Soldiers, who are required to meet the Army’s fitness standards, often look for new ways to change up their daily physical training routine. One year ago this week, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) leaders introduced a roughly 22,000-square-foot fitness facility that offered state-of-the-art equipment and a combatives area and promoted functional ways to build strength and endurance.
Since the Atkins Functional Fitness Facility opened its doors Nov. 16, the center averages about 1,500 patrons every week. Opening the AFFF was just the beginning of several projects to improve and enhance Soldiers’ fitness and strength – both mentally and physically.
Randy Gillette, AFFF manager, said he is proud of the center and the growth of its patronage. Gillette said he and his team strive to ensure the facility is clean and organized, staff members are knowledgeable and the atmosphere is welcoming.
“Whether it’s a group of Soldiers coming in here for PT or a spouses group, they’re all teaming up to help each other,” Gillette said.
In addition, the facility also is used for classes like the women’s self-defense course, Mountain Athlete Warrior course and combatives training.
To celebrate its first year, AFFF staff members and the Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program will host a Strongman / Strongwoman competition Nov. 21. Signup begins at 9 a.m., and the competition will start at 10 a.m. The event is open to all DOD ID card holders 18 and older.
There have been several fitness challenges in the past year, but this one will prove to be toughest event to date, according to Gillette.
“We’ve had beginner and intermediate (challenges), but this one will be advanced endurance competition,” he said. “The Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians train here all year long to prepare themselves to do more and more to test their abilities.”
Facility patrons have been looking forward to the upcoming outdoor challenge to see if they have what it takes to compete at an advanced level of difficulty, Gillette added.
“They want to see if they can actually do the advanced movements,” he said.
Participants will be required to complete 10 different exercises. Besides adding more difficult challenges, organizers also have increased the weight requirements for different events.
After the Strongman / Strongwoman trophies are awarded, a separate “Herculean” challenge will take place.
The event, which is called the “Pillars of Hercules,” will require strength, stamina and mental fortitude, Gillette said. Male and female winners also will be named for this event.
For more information, call the AFFF at 772-3377.