JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —
When engaged in a fitness regimen, one may feel revitalized, refreshed and wonder how they ever lived without it. After living without fitness for an extended period of time though, the idea of even getting started may seem daunting.
To help get people going in the right direction, Joint Base Charleston created the Centralized Fitness Improvement Program, which aids participants with improving their fitness through exercise and nutrition and to help them live a healthier lifestyle.
The physical training sessions are run by a volunteer force of physical training leaders from different squadrons around base. This alleviates the need for a PTL at each squadron to run their own fitness improvement program. The centralized program is held three times daily by one or two PTLs in addition to weekly nutrition classes hosted by the Health and Wellness Center.
“I injured my leg while I was pregnant and used crutches the entire pregnancy,” said Staff Sgt. Desiree Amos, 437th Operational Support Squadron NCO in charge of current operations and CFIP participant. “After I had the baby, I had surgery and had a PT test shortly after. Although I passed, I found it extremely difficult, so I took the initiative to join the CFIP. It was a great way for me to get an accountability partner and learn more about nutrition. I felt that this program really got me back on track. So far, I have lost seven pounds in my first three weeks.”
By enhancing members exercise regiments and nutritional habits, the program can positively affect all aspects of a service member’s life while ensuring they are ready for deployments and any other challenges they face on a daily basis.
“We are trying to get the participants to make holistic lifestyle changes,” said Tech. Sgt. Kristen Peck, 628th Aerospace Medical Squadron NCO in charge of Operational-Physiology and CFIP coordinator. “Hopefully, by the time they have reached their fitness goals, they have developed the necessary skills and habits to maintain a healthy lifestyle and continue that throughout the rest of their careers and hopefully their lives.”
Participants must complete four physical training sessions per week and attend one nutrition class per week for 12 weeks. The nutrition classes teach the importance of nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle. Each week, the progress they make is measured as they progress toward their individual goals.
“We have had individuals gain 10 pounds of muscle throughout the 12-week program,” said Alaine Mills, 628th Medical Group nutrition program manager. “We have also seen participants lose 20 pounds of excess weight. Exercise alone, for most people, will not produce the physical changes they are looking for. They need to complement the exercise with proper nutrition to make strides in their health and wellness.”
Peck and 2nd Lt. Darby Germain, 628th Force Support Squadron section commander, have spearheaded the coordination to relieve the individual squadron need for such a program. Both attribute their healthy and active lifestyles to their success as Airmen and want to pass along the positives of a healthy lifestyle to the rest of Team Charleston. Although some service members may be required to complete the program due to a PT test failure, the organizers of the program encourage those who are struggling with fitness to join the CFIP program before it becomes a threat to one’s career.
“I go by the standard if you have a hand, lend a hand,” said Senior Airman Daquavious Robinson, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply apprentice and CFIP PTL. “A lot of people just need a little extra motivation. I used to be one of them. Once I had someone motivate me, it got me on a fitness kick."
The PTLs running the program act as mentors for the participants in an effort to encourage as many people to lead a healthy lifestyle. Pooling the PTLS from across the base creates a team of diverse fitness enthusiast capable of reaching a wide range of Airmen and sparking an interest in a healthy lifestyle.
“I myself used to be overweight and struggle with my PT tests,” said Peck. “It wasn’t until I made the necessary lifestyle changes that I was able to lose the weight and gain the motivation. I made the personal decision to live a healthier life. My fitness success has a lot to do with the support I received from my fellow Airmen and leadership.”
Although it is focused on the readiness of Airmen, at this time, anyone with access to the JB Charleston Fitness Center can participate so long as they make a commitment to complete the 12-week program.
For more information about the CFIP, contact the 628th FSS Fitness Center at 963-3347.