by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs
1/7/2016 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The
year 2016 has descended on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and along
with it, countless resolutions. One of the more common ones is to lead a
The resolution itself may be simple, but can also be daunting. However,
JBER offers a plethora of resources for families and service members to
face the challenge head-on.
"The first thing we address when someone comes to us wanting to make a
change is goal setting," said John Limon, director of Buckner Physical
Fitness Center. "Many times these goals are either unrealistic, bloated,
seem to be unachievable after a short time, [or] eventually lead to the
So the first step a person should take is to evaluate their resolution and make SMART goals."
SMART is an acronym which means goals should be specific, measurable,
adjustable, realistic, and time-specific. The idea is to outline fitness
goals in a measurable manner, so progress can be easily seen. This can
give realistic perspective on a diet or workout regimen and allow for
adjustments to be made.
Writing down one's goals, daily diet and exercises will equip fitness
center staff with a way to provide accurate advice down the road if the
individual is not getting the results they'd hoped for, Limon said. By
approaching health goals much as a scientist would approach an
experiment, one can turn their resolution into a reality. There are two
main components to a healthy lifestyle - exercise and diet; JBER offers
resources for maintaining both.
The health promotions team, located in the Health and Wellness Center at
the Arctic Oasis can provide valuable advice and resources regarding
nutrition and lifestyle choices.
One of their programs is "Better Body, Better Life," a five-session
class that may prove to be a great way to kick-start a health
resolution. "Each session covers nutrition, a little bit on fitness, and
behavioral modification," said Lisa Schuette, a JBER public health
educator on the health promotions team.
BBBL provides general information and guidelines in a group setting for
those who are looking for education, encouragement, and a sense of
community. Part of going to BBBL is connecting with other assets JBER
has to offer.
"We also have the Behavioral Health Optimization Program," Schuette
said. "A clinical psychologist talks about the behavioral aspects [of
If an individual is unable to make it to all five sessions
consecutively, they can hop into their missed session as part of a
different cycle, Schuette said. "For those who can't make it to the five
BBBL sessions, I also offer a one-session class," Schuette said.
However, BBBL is a single resource amongst the many available. Some may
be looking for education without a formal time commitment, for such
folks, a quick stop at the HAWC may be in order.
Bring a bag though, because without some form of assistance, one may
find there to be too many resources to carry. Not into having piles of
paper pamphlets around? That's fine, the health promotions team can
offer plenty of digital resources as well.
"If you go to choosemyplate.gov, it can tell you the servings for all
the different food groups for losing or maintaining health," Schuette
said. "It is a great, overall healthy eating website. I also like the
Human Performance Resource Center, HPRC-online.org, which is a
[Department of Defense] website on anything to do with performance. How
many grams of protein do I need before or after a workout? You can find
it there. It also has a database of supplements where products are
catalogued based on whether they are effective or ineffective.
"People think: I want to be healthy; I'm going to take supplements. That's not necessarily correct."
Another common health resolution is tobacco cessation, Schuette said.
Some people may not think about that when considering a healthier life,
but there is assistance for that as well.
"It is common for people to not want to come to a class," Schuette said.
"There are a variety of quit lines, there's an Alaska quit line and a
research study which is a proactive quit line. They will send nicotine
supplements to your house." Tobacco cessation classes are offered on
both sides of JBER.
"I talk a little on fitness, but generally I refer them to the fitness specialists at the fitness centers," Schuette said.
There are four fitness locations on JBER.
The Elmendorf Fitness Center has an indoor track, extensive
weightlifting and cardiovascular machines, several class rooms, a spin
room, racquetball and basketball courts, saunas, and massage therapy
rooms available for service members and their families.
The gym's facilities are free to anyone with a common access card, and
services like contracted personal trainers and massage therapists are
available for a fee.
The Arctic Oasis is a child-friendly facility, with cardiovascular and
weightlifting machines around an indoor playground for the kids while
mom and dad work out. The health promotions team is also located there
and available for consult at the Health and Wellness Center. The Arctic
Oasis is located next door to the Elmendorf Fitness Center.
The Buckner Physical Fitness Center has many of the same facilities as
the Elmendorf Fitness Center and is currently receiving substantial
additions to its services including a new swimming pool.
Hangar 5, near the Aurora Housing offices offers extreme conditioning
training classes as well as resources like tires for flipping and
weighted sleds. There is also a larger indoor track in the hangar for
those who would prefer a bit more space to run in.
"We have exercise professionals at both gyms," said a former
professional rock climber. "By exercise professionals, I mean highly
qualified, highly certified individuals."
If someone were unsure as to what an achievable fitness goal looks like,
the exercise physiologists at the gym can provide that perspective,
These professionals are at the fitness centers to help, Limon said. Due
to the sheer number of active duty troops on JBER, they don't have the
resources to provide personal training sessions in the classic sense -
that task falls under specific contractors who work for the gyms - but
they do offer consultations and interviews where they address concerns,
goals, workouts, and provide advice.
The contracted physical trainers, exercise physiologists and the
strength coaches are all there to help, each with their own specific
"We can give the customer a lot of very good knowledge," Limon said. "We
provide a way forward with these consultations. Whatever you want to
know, we will answer to the best of our abilities - and our abilities
Such consultations can add up, especially in the new year, so they are scheduled ahead of time, Limon said.
"We equip our service desk staff with as much knowledge as possible,"
Limon said. "Form and exercise technique questions can be handled by
them, if the question is outside of their expertise, they will refer you
to one of our exercise professionals."
A healthier life doesn't have to be limited to the confines of a gym
though; JBER's unique location allows for a wide variety of unique
opportunities. Want to climb a mountain after work? Here, that's
There are also competitive events year-round where JBER service members
and families can compete to be the best, or just want to get out and
"We have 16 intramural sports programs each year, several 5-kilometer
races and longer, and we have an indoor triathlon and an outdoor
triathlon," Limon said. "We also have a push/pull weightlifting
competition coming [Saturday]."
"You should stay physically active with regularity, and that will
prepare you for the fitness event you are shooting for," Limon said.
For professional advice and resources on maintaining a healthier life,
call the health promotions team at 552-5006 or by speaking to someone at
a fitness center service desk.