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On the road to good health

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "People say that losing weight is no walk in the park. When I hear that I think, yeah, that's the problem." - Chris Adams.

A healthy lifestyle is a life-long commitment. Knowing that is one thing; living it is another matter. Just ask anyone who has made a New Year's resolution to work out daily or lose 20 pounds. By March, many of those resolutions end up like roadkill on the road to good health.

"It doesn't have to be that way," said Roger Hill, Peterson Air Force Base Fitness and Sports Center director.

"A lot of people start the New Year with good intentions to get in shape but they don't last," Mr. Hill said. "That's where we come in. We have people who can help keep them on the right track."

A Body That's Fit

The way he treats his body, you'd think he was renting. - Robert Brault

The people Mr. Hill are referring to are the fitness center's fitness specialists and personal trainers, and the Health and Wellness Center's dietitian and exercise physiologist. The fitness center's entire staff are trained and certified fitness specialists.

Fitness specialists, he explained, will meet with individuals, ascertain fitness goals and then build a six- to eight-week individualized program so each person can achieve their goals. The specialists show individuals what exercises to do, which equipment to use, how to use the equipment and the proper form.

After individuals complete that six- to eight-week period, they can again meet with their fitness specialist to see how well they have done and how much progress they have made toward their goals.

Then, the fitness specialist will design a new six- to eight-week program to continue meeting new goals.

"You'll need to change your workout because your body gets used to the routine and reaches a plateau," said Airman Ladashia McCoy, fitness specialist. "A new workout plan keeps your muscles and your brain engaged."

Working out four to five days a week is best, she said. And, if individuals are active duty, fitness specialists can help them develop proper technique for PT tests.

Motivation to get to the gym, working out and closely following the plan are entirely up to each person. Fitness specialists do not meet folks at the gym and watch them work out. However, if a person needs that kind of personal attention -- that kind of one-on-one relationship to stay on track -- then, individuals need the services of a personal trainer. The fitness center has both male and female experienced personal trainers who have been working with customers for some time. Fitness center personnel can give folks information about personal trainers, their fees and their contact information. The initial interview is free.

State-of-the-Art Equipment

If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all.
- Joey Adams

Within its 60,000 square feet, the fitness center contains two regulation-size basketball/volleyball courts, two Cybex equipment rooms, a free weight and dumbbell room, five racquetball courts, an aerobics room, a spinning room, 1/12 mile indoor track, Colorado Room (70 pieces of cardiovascular equipment and two cardio theatres), Peak View Room (30 pieces of cardio equipment), a climbing wall, six locker rooms including a DV locker room for men and women, self-supervised child care areas, a nutrition bar and a co-located 4,800 square foot Health and Wellness Center. Its equipment is state-of-the-art, offering customers the most challenging workout they want to give themselves.

Fitness specialists and personal trainers are knowledgeable about the fitness center's state-of-the-art equipment and will show users which equipment will help them reach their fitness goals and the proper technique to use it. If individuals are not using the services of a fitness specialist or a personal trainer, any member of the fitness center staff can demonstrate how to use the equipment. Individuals should never hesitate to ask for help.

Wise Food Choices

Never eat more than you can lift. - Miss Piggy

Julie Anderson, registered dietitian at the HAWC, has different advice than Miss Piggy: "Make your calories count," She said.

As a specialist in applying the principles of nutrition to the diet, Ms. Anderson understands how challenging it is to make wise food choices. Reading nutrition labels takes time. In 1971, a typical supermarket carried fewer than 8,000 items. In 2009, it was more than 48,000, according to Nutrition Center for Science in the Public Interest.

So, to make it easier for shoppers, Ms. Anderson reviewed processed foods at the Peterson Commissary and labeled healthy choices with a "HAWC Approved" label.

For Airmen who have scored a 'unsatisfactory' on their PT tests, her advice is, "Ask for help before it's too late, while there's time for the professionals to help you," Ms. Anderson said.

All too often Airmen come into the HAWC about a week before they are scheduled to retake their tests, she said. But realistically, people cannot make the improvements they need to in so short a time. The earlier people come in, the better it is for them.

Ms. Anderson and Jennifer Crowley, HAWC exercise physiologist, teach completely revamped classes that are easy to digest. They include the 'Be Well' class, mandatory for all Airmen with an 'unsatisfactory' score and open to anyone who wants to improve their fitness.

"If you're not in a training program, you're going to have injuries, getting in shape is going to be painful, and then you begin suffering anxiety and stress, which lead to a change in appetite and sleep habits," Ms. Crowley. "It can be a vicious cycle."

Reward Yourself

Why do we pay for psychotherapy when massages cost half as much? - Jason Love

When individuals reach some of their goals, they should take time to acknowledge that and celebrate it, the experts said. Folks can reward themselves with non-food items -- with something like a massage. Touch is healing, soothing and relaxing, and a professional massage can do wonders to improve how a person feels about themselves. Ask fitness center personnel how to schedule an appointment with a licensed massage therapist.

Resources for a Healthier Lifestyle
  • Fitness and Sports Center, 556-4462 - Fitness specialists, free; Personal trainers, fee. Aerobics and spinning classes, free. Massage therapists, fee; Tighten Up Smoothies, cost per purchase. Cardio rooms, weight rooms, racquetball courts, gymnasiums, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, self-supervised childcare areas.
  • HAWC, 556-4292 - Offering revamped classes for tobacco cessation, weight loss, improving nutrition, cardiovascular health, diabetes and pre-natal education. Classes that help active duty meet PT requirements include Be Well, Be Well Follow-up, Interval 101, Training Plan 101, DLC and HAWC exercise classes. Classes are free.
  • Peterson AFB Commissary, 556-7760 - Now displaying yellow "HAWC Approved" labels on select food products to help customers make better choices when shopping. HAWC Registered Dietitian Julie Anderson looked at calories, fat, sodium and fiber to determine whether the product is a healthy choice. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always healthy choices.
  • Tighten Up Smoothies, 347-1747 - Located in the fitness center, this nutrition bar offers shakes and smoothies to help replenish what you lose in your workout and add the protein to help build muscle. They also provide fresh wraps, protein bars and snacks. Visit them for their daily Happy Hour specials 11 a.m.-1 p.m., PT specials and retiree discounts 9 a.m.-noon.

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