displayed by our participants kept me and my peers looking forward to the next event we could host. 

As our Physical Fitness standards evolved, we have progressed into a Fit to Fight culture, often times associating a negative "forced to participate" stigma with physical training. Today, the Airmen in the fitness center have a more difficult task than I had as a young Airman. It is their responsibility to promote the Air Force Physical Fitness standards and incorporate the attributes of strength, vigilance, spirit and camaraderie that are the center of the force support mission. 

As time would have it, I progressed in rank, and have since rotated into several different positions throughout my career. Now I am back to the place where I developed the love I have for my career field: the fitness center. Upon arriving at Ellsworth, I wasn't prepared for the caliber of Airmen I currently supervise. These Airmen break the stereotype of handing out basketballs, and focus on professional development by utilizing Air Force training to teach group exercise classes, provide fitness assessments and ensure our community has a variety of opportunities to help exceed current Air Force fitness standards. Creating fitness programs and events at the Bellamy Fitness Center are accomplished with the intent to reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, and assist weight management. Geographic and climate challenges here, accompanied by deployment rates, present consistent hindrances to the amount of participants at our monthly events. This does not discourage the staff's drive to provide our community with continued, dynamic programs. Their dedication has in a sense "re-blued" my own obligation to our peacetime and readiness mission.
I have learned the operations tempo, the mission, and even the base population will change with every assignment, but one thing that always remains consistent is the unwavering commitment the men and women working in all force support fitness center's have to the Air Force.