Functional fitness is taking Fort Hood by storm, with three traditional gyms recently converted to functional fitness centers.
A fourth Ironhorse Functional Fitness Center will be coming in the future. Directorate of Public Works estimates the opening is at least two years off.
The newest fitness craze, also known as operational fitness, is similar to CrossFit but focuses on all three planes of the body, said Staff Sgt. Zachary Pryor with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.
He previously trained with the CrossFit program, doing three workouts daily. Now, he uses operational fitness and finds that one workout does the job.
“It’s improved my cardiovascular endurance,” Pryor said, “and pushed me to a whole new level.” He found his strength and endurance improved simultaneously.
“It is real-life fitness for the whole body,” said Monty Campbell, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation spokesperson. Functional fitness is intended to improve the body’s ability to perform everyday activities, rather than isolating muscle groups as in traditional workouts.
By improving fitness for everyday life, Fort Hood hopes to better prepare soldiers for the battlefield.
Applied Fitness Center is the most complete of the three gyms currently transitioning.
The majority of the equipment was already in the facility, but the layout changed, said Staff. Sgt. Jeremy Brister, shift leader at the gym. The space provides sufficient room for entire platoons to utilize functional fitness in the mornings. Additions to the center include new rowers and three climbing ropes.
“Functional fitness is an expansion on the (physical readiness training) program, supported by (Lt.) Gen. (Mark) Milley,” Brister said. Operational Fitness Director Laura Robinson implemented the layout and ordered the equipment, he said.
Operational fitness classes are offered to physical training leaders to expand the options for units’ daily workouts through the Fort Hood Health Promotion Office.
First Lt. Morgan Bass, of the 89th Military Police Brigade, works out daily at Applied with her husband daily before her unit physical training sessions. She’s found that functional fitness workouts help improve her stance for lifting and doing work on houses, including building fences.
“(The movements) are more natural—it helps me build muscle memory,” Bass said.
Harvey Physical Fitness Center’s transition is nearly complete. Row machines line the walls, along with kettlebells and glute ham machines. Rubber plates, to be picked up and dropped, are coming, said Sherise Broomfield, facility manager.
Trainers in December
Not many people are using their equipment yet, she said, because they don’t know about it. In December, trainers will be available to provide guidance.
Until recently, Starker Physical Fitness Center was a basketball gym.
“It’s two months in the making,” said Harry Crooms, facility manager, of the change to a functional fitness center. “Equipment is still coming in weekly.”
The response to the transition has been good, he said, but some people are disappointed to lose the only basketball gym in the area. With Abrams currently closed, the nearest basketball gym is at West Fort Hood.
“But we have people looking forward to coming in,” he said.
Abrams Physical Fitness Center is closed for renovations, which are expected to last through mid-July 2014. The Abrams pool is still operational.