By Julie M. Lucas
Public Affairs Specialist
Naval Air Station Jacksonville Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)'s Fitness Department is sponsoring a new program to encourage patrons to try different fitness classes. The Bingo Fitness Challenge started Aug. 14 and runs through Oct. 10.
"I feel like our program is one of the best out there of any Navy Base," said MWR Fitness Director Jill Sheppard. "We offer 55 fitness classes per week, not including the command physical training we offer to all commands to keep our Sailors in top notch shape."
The classes vary with times starting at 6 a.m. and the last class of the day starting at 5:30 p.m. during weekdays. Most classes begin with a warm-up to get heart rates up and muscles ready.
H.I.T. or high intensity training is offered Mondays through Thursdays at various times. These classes feature a work-out of the day and are scaled for any fitness level. A similar class is called TRX and works with suspension cables using your bodyweight. This training increases flexibility, balance, mobility and prevents injuries.
One of the newer classes is Boot Camp, led by Robert Patton. Boot Camp is designed for maximum calorie burn in the shortest amount of time. Many of the exercises performed in this class can be found off-base for expensive memberships.
"I was going off base until I found out Robert was teaching the same thing," said AO2 Rachael Slate of Patrol Squadron 5. "I'm getting better at doing the exercises in a very short amount of time."
Muscle Max, which is described as a head-to-toe sculpting class, using a variety of equipment, circuits and Tabata. This class incorporates step, weights, lunges, squats and dips and is offered Monday through Friday at multiple times.
Retirees also enjoy the variety of classes being offered for numerous reasons.
"I do Muscle Max to help me lose weight, but I do Zumba for fun," said Gloria Calderon a military retiree. "Zumba is more fun than the treadmill."
Yoga is offered in a few variations from basics to power. The basic class turns the lights low so participants can focus on postures and correct alignment. Yoga classes are held in the morning, noon and evening several different days.
For those who want to show off their dance skills, Zumba might be up their alley. The classes are offered several times daily and incorporates latin music moves like salsa, cha-cha, mambo and merengue for an enjoyable experience.
One fitness instructor says this class isn't necessarily for those who are dance professionals.
"Many people are afraid to try Zumba because they think they can't dance, are uncoordinated or have no rhythm but I tell them it is not about dancing, coordination or rhythm it's more about achieving cardio fitness," said Terry Crawford, who is one of nine volunteer instructors.
Crawford has been teaching fitness classes for more than 15 years and can be seen in the evening at the Fitness Center often teaching back-to-back classes. "If my class is not sweating, cheering or having a good time, then I'm not doing my job," he said.
Cardio Jam is another dance type class, with hip hop, island fusion moves to keep the pounds off. During most of the classes offered, instructors choreograph the routines.
HydroMax is a low-impact workout in the pool at the gym, but swimming is not required. This is a great aerobic and cardiovascular exercise with no joint impact. The class is held Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon.
For the early birds, the first class in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays is spin at 6 a.m. This is one of the lower-impact classes and is also offered at 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday. Some of the instructors prefer to turn the lights down during class for a unique experience.
Other new classes include Piyo, which is a combination of yoga and Pilates. A fun way to increase mobility is Beginning African Dance, offered on Fridays at noon. Mixed Fit is taught by Shavon Stokes, who brings the nightclub to the base, while using boot camp inspired moves. Stokes is active-duty military and volunteers as an instructor with two other active duty military members.
"We just started a Strength Foundations series that will run every Friday at 11 a.m. until November," said Sheppard. "This clinic is open to all base eligible patrons and will break down the movements of different lifting modalities like the basic dead lift, front squat, back squat, bench press, power press and more. These clinics are designed to increase mobility for people, which will increase strength gains and reduce injury. It's amazing what a little tweak sometimes can do to your lifting program or if you have never lifted before, but want to learn to do it correctly now is your chance."
Youths ages 10-14 can participate in group fitness classes while accompanied by adults at all times.
Personal training is also available at the fitness center and base gym. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Command and FEP classes are offered by request by certified Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System trainers. To make reservations one week in advance, email email@example.com.
To sign up for the Bingo Fitness Challenge, stop by the desk in either the fitness center or gym. You will get a Bingo card and instructors sign off following classes. Drawings for prizes are held Wednesdays at 8 a.m. with one winner per week.
Classes are not held during MWR special events and federal holidays and holiday weekends. Class schedules and hours of operation can be found inside the gym and fitness center or online at www.navymwrjacksonville.com under Fitness and Recreation on both the gym and fitness pages. For questions, call 542-3518.