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Fit to Fight

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ricardo Garcia
  • 90th Force Support Squadron commander
Staying fit is so important as it will ensure you are at the top of your game, so to speak. It's our responsibility as Airmen that when the time comes to deploy, we will be ready. We all know we must be ready to take our fitness assessment every six months, or 12 months for those who score in the excellent category.

I tell my Airmen you can't start preparing 30 days out. This assessment will not allow you to do this. You have to exercise year around, and of course, turn it up as you get closer to your test month. It is one thing preparing for a run, but to actually go out and run is another thing all together. The same goes for preparing for sit-ups and pushups. I realize this may sound like common sense, but you would be surprised about what I've heard people say they do to prepare for their fitness tests. This August will be twenty years for me in the Air Force and I have a couple stories I could tell.

There are so many tangible gains to exercising year round, not only for health benefits but for building strength, cardio and ultimately increasing endurance. The altitude in Cheyenne, Wyo., is nothing to forget about as I personally can attest to having lost some time in my run. Coming from Colorado Springs, Colo., where the altitude is similar, the adjustment was not a big deal; however if you are coming from San Antonio or somewhere similar where the altitude is non-existent the acclimation period is certainly needed. The phrase "the air is thinner here" is so true and can certainly affect performance. I guess that's why so many world athletes train in the higher altitudes.

What the 90th Force Support Squadron brings to the fight is the Freedom Hall Fitness Center where we have recently added more than $230 thousand worth of equipment to replace older equipment this past year. Almost all of the free weights in the center have been replaced with new equipment. We have also added 30 new spin bikes, 12 new selectorized weight equipment pieces and the growing-in-popularity step mills for those who want a true cardio challenge. There are three of them to be exact.

Typically the Air Force will buy new equipment using Overseas Contingency Operations funds which allows for better prices for fitness centers across the world. This coming May, we will be adding another $280 thousand worth of equipment to the fitness center. Some equipment purchased specifically for squadron fitness use will be agility ladders, medicine balls, mats, Bosu balls, cones, exercise bands and new abdominal stations, to just name a few. The specific cardio equipment will be 16 new treadmills, 12 stationary bikes, 10 new cross trainers and 4 new E-Spinner bikes that you will be able to program your own spin session with. We will be adding abdominal and rowing machines too. The audio system in the Spin Room will be replaced so you will be able enjoy listening to your workout music or get a quality sound experience while working out in one of our group aerobics classes.

If you are more into group exercise classes, we offer some nice choices. Independence Hall -- the Indoor Track Facility -- offers 15 classes a week. Some of the classes we offer are Zumba, Spinning, Pilates, Chisel, Butts and Guts and more. So, I believe it's a safe bet that everyone would find something interesting.

As a commander, I expect my Airmen to be in top shape -- fit for the fight to be more exact -- as does the Air Force. I currently have several Airmen deployed to the Area of Responsibility with another group of Airmen scheduled and preparing to deploy over the next several months. Fitness plays a huge role in deployment. Afghanistan has similar altitudes as here in Cheyenne. I saw for myself the struggle of adjusting to the altitude of many Airmen. Not being in peak physical condition can be a prescription for disaster in a forward area.

Between Freedom Hall and Independence Hall, there is more than ample time, equipment and group exercise classes to meet everyone's fitness goals and personal needs, ensuring everyone here will be fit for the fight.

The hours of operation for Freedom Hall are 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Use of the indoor track is available 24/7; whereas use of the cardio and weight rooms in Independence Hall is limited to the hours of 5 to 7:30 a.m., noon to 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.