News: Semper Fit gets physical with I MEF before the holidays
Story by Lance Cpl. Joshua Young
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Marines and civilians with I Marine Expeditionary Force are preparing their bodies for the holiday season with the Semper Fit program at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Marines and civilians ranging from ages 17-66 are participating in a functional fitness-training program led by Semper Fit at the 21 Area Fitness Center to keep fit, and to keep exercise fun.
“To me, it’s addicting,” said Richard Stokes, a liaison officer for Marine Corps Systems Command at I MEF G-6. “If I miss this class one day out of the week I feel like I’m missing something.”
The program provides a way to break away from work and get in better shape through functional fitness training.
“It uses multiple exercises to train your body to do all kinds of things,” said Stokes, 39, from of Moreno Valley, Calif. “Even if you do this twice a week, it is different every time.”
Marines test their physical capabilities year-round through the combat fitness test and the physical fitness test. This program gives Marines an opportunity to improve their scores and have fun while doing it.
“It allows you to be able to do your job, especially in the Marine Corps,” said James Coleman, a Semper Fit personal trainer with Marine Corps Community Services. “The Marines have to be in great shape to be able to do what they have to do. It prepares them in every way possible.”
The exercises mostly use body weight and are kept fairly simple but are always changing and the equipment used is minimal. Different styles of pushups, abdominal workouts, lunges and jumping are regularly added for variety and to target major muscle groups.
“The main thing I want them to take from here is that they don’t need equipment; they don’t always need a trainer,” said Coleman, 29, from New Orleans. “You can do this at home or you can do this in a field. That’s my goal--to get them to understand that no matter where you are, you can get out there and you can burn off those calories.”
The Marines and civilians who attend sessions exercise at their own pace but are encouraged to push hard and keep coming back.
“When I retired from the Marine Corps about a year and a half ago I wasn’t able to run, but now I can actually run,” Stokes said. “I started doing it to strengthen my leg muscles. It’s about your individual capabilities and what you can do. Every exercise is what you put into it.”
The program is open to anyone who has a current military identification card.
“Since I’ve started, I’ve noticed a change,” said Lt. Col. Terry Stein, an inspector instructor for 3rd Civil Affairs Group with Marine Forces Reserve. “It gets your mind off work and you get a chance to actually get your body in shape.”