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2 FSS Fortress of Family Physical Fitness

Patrons of the Barksdale Fitness Center exercise on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. The Fitness Center is open from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.  Approximately 8,000 Airmen, dependents and retirees use the facility each week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

Patrons of the Barksdale Fitness Center exercise on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. The Fitness Center is open from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Approximately 8,000 Airmen, dependents and retirees use the facility each week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

The Fitness Center is open from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.  Approximately 8,000 Airmen, dependents and retirees use the facility each week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

The Fitness Center is open from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Approximately 8,000 Airmen, dependents and retirees use the facility each week. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

An Airman from the 2nd Maintenance Squadron runs the length of a basketball court for physical training on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. From intramural sports to aerobics classes, the Fitness Center offers a variety of activities for Airmen to participate in. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

An Airman from the 2nd Maintenance Squadron runs the length of a basketball court for physical training on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. From intramural sports to aerobics classes, the Fitness Center offers a variety of activities for Airmen to participate in. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

Airmen from the 2nd Communication Squadron play walleyball in the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. Many units around base meet at the gym for physical training. The Fitness Center offers a variety of sports for Airmen to play such as football, softball, dodgeball, walleyball, basketball, racquetball, kickball and volleyball. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

Airmen from the 2nd Communication Squadron play walleyball in the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. Many units around base meet at the gym for physical training. The Fitness Center offers a variety of sports for Airmen to play such as football, softball, dodgeball, walleyball, basketball, racquetball, kickball and volleyball. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

An Airman from the 2nd Comptroller Squadron jumps to hit a volleyball in the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. Many units around base meet at the gym for physical training. The Fitness Center offers a variety of sports for Airmen to play such as football, softball, dodgeball, walleyball, basketball, racquetball, kickball and volleyball. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

An Airman from the 2nd Comptroller Squadron jumps to hit a volleyball in the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 25. Many units around base meet at the gym for physical training. The Fitness Center offers a variety of sports for Airmen to play such as football, softball, dodgeball, walleyball, basketball, racquetball, kickball and volleyball. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- The sanctuary of sports. The mansion of muscle. The castle of cardio. These are all terms that could be used to describe the Barksdale Fitness Center.

With plenty of exercise machines, weights, cardio machines and intramural sports to use, the Fitness Center offers Team Barksdale all the resources they need to stay fit -- which is a requirement in today's Air Force.

"Air Force leadership has placed greater emphasis on military members staying fit and the resiliency of our force," said Lt. Col. Diane Benavidez, 2nd Force Support Squadron commander. "The Fitness Center's staff are trained professionals and they understand the importance of this, and strive to provide quality customer service to our patrons."

Though the equipment and the facility are important, the Fitness Center wouldn't be as effective without its personnel.

"We take care of the essential functions which is everything from keeping the Fitness Center clean, to supporting our patrons by providing them with equipment or knowledge," said Senior Airman Jonathan Crouch, 2 FSS fitness specialist. "We also set up and manage sports days and 5k fun runs to keep the Airmen morale up."

In addition to using the Fitness Center as a base for squadron physical training many Airmen and their families also use the facility to have a good time and participate in family fitness activities.

"Exercising is a routine stress reliever for me, it breaks up the day and it's a nice way to relax," said Master Sgt. Brian Burseck, 307th Security Forces Squadron active reservist in charge of operations. "I like to do the 5k runs because it is fun getting everyone together to get some cardio in, it's a morale booster."

Not only do the 5ks hosted by the Fitness Center boost morale, but sports days and intramural sports like football and basketball help bring squadrons together according to Crouch.

"It really brings out a lot of camaraderie among the squadrons and it helps people recognize faces and see people from other squadrons they may not know," he said. "Ultimately it can give your squadron bragging rights."

With physical training tests and deployments always on the horizon, Airmen need to be ready at all times.

"You want to stay in shape because you can be tasked to deploy whenever," said Burseck. "It keeps you in fit and ready to fight."

The Fitness Center also offers classes to help Airmen stay physically fit.

"We have several classes and programs going on right now along with the Fitness on Request Kiosk," said Crouch. "The kiosk offers, kinetics, stomp, spin, fusion and kick boxing classes that provide guided workouts just as if there were an instructor present."

According to Crouch, the Fitness Center's patrons have increased significantly since the stand up of Air Force Global Strike Command. To accommodate the influx, the Fitness Center is scheduled to undergo construction to expand the facility.

"Team Barksdale will benefit immensely, the renovation will relocate the weight and aerobics room and increase the size of the locker rooms," said Master Sgt. Kenya Payne, 2 FSS Fitness Center director. "This addition will be constructed to provide a more streamlined weight room with less congested space within the facility.


Though the Fitness Center will be under construction, the facility will still support more than 8,000 Airmen, dependents and retirees who visit the Fitness Center each week.

"The Fitness Center will continue to provide Team Barksdale with programs that enhance their well being in a challenging and comfortable atmosphere as each Airman continues their quest to remain fit to fight," said Payne.