Camp Smith goes big with new gym equipment[MIGRATE]

By Lance Cpl. Ronald W. Stauffer | July 21, 2008

Photos
Sgt. Josh Hamra, G-4 maritime prepositioning force chief, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, blasts his trapezius muscles while shrugging the new 150-pound dumbbells at the Semper Fit Center here.

Sgt. Josh Hamra, G-4 maritime prepositioning force chief, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, blasts his trapezius muscles while shrugging the new 150-pound dumbbells at the Semper Fit Center here. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Ronald W. Stauffer)

Staff Sgt. Brett Garmon, G-4 air staff noncommissioned officer, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, utilizes the bench press and weights, while safely being spotted by Master Sgt. Bill Atwater, G-4 maintenance management chief, MARFORPAC at the  Semper Fit Center here.

Staff Sgt. Brett Garmon, G-4 air staff noncommissioned officer, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, utilizes the bench press and weights, while safely being spotted by Master Sgt. Bill Atwater, G-4 maintenance management chief, MARFORPAC at the Semper Fit Center here. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Ronald W. Stauffer)

The Camp Smith Semper Fit Center recently introduced a variety of new equipment to the growing population of service members here.

     The center added new pieces of cardio equipment and replaced numerous weight lifting machines with newer updated versions and more, to ensure the needs of members are met.

Kelly Fornes, Camp Smith Semper Fit sports and fitness manager, has made it a personal goal for the past two years to see members get what they deserve.

“The new equipment is a better-answered need to our patrons,” Fornes said. “Demand has grown for new weights because programs have improved, so we brought in more weights.”

Fornes said one of the first things he noticed when he took the position was the wide variety of different types of equipment.

“The old weights were various sizes and various manufacturers, and might weigh the same, but they balance different on bars so it made it hard for people to get their workouts efficiently accomplished,” Fornes said. “One of my goals was to get it all uniform so we didn’t have that problem.”

Once the issues were isolated it took little time before Fornes and his staff began fixing the problem. 

Curtis Stranghoener, the center’s assistant manager, said he’s worked at the center for more than three years now. When he first started they weren’t able to get anything, but in the last year they’ve been fortunate to get the new equipment.

“The old equipment was big and bulky and a lot of people didn’t use it,” Stranghoener said. “The new equipment is more ‘user friendly’ and has opened space and allowed us to bring in more equipment.”

Taking action, Fornes stepped to the first challenge of replacing the plated weights.

“Now we’ve got all the same manufacturer, so you won’t have to worry about running all over the gym looking for two universal plates instead of an Olympic plate and a universal on the other side,” Fornes said.

Along with the standardization of the plated weights, the center has added an extra rack for new dumbbells ranging from 110 to 150 pounds and steadily bringing in new weight machines.

Sgt. Josh Hamra, maritime prepositioning force chief for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, said he’s lifted for the last six years and was happy to see the new dumbbells come in.

“I think they’re awesome,” Hamra said. “Before they got here you were maxed out at 100 pounds and there’s some guys in here that can lift a lot more.”

Hamra also said he’s more satisfied with the new machines as well.

“It’s cool. We don’t get new stuff that often, but when we do it gives us an opportunity to change it up,” said Hamra. “New equipment doesn’t happen that often and I dig it.”

Hamra said he remembered the old equipment and how some of it wasn’t used because it was broke or didn’t work right.

 “We took out some of the old equipment that was collecting dust basically. As a result, we increased the size of our abdominal area and our core workout area,” Fornes said.

One of the machines Fornes said he thought was essential to change was the seated bent-knee calf machine, which was inefficient with up-to-date lifting and replaced it with a new straight legged calf machine.

In addition, the center has obtained a new leg press machine, new power benches, an over head bench press and incline and decline press benches.

For the members who endure cardiovascular exercise, Fornes brought in three new pieces of cardio equipment, an extra treadmill, the tread climber and an additional cross-trainer and said he still has seven new exercise bikes waiting to be swapped out.

Smaller equipment such as exercise balls and a kettle bell setup are now in place and utilized frequently.

Even though the old equipment isn’t present, it’s still being put to use.

“They’re being recycled,” Fornes said. “Most of the old equipment was sent back to (U.S. Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay) to logistics and they try and find units who want to hand it out within the Marine Corps.”

Fornes said some of the equipment will be sent out over seas with deployed units.

Because of the new equipment, Fornes said he’s seen a large increase in the gym.

“Our usage numbers of people coming into the fitness center have increased, which means people are aware that we’ve got new and better equipment so they’re coming in and using the facilities,” Fornes said.

Fornes attributed the new equipment to bringing in new signups at an astonishing rate, which has led to an increase in people requesting personal trainers.

“We’ve got two people on staff who are excellent personal trainers and interestingly enough, we’ve had an increase in men who are asking for advice and guidance in their workout program,” Fornes said. 

Stranghoener said he credits the regulars that come in for spreading the word and helping draw in more people.

Fornes said Camp Smith is a small base, but the population is growing by the day and he’s working hard to ensure members have the opportunity to participate in the gym and the upcoming sporting events on base.

The center is open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

For information on upcoming sporting events, contact the Camp Smith Semper Fit Center at 477-5197 or stop by the gym’s front desk.