Maxwell, Gunter fitness centers introduce new way to keep fit



by Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Stoltz
Air University Public Affairs


11/19/2010 - MAWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Maxwell Air Force Base Fitness Center has many similarities to other fitness centers throughout the Air Force. It has a basketball court, men's and women's locker rooms and weight lifting area. However, if people recently visited the second floor of the fitness center, they would find something seemingly out of place, something usually found in a sports bar or pub: a 110-inch projection screen with sound system.
The projectors and massive screens recently set up at the fitness centers at Maxwell and Gunter Annex are the first of their kind in the Air Force.

"The system is called Fitness on Request," said Jay Jones, Maxwell's fitness center director, 42nd Force Support Squadron. "I feel it will play an important role in fitness for many personnel here, changing how many perform strength training and cardiovascular training. It is a great system which allows personnel to enjoy and perform a variety of different classes. It is also great because there are classes which have lower and higher difficulty, so users with lower and higher fitness levels alike can use the system without feeling over or underwhelmed."

Fitness on Request contains more than 35 classes, including: kickboxing, yoga, sports drills, step, core training and spinning. Once a quarter, new classes will be added to the library, allowing fitness center-goers the opportunity to select classes they have never done before, Mr. Jones said.

Another benefit Fitness on Request offers is the fact that an instructor does not need to be present during classes.

One person who finds the Fitness on Request system beneficial is Airman Christopher Scardasis, customer service tech, Financial Management Flight, Headquarters Air University.

"I think this is a fantastic idea," he said. "Between my job, intramural sports, my social life and Honor Guard, it is almost impossible to attend a class at the fitness center if I want to have a specialized workout. However, with Fitness on Request, I can attend a kickboxing or sports training class at my leisure, and I am looking forward to having this convenience."

The system is easy to use, and even if a person has never used a computer before, they will be able to use Fitness on Request, Jones said.

"Most people get confused when they see the projector and sound system," he said. "They ask themselves if they have to manually set everything up. We have made this process very easy for the user. Simply go to the touch-screen kiosk, select the exercise you want for yourself or the group, and voila. The projector automatically powers on, the screen automatically lowers itself into the correct position and the sound system adjusts to a comfortable level. It is amazing how elementary the process actually is."

Although the system is expected to be used frequently, the Maxwell Fitness Center will continue to host instructor-led classes as well, he said.

Now available on a first-come, first-served basis, the fitness center is going to create a schedule of classes for Fitness on Request in the near future. Once the schedule is released, it will be posted on the 42nd Force Support Squadron's web page.