DVIDS – News – Fort Eustis Gym leads the way with Holistic Health and Fitness

DVIDS – News – Fort Eustis Gym leads the way with Holistic Health and Fitness


JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – At Fort Eustis’ McClellan Fitness Center, the future of Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) is already operational thanks to the 733d Force Support Squadron.

Training classes led by Master Fitness Trainer team of sports and fitness instructors Maverick Donnell and Laura Gurganus plus a makeover to the strength and conditioning training area has transformed McClellan into an Army Combat Fitness Test training support facility. This Air Force-led joint base team at Fort Eustis upgraded the McClellan gym and trainers at minimal cost to meet and grow the Army’s H2F program, reaching successes on organizational, installation, and individual levels.

“We did all of it on the dime, the only thing we actually purchased was the flooring, the artificial turf,” said Donna Fontes, 733rd Mission Support Group FSS Director. “Everything else we moved and refigured, and we set up the gym as a functional fitness area.”

Across the Army, installations are scheduled to each build Soldier Performance Readiness Centers (SPRCs), however JBLE-Eustis is not one of the first bases on the list.

“It will be quite a few years before we get a SPRC at Fort Eustis,” Fontes said.

In the interim, Fontes and team looked at existing SPRC requirements, what was already on hand at Fort Eustis, and created a functioning H2F support system.

H2F is a system of five pillars developed to optimize readiness, reduce injury rates, improve rehabilitation after injury, and increase the effectiveness of the total Army. The pillars are sleep readiness, physical readiness, spiritual readiness, nutritional readiness, and mental readiness. The SPRCs will support all the pillars with a trained full-time staff.

According to Fontes, the Air Force authorized strength and conditioning personnel positions were already in place at the fitness center, which is why 733d FSS sent sports and fitness instructors Maverick Donnell and Laura Gurganis, to the U.S. Army Master Fitness Trainer Class at the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School, Fort Jackson, S.C., adding further certifications within the construct of the Army’s needs.

Further, utilizing functional strength training and weightlifting equipment already in place with guidance from the Army’s Master Fitness and Holistic Health experts, the McClellan gym transformed into an ACFT training center and much more.

“We’re not H2F, we’re not Army; we don’t do ACFT testing but we support these programs,” she said. “It’s all connected when you’re working out, eating well, spiritually and mentally connected, and getting enough sleep. My team very excited and inspired by it.”

Across the installation, these positions were in place, and just needed connection.

“You have the ancillary support, and you have places on the installation like the Army Wellness Center, the Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council (CR2C), physical therapists and nutritionists at the Army Health Center, it is all here, so we converted our gym space at McClellan to make it more functional and meet the intent,” she said. “Then we scheduled to bring physical therapists, nutritionists and other community assets together on certain days and facilitate the launching of a program here at Fort Eustis.”

The strength and conditioning trainers brought full units in and developed an 8-week program for Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) improvement with U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training.

“With this functional movement training program, units were going from well under their threshold for scoring on the ACFT to well over it,” Fontes said.” It was great for them but it was also great for us: being on the cutting edge of a huge cultural change for the Army and our team helping to produce results.”

The trainers shared multiple success stories.

“I’ve walked up to people and in five minutes, have basically helped to change their score,” Donnell said. “We run the trainings all the time, so we see what works better and how to improve and fix.”

He gave the example of improving the ‘Standing Power Throw’ score, one of the six requirements for the ACFT. Tips like just throwing the ball as soon as it’s picked up instead of prepping, keeping the arms straight, and where to better release for more power and trajectory.

“Depending on the group, we train them differently,” Gurganus said. “Some units have a goal of running better, or ACFT improvement, joint units with different needs too. It’s all about balance; everything in life is about balance.”

All this fits into supporting the Army’s H2F program and the base as it evolves.

“We will continue to support this program and evolve our facility, functional fitness is where it’s at now, in our strategic plan, talking to everyone across the installation so that we can best continue to support the population here at Fort Eustis for optimal performance and be ready for the future,” Fontes said. “It’s a win-win for all of us.”

For more information about the McClellan Fitness Center and scheduling a unit training program, visit https://jble-eustismwr.com/fitness/mcclellan-fitness-center/

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Date Taken: 02.16.2024
Date Posted: 02.16.2024 11:49
Story ID: 464106
Location: FORT EUSTIS, VA, US
Hometown: NEWPORT NEWS, VA, US






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DVIDS – News – Fort Eustis Gym leads the way with Holistic Health and Fitness

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