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From resolution to reality

Thursday, January 7, 2016 22:51
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(Before It's News)

by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs

1/7/2016 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The year 2016 has descended on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and along with it, countless resolutions. One of the more common ones is to lead a healthier life.

The resolution itself may be simple, but can also be daunting. However, JBER offers a plethora of resources for families and service members to face the challenge head-on.

“The first thing we address when someone comes to us wanting to make a change is goal setting,” said John Limon, director of Buckner Physical Fitness Center. “Many times these goals are either unrealistic, bloated, seem to be unachievable after a short time, [or] eventually lead to the person failing.

So the first step a person should take is to evaluate their resolution and make SMART goals.”

SMART is an acronym which means goals should be specific, measurable, adjustable, realistic, and time-specific. The idea is to outline fitness goals in a measurable manner, so progress can be easily seen. This can give realistic perspective on a diet or workout regimen and allow for adjustments to be made.

Writing down one's goals, daily diet and exercises will equip fitness center staff with a way to provide accurate advice down the road if the individual is not getting the results they'd hoped for, Limon said. By approaching health goals much as a scientist would approach an experiment, one can turn their resolution into a reality. There are two main components to a healthy lifestyle – exercise and diet; JBER offers resources for maintaining both.

The health promotions team, located in the Health and Wellness Center at the Arctic Oasis can provide valuable advice and resources regarding nutrition and lifestyle choices.

One of their programs is “Better Body, Better Life,” a five-session class that may prove to be a great way to kick-start a health resolution. “Each session covers nutrition, a little bit on fitness, and behavioral modification,” said Lisa Schuette, a JBER public health educator on the health promotions team.

BBBL provides general information and guidelines in a group setting for those who are looking for education, encouragement, and a sense of community. Part of going to BBBL is connecting with other assets JBER has to offer.

“We also have the Behavioral Health Optimization Program,” Schuette said. “A clinical psychologist talks about the behavioral aspects [of nutrition management.]“

If an individual is unable to make it to all five sessions consecutively, they can hop into their missed session as part of a different cycle, Schuette said. “For those who can't make it to the five BBBL sessions, I also offer a one-session class,” Schuette said.

However, BBBL is a single resource amongst the many available. Some may be looking for education without a formal time commitment, for such folks, a quick stop at the HAWC may be in order.

Bring a bag though, because without some form of assistance, one may find there to be too many resources to carry. Not into having piles of paper pamphlets around? That's fine, the health promotions team can offer plenty of digital resources as well.

“If you go to, it can tell you the servings for all the different food groups for losing or maintaining health,” Schuette said. “It is a great, overall healthy eating website. I also like the Human Performance Resource Center,, which is a [Department of Defense] website on anything to do with performance. How many grams of protein do I need before or after a workout? You can find it there. It also has a database of supplements where products are catalogued based on whether they are effective or ineffective.

“People think: I want to be healthy; I'm going to take supplements. That's not necessarily correct.”

Another common health resolution is tobacco cessation, Schuette said. Some people may not think about that when considering a healthier life, but there is assistance for that as well.

“It is common for people to not want to come to a class,” Schuette said. “There are a variety of quit lines, there's an Alaska quit line and a research study which is a proactive quit line. They will send nicotine supplements to your house.” Tobacco cessation classes are offered on both sides of JBER.

“I talk a little on fitness, but generally I refer them to the fitness specialists at the fitness centers,” Schuette said.

There are four fitness locations on JBER.

The Elmendorf Fitness Center has an indoor track, extensive weightlifting and cardiovascular machines, several class rooms, a spin room, racquetball and basketball courts, saunas, and massage therapy rooms available for service members and their families.

The gym's facilities are free to anyone with a common access card, and services like contracted personal trainers and massage therapists are available for a fee.

The Arctic Oasis is a child-friendly facility, with cardiovascular and weightlifting machines around an indoor playground for the kids while mom and dad work out. The health promotions team is also located there and available for consult at the Health and Wellness Center. The Arctic Oasis is located next door to the Elmendorf Fitness Center.

The Buckner Physical Fitness Center has many of the same facilities as the Elmendorf Fitness Center and is currently receiving substantial additions to its services including a new swimming pool.

Hangar 5, near the Aurora Housing offices offers extreme conditioning training classes as well as resources like tires for flipping and weighted sleds. There is also a larger indoor track in the hangar for those who would prefer a bit more space to run in.

“We have exercise professionals at both gyms,” said a former professional rock climber. “By exercise professionals, I mean highly qualified, highly certified individuals.”

If someone were unsure as to what an achievable fitness goal looks like, the exercise physiologists at the gym can provide that perspective, Limon said.
These professionals are at the fitness centers to help, Limon said. Due to the sheer number of active duty troops on JBER, they don't have the resources to provide personal training sessions in the classic sense – that task falls under specific contractors who work for the gyms – but they do offer consultations and interviews where they address concerns, goals, workouts, and provide advice.

The contracted physical trainers, exercise physiologists and the strength coaches are all there to help, each with their own specific mission.

“We can give the customer a lot of very good knowledge,” Limon said. “We provide a way forward with these consultations. Whatever you want to know, we will answer to the best of our abilities – and our abilities are strong.”

Such consultations can add up, especially in the new year, so they are scheduled ahead of time, Limon said.

“We equip our service desk staff with as much knowledge as possible,” Limon said. “Form and exercise technique questions can be handled by them, if the question is outside of their expertise, they will refer you to one of our exercise professionals.”

A healthier life doesn't have to be limited to the confines of a gym though; JBER's unique location allows for a wide variety of unique opportunities. Want to climb a mountain after work? Here, that's possible.

There are also competitive events year-round where JBER service members and families can compete to be the best, or just want to get out and about.
“We have 16 intramural sports programs each year, several 5-kilometer races and longer, and we have an indoor triathlon and an outdoor triathlon,” Limon said. “We also have a push/pull weightlifting competition coming [Saturday].”

“You should stay physically active with regularity, and that will prepare you for the fitness event you are shooting for,” Limon said.

For professional advice and resources on maintaining a healthier life, call the health promotions team at 552-5006 or by speaking to someone at a fitness center service desk.


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