New fitness program director encourages education, cardio focus
by Nick Stubbs
Melissa Brockman is settling into her new job as fitness program manager for the MacDill Health and Wellness Center - getting acclimated, as she calls it.
It's a process that shouldn't take too long, however, as she's been around the Fitness Center the last four years working as a personal trainer as an Air Force Reservist. She knows she is left with a "really good system and nuts and bolts of it put in place by exiting director John Martin.
"Little tweaks," for the program is about all she sees in the near future, she said.
But while she looks at the future, she doesn't have to ponder about one priority: education, with the goal being a better understanding, particularly of cardio pulmonary development.
"People need to know as much as possible about training and fitness and we already have great classes in place, if we can just get everyone to use them," she said.
"Fitness 101" is the most important, she noted. Everyone on base should take it. It's a one-session class and the next is Thursday at noon.
There is an array of other courses and she reminds everyone that even the required courses for those on profile or failed fitness tests are good sources of information and open to anyone, anytime.
Ms. Brockman, who has a bachelorís degree in health and wellness promotion and a masters in sports administration and management, said MacDill Airmen are very fit these days thanks to Air Force initiatives such as fit to fight.
"It's never been better," she said. "But there is always room for improvement."
One area ripe for better understanding is proper cardio exercise routines. She notes that a common mistake is failing to realize that no exercise qualifies as aerobic unless it continues for at least 20 minutes and "the target heart rate" is reached. And most don't realize that exceeding the target heart rate is not good, either. Be it a treadmill, jogging or work on an elliptical trainer, develop a plan, know your targets and stick to them.
"That's what the classes are for," she said. "You learn what is needed and what you have to do to get there."
HAWC and Fitness Center personnel also are available to help anyone put together a good program tailored to their needs. Too many people get stuck in a rut thinking they know what is best for them when actually they are heading down the wrong path, she said.
"I want to say it is usually a lack of ideas (about training and diet) that is a problem for some," said Ms. Brockman. "Ideas are what we (the HAWC) have."
All HAWC fitness programs are based on the FITT principal of frequency, intensity, time and type, she said. It's served well throughout the Air Force and is the guiding light behind what she believes may be the most fit Air Force ever.
"We've come so far," she said. "All that's really needed now is fine tuning and taking it to the next level."