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Fitness center incorporates Body Pump to get base in shape

Master Sgt. Keith Vernon, 9th Force Support Squadron, bench presses his barbell Aug. 17 at the fitness center. Sergeant Vernon, along with other active-duty Airmen are training to be the only certified Body Pump instructors in the Air Force. (Photo by Sandy Healy)

Master Sgt. Keith Vernon, 9th Force Support Squadron, bench presses his barbell Aug. 17 at the fitness center. Sergeant Vernon, along with other active-duty Airmen, are training to be the only certified Body Pump instructors in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sandy Healy)

Airman 1st Class Christopher McDowell works out his triceps Aug. 17 at the Harris Fitness Center. Airman McDowell was taking the instructor training class for the Body Pump fitness program. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Sandy Healy)

Airman 1st Class Christopher McDowell works his triceps Aug. 17 at the Harris Fitness Center. Airman McDowell was taking the instructor training class for the Body Pump fitness program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sandy Healy)

Beale Airmen do a chest exercise Aug. 17 at the Harris Fitness Center. These Airman are perfecting their forms and choreography for the new Body Pump fitness program they will be instructing at Beale. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Sandy Healy)

Beale Airmen do a chest exercise Aug. 17 at the Harris Fitness Center. These Airmen are perfecting their form and choreography for the new Body Pump fitness program they instruct at Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Sandy Healy)

1st Lt. Melissa Croy does lunges using a Body Pump barbell Aug. 17, 2009 at the Harris Fitness Center. Instructing Body Pump classes is one of Lieutenant Croy's many extra curricular activities which garnered her the 2010 FSS CGO of the year award for ACC. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Sandy Healy)

Second Lieutenant Melissa Croy does lunges using a Body Pump barbell Aug. 17 at the Harris Fitness Center. Lieutenant Croy is training to be a Body Pump instructor along with other Beale Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Sandy Healy)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- "When your body starts to scream, tell it to shut up." That's the motto of the new Body Pump fitness program which will be offered at the Harris Fitness Center beginning Aug. 24. Several members of the 9th Force Support Squadron have been training to become certified instructors of the program. 

"We wanted to find the most relevant group exercise on the market," said Capt. Tyson Edwards, 9th FSS Sustainment Services Flight commander and the one responsible for bringing the program to the base. "We wanted to appeal to active-duty members, anyone can participate, but we're focusing on helping people pass the physical fitness test."

According to 9th FSS personnel, the program is very popular in the surrounding areas and also known worldwide. It is taught in more than 12,000 facilities in more than 70 countries and currently is the fastest growing group fitness program in the country. Beale is the first and only Air Force installation to offer the Body Pump. 

The barbell-based routine features a standard program of 10 tracks, or songs, set to the tone of contemporary, Top-40 music. Each track lasts three-to-five minutes and focuses on specific muscle groups for a total body workout. Each track works a particular muscle group such as legs or chest. 

"It's a battle," said Master Sgt. Keith Vernon, 9th FSS lodging section chief and Body Pump instructor. "Like any battle, we wage a campaign and each campaign gets harder as we go. As an instructor, my job is to lead people through the battle. Instructors do the workout with the class and challenge themselves along with participants. We go through it as a team." 

Volunteer instructors train three times a week, sometimes twice a day, to master the technique and routine of Body Pump. The instructors, who are all active-duty personnel, are not the typical world-class athletes some may find in a commercial gym. They have pushed themselves through the training and have seen benefits in which they say anyone can have if they come to the class. 

"It's for everyone," Captain Edwards said. "You can be a world-class athlete or just starting out. You control the weight on the bar." 

In order to ensure everyone is getting maximum results of the program, Sergeant Vernon said instructors focus on technique and will work with class members whenever they need help. 

"If you're a beginner, it's an awesome class to get started," he said. "It's your individual challenge; we're just there with you along for the ride. One of the great things about the class is it's the same exercises you'd do in the weight room." 

In order to avoid a plateau effect with Body Pump, a new routine is released every three months by the parent company, Les Mills, to mix things up and keep the workouts fresh. With each new release, new music and choreography is taught and gives instructors and class members something to look forward to instead of the same routine. 

Captain Edwards said 9th FSS personnel have worked hard in preparation for the kickoff Aug. 24. He feels the program will not only be beneficial to participants, but help them during deployment as well. 

"This is building functional strength you would use in the Air Force," the captain said. "The repetitive work used during deployments is found here and this will build up endurance for that. It's fantastic for weight loss because you burn up to 600 calories per session; and it's good for building lean muscle and endurance." 

A large kickoff class will be held at 7 a.m. Aug. 24 in the gym and several classes will be held throughout the week. All classes following the kickoff week will be held in the Omni. Anyone interested in taking the Body Pump classes should sign up in person, or by calling the fitness center at 634-2258.