Belvoir Soldiers and civilians work out at the medicine ball lift station during a Strong B.A.N.D.S. Functional Fitness session, May 14 at Specker Field House.

On May 1, Fort Belvoir’s MWR sports and fitness teams kicked off the Army’s annual Strong B.A.N.D.S. initiative—a force-wide program designed to empower military and civilian personnel to make positive changes to their overall health. 

“The goal of the Strong B.A.N.D.S. — Strong Balance, Activity, Nutrition, Determination and Strength— campaign is to promote the numerous programs and activities, taking place at various garrisons, which highlight the opportunities for Soldiers and families to stay physically and mentally fit,” said Calvin Simpson, Fort Belvoir MWR fitness specialist. 

“Installation Management Command, G‐9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs created this promotion to energize and inspire communities Army-wide about healthy lifestyles that support resiliency,” Simpson added. “The Strong B.A.N.D.S. promotion is a chance to showcase the great fitness programs we are already hosting, while fostering camaraderie, cohesiveness and a sense of total community.” 

One of the most popular activities offered this month is the Functional Fitness program—a highly specialized fitness series, offered in six-week cycles throughout the year, that focuses on total-body conditioning through cardio, aerobics and core strength conditioning. 

Through Dynamic Training, Metabolic Conditioning and Extreme Training, this program engages military personnel and civilians in strenuous physical activity during 60-minute sessions. For Soldiers, Functional Fitness focuses on developing skills they can use to increase operational readiness and performance by emphasizing mobility, strength, restoration and energy-system development. 

More than 40 Belvoir community members converged on Specker Field House to push their endurance to the limit, May 14. 

According to Simpson, these workouts allow participants to visit numerous “stations” offering an array of specific exercises designed to target isolated areas of the body. 

“We utilize all types of equipment, from barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, jump ropes, battle ropes, med balls, slam balls and TRX straps,” he said. “Any given day, you’ll utilize any of these pieces of equipment. And, instead of repeating workout routines throughout the week, you get a new workout each and every day. Some classes you will rotate by repetition and other classes you will rotate by time.” 

Simpson added that the Functional Fitness training program provides all the necessary tools and guidance to build total-body fitness. However, the results entirely depend on how dedicated and driven each person remains throughout the six-week cycles. 

“When it comes to the class itself, the workouts range from dynamic exercises, metabolic conditioning and extreme conditioning,” he said. “One thing I like to tell people is that you're going to get out of the class exactly what you put into it. The class is designed for you to work at you own pace. We get people who come to the class with all different physical conditions and each one of them is able to get a maximum workout. I like to encourage individuals to focus on themselves and their own goals and not be worried about the person to their left or their right. This helps remove the intimidation factor and allows individuals to freely work out.” 

For a complete breakdown of the activities offered during the Strong B.A.N.D.S. program, go to https:// strong-bands. 

For more information call Charice Smith at 703-806-5589 or email