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Military Fitness – Geek Turned Athlete

Military Fitness

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This week was filled with ups and downs in the cycling area of my life. I couldn’t help but be sad when my cycling guru taught her last class at the gym on Wednesday. She was quitting after 20+ years of teaching because of the programs coordination at the gym. Many other instructors are following her lead out.

Right now, all of the cycling instructors do NOT get paid for the hard work that it takes to plan, prepare, and teach a class not to mention, keeping up with our certifications. Although annoying at times, the volunteers buy their own teaching material, batteries, and class clothing attire. All of this does not bother me. I volunteer through the Red Cross teaching indoor cycling because I LOVE cycling and teaching. I love motivating my students to push past their comfort zones and achieve a new level of fitness.

The government does not want to put more money towards programs, and instead, wants to start charging for classes— $9/class to be exact. For those of you who might think this is nothing to pay for a class and your fitness, you are in the minority of those who can afford it. If you were to take a group fitness class 3 times a week for an entire month, that would run you $108/ month. This is absolutely ridiculous to me. If the government expects the active duty to pass PT tests, risk their lives in dangerous (unnecessary or necessary depending on your views) situations, have their family travel with them to foreign countries or even within the U.S. every 2-4 years away from their extended families, and spouses quitting their jobs along the way, they should and need to pay for gym expenses.

I know so many spouses who are stressed out from watching their kids for 6 months to a year straight because their other half has been deployed for that long. These spouses NEED a family room at the gym which we have been promised for years with no actual follow through. One of my good friends had to really push for a good year for a free prenatal fitness class at the gym. Don’t they realize that an unhappy stressed spouse can put undue stress on a deployed active duty member and ultimately contribute to his death while being deployed? Why does it have to be that difficult to get this through the lawmaker’s heads? There is so much red tape in the military, that it just drives me crazy!

I realize that the government is having to do a lot of budget costs. This includes having planes fly a little slower to save on fuel costs. I know things are tight right now, so lets just think about this logically and objectively: The government is already paying for the medical costs of service members and their family. You would think that they would look at this situation, and try to save money. Yes, that is right. I said SAVE money. Don’t they realize that if they invested more into military family fitness, they would end up saving on medical (and psychiatric) costs equating to a larger amount of savings in the long run.

No one ever thinks about the long term, only the short term. Why can’t America catch on that one’s fitness level does affect and is part of one’s health? This concept is so simple to understand, but easily gets garbled when you have politicians passing laws with no formal education in the subject matter of those laws. Ack!!!

The last class was great, but incredible depressing at the same time. My eyes started swelling up with tears during the cooldown, but I quickly got myself under control.

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Thank you, guru, for encouraging me to become an instructor and realize my athletic potential.

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The only teaching that I will be doing will be for my squadron physical training (PT) sessions from now on. I used to teach on Thursday nights, but a combination of this drama and some other management issues at the gym have caused me to drop that time slot. I was upset at first, but I try to look at everything that comes at me as an opportunity whether it is blatantly obvious or not. This will open up some more training time and some more cuddle time with the hubby when he gets back from his deployment.

On a somewhat different subject, my bike is now clean for this Saturday’s Tour de Flanders 75 km ride. This was the mummified slug that had been on my bike since last cycling season. I know, gross! Usually my husband cleans my bike for me (yes, I know I’m spoiled), but since obviously he is gone, I had to do it.

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Beautiful!

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What are your views on military or civilian fitness?

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Jessica @ How Sweet April 1, 2010, 8:06 pm

    I think charging for cycling these days are absurd. I remember years ago when it came out, and was $5 a class or so, and I can understand then because it was rare and the bikes needed maintenance often. But even now, the gym I taught at STILL charges. It’s ridiculous. My gym offers it for $15 a month unlimited, but on top of a $50-60 membership fee, that is ALOT of money for a not-so-great gym.

    I can’t imagine how much harder these issues are on a base – most have enough stress dealing with their spouse being gone. They don’t needed added drama!

    Reply
  • rebecca @ durch dick und duenn April 1, 2010, 8:28 pm

    ugh.. my dad is currently deployed in Afghanistan.. and I am very Pro-Soldier, ANTI-Military!

    Not only do they want to charge for $9 for classes but those bikes, are like ancient!

    but I agree with you, these are all preventative costs in my opinion…

    hang in there! and good luck on your ride!

    Reply
  • Erica April 1, 2010, 8:30 pm

    Hey girly! That is a ridiculously expensive rate for classes! I understand their need to charge, but not THAT much. They should just charge an unlimited flat fee…ridiculousness. Bikes looking good- best of luck :)

    Reply
  • Olivia Kuntz April 1, 2010, 8:53 pm

    COME to the Army Fitness Centers! We only charge $4 per class and 10 classes (to be used anytime in 90 days) for $30…AND I accept volunteers READILY over paid contractors… I love my volunteers…and we don’t charge for their services-those classes are free!

    Reply
    • Nicole April 1, 2010, 9:53 pm

      Haha. Thanks Olivia! I have 3 months left here in Germany, so I’m not to eager to go start up a class, then cancel it soon after. That sounds a lot better though!

      Reply
  • Heather (Where's the Beach) April 1, 2010, 9:49 pm

    Good luck on your ride by the way. I have to say your post was enlightening.

    Reply
  • Jason April 1, 2010, 11:58 pm

    Those prices for classes are really high. I belong to a really big, nice gym. Probably the biggest one in Seattle (work pays for it) and they charge $5 for drop-in spin classes or $30 for a 10 class punch card. Going from free to $9 is just stupid. Those in charge will realize it when it’s too late and they don’t have any instructors or students. Shame too. Spin classes can be an awesome workout.

    It’s not nearly as fun as a good bike ride over some Pavé (cobblestones) in Belgium though. (so jealous!) Good luck, have fun.

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  • marit c-l April 2, 2010, 12:38 am

    Wow. Um…where to begin?

    I think a lot of it varies by base – all the USMC bases that I’ve been to, the classes are either free or there’s a nominal rate (like $1 or $2 per class or something). And classes are always free for active duty. Don’t know about prenatal classes – those might be run out of the Naval Hospital, and if so, I have no idea about the charges/cost associated with it. I spent two years working as a group fitness and personal trainer on one base – while the pay wasn’t great, I truly enjoyed what I did. The director was fantastic, and made SURE to pay us for planning, prep, and even when clients failed to show – we were paid for half of the training hour. Also – for group fitness classes, we were always paid for 90 or 120 minutes depending on the length of the class (45 to 60 min) But I think Vicky was the exception…

    That being said – I only worked on Cherry Point and since then, haven’t spent much time dealing with military fitness (Sempre Fit, in the Marine Corps). I wonder if things are different overseas…? They shouldn’t be, though – because technically it falls under the same jurisdiction as all stateside bases – just a different command.

    I think its a shame that the cost per class is $9. And I agree 100% that the families should be given the same benefits as the active duty service member…we do (after all) sacrifice a lot to make sure THEY can do the job/s they need to do. I believe that a healthy lifestyle is a huge part of balancing military life. From what you’ve mentioned, it sounds like the director at the base doesn’t really know how to run things…. It should NO WAY cost that much to run a class…if anything, that sounds like inept leadership. Is there someone else you could go to, to file a complaint. Because I guarantee that many dependents won’t be able to afford the $9 per class charge – which is totally ridiculous. Maybe – at the very least – the fitness director could charge per class based on the rank/payscale of the active duty servicemember? E-4 and below is free….O1-O3 and E5 and above is $3 and O4 and above is $4… I’m just throwing out numbers…. I don’t like that system much either, but at least its something.

    Ugh – so sorry you have to deal with that. At least you’ve only got three months left in Germany – right?

    Reply
  • Amy April 2, 2010, 12:56 am

    Oh the military! I’ve got to say I never thought I’d be a military wife. Love does funny things to a girl. :) When we were in England and now here in Japan the classes have all been free. The circuit class I took in England was lead by an active duty member. However, I just heard last week from friends who are still there that they are dropping the classes. The gym will still be free, but classes won’t be offered. Here in Japan most classes seem to be taught by spouses who are certified trainers. I know they get paid, but I don’t how much. I don’t see how any facility can expect to have all of their classes run by volunteers. Especially when it sems like the volunteers aren’t being appreciated (besides of course by their class members).
    I agree that all the bases (at least overseas) should offer day care in the gym. It’s hard living overseas and not knowing anyone or being able to hire a regular sitter. I can’t imagine the stress parents are under when their spouse is deployed. Being able to exercise would be such a great relief for them.
    I love when commander’s tell us how important we are, but then do absolutely nothing to back up their statements. Actions speak louder than words!
    Good luck in your ride!

    Reply
  • Julie @SavvyEats April 2, 2010, 1:40 am

    Wow, bummer that the military won’t cover the costs of basic things like a gym day-care and class fees! I definitely see your side of the argument, and agree!

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  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 2, 2010, 2:33 pm

    I don’t think the government understands in any situation that putting money into fitness, wellness, & nutrition type programs will save a TON of money in healthcare- medication, doctors visits, tests, etc. I can’t believe that stuff isn’t covered in the military- I would’ve thought they’d do a little better in that regard :/

    Reply
  • Holly April 2, 2010, 10:53 pm

    oh girl…i am sorry about that whole sitch. quite frankly, i get mad when gyms/fitness centers charge for classes at all. that should just be included in the monthly rate you pay. too bad that other people are going to have to take that hit by not having fabulous instructors like you all!

    Reply
  • Leana April 5, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Wow, what an eye opening post. You are so right! Charging $9 for a class is a lot, I fully agree with you!

    Reply
  • Leah @ Simply Fabulous April 6, 2010, 8:07 pm

    That is unbelievably unfair and i’m sorry you and a lot of your fitness friends have to go through that – it must be so hard to be a part of the military “family” while the spouses are away.

    Reply
  • ginger June 20, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Wow – you’ve verbalized concerns from so many military families with your post here. Wish somehow we all could unite to bring change. I wrote the FamFit proposal (supporting free fitness programs for military families) at militaryfamilyfitness.blogspot.com in an effort to make change happen – the proposal caught the attention of the secretary of defense and I even got a letter from President Obama thanking me for my contribution, but progress is pretty nonexistent. I’m blogging now at http://landstuhlcrossfit.com. Landstuhl CrossFit is nonprofit, but we’re still trying to get garrison/hospital command approval to move our facility to a building where we’d be allowed to teach to military families – so far it’s active duty only.

    If you could help spread the word about needing change, it would be wonderful. We have a facebook page that never really caught on – but that I probably should update more often, and folks could always fill out ICE comments to our command expressing the value of free fitness programs to military families. Every little bit counts, right? http://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&service_provider_id=95044&site_id=248service_category_id=15

    Thanks so much in advance!
    Ginger

    Reply
    • Nicole June 26, 2010, 10:44 am

      Wow, thanks for all the work that you are doing!! I will help spread the word!!

      Reply

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