2012 Fitness Resolution: Resolution highlights Bliss fitness programs
Sgt. Robert Larson,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
The 2012 Fitness Resolution gave Fort Bliss the chance to showcase the fitness programs and opportunities available to the post community as fitness experts led Soldiers, family members and civilians through a series of classes and events to help kick-start their fitness goals Saturday at Sgt. Joshua W. Soto Physical Fitness Center.
Fitness Resolution, established two years ago, featured four events this year, catering to all people: the second annual half marathon, a 5-kilometer run, a pro fitness combine and a two-hour aerobic marathon, all allowing both serious and casual athletes to participate.
Last year, Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss commanding general, said it was his goal to make Fort Bliss the fittest post in the Army. After a year of work, Fort Bliss boasts the Fusion Wellness Campus that helps with Soldiers’ physical, mental and spiritual well-being; an increase in fitness events offered throughout the year; and more participation from the Fort Bliss and El Paso communities.
“We are definitely moving in the right direction,” said Pittard, who ran the half marathon again this year. “Events like this tie us into El Paso even more than before.”
The Fitness Resolution is the brainchild of Teia Mack, a fitness coordinator here who has spent the past two years working on and refining the event.
“It’s a time for us to show people what programs we have to offer,” Mack said.
The half marathon and 5k were offered alongside the other fitness events to highlight the variety of programs offered at Fort Bliss, said Aaron Jones, Fort Bliss varsity and intramural sports coordinator.
“The fitness resolution is another avenue to get people involved in their own fitness,” said Jones.
Jones said he hoped by having all the events together on the same day, the aerobic programs would get the same exposure as the running events.
The two-hour aerobics program demonstration and the pro fitness combine were offered to those looking for something other than long-distance running. Mack designed the aerobics event, while the pro combine was set up and run by John Barela, a sports specialist for Fort Bliss’ Mission Essential Fitness.
Barela used his experience at the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Tulsa, Okla., to design an event similar to the pro football combine held every year for NFL prospects.
The combine included a 40-yard dash, shuttle run, agility drill, vertical jump, broad jump and bench press. Those with the best overall score in two age brackets – younger than 18 and 18 and older – received plaques.
Michael Sauter, a Fort Bliss family member, won the younger-than-18 category, while 1st Lt. Billy Lewis of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, won the 18-and-older category.
“It was something to do and it was fun,” said Lewis. “If we can get the word out and get more guys here, it could be real competitive.”
Barela said he hopes to continue the pro combine next year and maybe hold a similar event at the end of the summer.
Pittard’s son Jordan also competed in the pro combine. While not the long distance runner his father is, the younger Pittard was using the combine to help evaluate his readiness for next year’s football season. He said he is glad his father is involved in these events.
“I think it’s good for everybody to exercise and be fit,” said Jordan.
The day’s other event, a two-hour aerobics marathon, started with traditional aerobics and progressed through yoga, spin, kettlebell drill, Zumba and finished with a hardcore aerobics workout.
Participants received door prizes during the two-minute rest periods between classes. Sponsors gave away shoes, gift cards and other items to those attending the fitness day activities.
Jane Bongiorno, a yoga instructor, wanted everyone in attendance to know the importance of the programs offered at the gyms on post.
“I don’t think people realize how lucky they are to live here and to have free classes offered to them,” Bongiorno said.
Mack said this is even more interesting when taking in to consideration that the post’s gyms offer between 75 and 90 classes a week.
The group that participated in the aerobics demonstrations was a mix of Soldiers, family members, civilian employees and El Paso community members.
Leslee Bustos, wife of Sgt. Hidalgo Bustos of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, visited the gym to get a workout before welcoming home her husband from Afghanistan later that afternoon.
“I like it – it lets everyone know what programs that are offered,” Bustos said.
Members of the El Paso community also participated. Oscar Cuevas, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, came out for the workout.
“I think it’s great,” Cuevas said. “It gets the community out here.”
Some people even found time to participate in two events. Amber Levy, a member of the Fort Bliss Fire Department, did both the 5k and aerobics.
“This was amazing,” said Levy. “I wish they would do it more often. I love it, I absolutely love it.”
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