by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs
3/19/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Fitness
centers on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are now offering free,
high-intensity, body-weight workout classes with professional
instructors throughout the week at Buckner and Elmendorf physical
The workouts consist of three blocks containing four 30-second exercises
and 30-second rests between blocks. Each block focuses on a different
aspect of fitness.
"The first section is plyometrics, which involves a lot of jumping,"
said Juan Vargas, fitness instructor for the Force Support Squadron and
Air Force veteran. "The second section is strength, and the third is
coordination and balance, which requires more use of the brain.
"It's not just legs, upper body or cardio, it's a full body workout,"
Vargas said. "It's a great way to get the cardio improvement that is so
important in military [physical training] tests."
For those who need low-impact exercises, there are modified versions of
the exercises available. Individuals new to the exercises or not
comfortable performing the default versions may find these modifications
helpful while they increase their proficiency.
"I have men and women ranging [in age] from 20 to 80 in my classes,"
said Gloria Schiers, primary high-intensity instructor for the FSS.
"It doesn't matter what level you are at, you walk out of my class sweating."
Some may be nervous or intimidated by going to a high-intensity fitness
class in a military setting, but the classes are designed to benefit
everyone, regardless of fitness level, Schiers said.
"There's nobody in your face, yelling at you and degrading you," Vargas
said. "The fact that you're there means you are already doing better
than 50 percent of the population.
"I love to see people push themselves to their own limits," Schiers said.
"By going hard for two minutes and only resting for 30 seconds, it keeps
your cardiovascular system running at a higher level and burning more
calories for longer," Vargas said.
These classes use exclusively body-weight exercises, which means there
is no need to purchase or bring any type of special equipment in order
to get the full benefits of the workout.
Because the exercises do not require any additional materials,
participants can continue to do these exercises at home if they choose
to. "This is something you can do at home or in a hotel room while [on
temporary duty]," Vargas said.
While the exercises can be performed at home, some may find the group
environment to be more productive for dedicated fitness improvement.
"Working out in a group creates a better atmosphere," Schiers said. "You
get an emotional high from the other people around you."
"Whether you are looking for support, or you are more competitive type
who wants to beat the instructor it doesn't matter," Vargas said.
"People come to the class because the group setting helps motivate them.
You don't get that kind of encouragement working out alone," Schiers
Vargas said they created the class in January because they knew many
service members were doing programs like this at home on their own
anyway. By providing these classes in a group setting, there are two
It's free, so it saves service members money; and it's safer environment
for people to push their limits because they have others there to
support them if something happens.
Classes like this normally come with a fee or contract, but at JBER, they are free to service members and their families.
Schiers teaches classes at both Buckner and Elmendorf fitness centers
throughout the week. Individuals who are pregnant or injured should
consult their doctors before attempting these classes.
For information on how to get plugged in with these classes or other
free fitness opportunities, visit FSS's website at
elmendorf-richardson.com/fitness/, or call the fitness center of your
choice. Calendars are also available at the front desk of each fitness