Robins Fitness Center earns award for putting health first

Robins Fitness Center has been recognized as a 5-Star program. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Robins Fitness Center has been recognized as a 5-Star program. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- Keeping Robins' people healthy is keeping the Fitness Center staff on the go.

With about 453,000 active-duty military, military retirees, reservists, Department of Defense civilians and their family members getting fit at the Fitness Center and Fitness Annex combined so far this fiscal year, the center's 19-person staff is staying pretty busy to keep up with the demand.

John Enterman, Fitness Center director, said the center's main facility, which was built in April 2001, and the Fitness Center Annex, its newest addition built in Bay H of Building 301 East Wing in August 2006, gives customers what they need to meet fitness goals.

"We offer a full range of fitness equipment," he said. "We offer cardio equipment, some strength equipment, stretching equipment and free weights. We also have a full range of fitness classes."

The fitness facility is currently offering 41 classes, including aerobics, water aerobics, spin and circuit training classes each week.

In addition, the center offered 51 special events as part of its fitness program.

The fitness center director said recent budget cuts have made the job of holding high fitness standards a challenge.

The staff has kept its tools for mission success in good repair through ongoing maintenance and upkeep of equipment," Mr. Enterman said.

Mr. Enterman said his staff knows that its mission is important.

"It's important mainly for the readiness of our military," he said. "That's our number one goal; to keep our military fit to fight and to have proper facilities and programs so that they're ready whenever they're called to deploy. We also have a big focus on our civilians as well."

The fitness center director said with the creation of the Civilian Fitness Program and the increase in health assessments conducted by the Health and Wellness Center and the Civilian Health Promotion Service, the center discovered a 50 percent obesity rate among the civilian work force here and learned that about 50 percent of Robins civilians were in advanced hypertension.

Mr. Enterman said the alarming statistics pushed the center to create the Fitness Annex, making room for those trying to reduce their numbers.

And the exercise hot spot is continuing to give people incentives to lose weight, with its Presidential Fitness Challenge programs, which kicked off March 16.

For those who are athletically inclined, Kenneth Porter, Sports Program director at Robins, has nine sports for competitors to choose from.

Mr. Porter, who has been over the program since 1993, said despite a high number of deployments, the center's programs have drawn more than 1,000 participants this fiscal year alone.

"I think it's one of the better seasons that we've had from start to finish," he said. "Our team numbers are down a little bit because of deployments. But, I think we have more involvement with our civilians and family members now."

The sports program director said he hopes to add tennis to the intramural sports program's bill in the near future.

All of the Fitness Center's hard work has paid off. The center was recently named as one of 30 Air Force bases distinguished as Five Star for 2006 by Air Force Services Agency officials in San Antonio, Texas, recognizing their high quality of service and trust.

The Five Star programs provide annual recognition, acknowledging bases that have reached the highest standard of achievement in all areas of program management. The comprehensive program recognizes excellence in five areas of operations, programs, training, facilities and customer service.

The Fitness Center is no stranger to the award.

"It's a wonderful award to be presented for the last five years," Mr. Porter said. "It's the dedication of the staff that makes it all possible."

Mr. Enterman agreed.

"We're quite proud of that," he said. "We're one of only two facilities in the Air Force that have gotten the Five-Star award the past five years in a row."