Pumpin' up, staying fit it for or battle

By Sgt. Ann Venturato
Assistant editor

Staying fit while being deployed takes working around a busy schedule in a high tempo environment; however, many Soldiers are still taking the time necessary to workout and staying fit.

"I make time in my weekly schedule to workout," said Sgt. 1st Class Orlando Galarza, who has been a Master Fitness Trainer for seven years now. "I get up at 4 a.m. in the morning on Tuesday through Saturday to work out at the gym."

"I exercise to maintain my current fitness level for the next two years," said Galarza, who is the NCOIC of the 13th COSCOM's Communications section.

"I do 200 to 300 sit-ups every night," said Staff Sgt. Alexander Bryant, who has been a Command Total Fitness Trainer for almost two years. "I workout during the evenings six nights a week, and run two and one-half to three miles, three times a week."

"My goal is to get into peak physical fitness like I was back in 2000," said Bryant, who is an ammunitions manager for the 13th COSCOM. "My goal is to be able to bench press 405 pounds and dead lift 100 pounds."

Command Total Fitness Trainers are trained on new ways to stretch out and exercise that will help prevent injuries to Soldiers and trained on the new physical fitness test standard, said Bryant.

Both fitness trainers suggested that variety in exercise is very important. Galarza and Bryant said they make sure to exercise different muscle groups on different days so they don't over stress specific muscles and give each muscle group rest or time to recover.

"Soldiers should find someone to go work out with; someone who will give them a push to get a good workout," said Galarza, who says he enjoys competing in bench press competitions.

Spc. Deana Luna, a communications specialist with the 13th COSCOM, said she also works out with a partner.

"We have a contest going on to see who will have the best-toned abs by the end of the deployment," Luna said.

"Maintaining the workout schedule is just as important as making time to workout. Soldiers need to be committed to keeping up a regular workout schedule," Galarza said. "Getting in shape doesn't happen overnight; it's a work in progress. Soldiers shouldn't get discouraged from working out just because they don't see the immediate results they want."

Bryant said he maintains a low carbohydrate diet, which includes a lot of green vegetables and some low fat proteins.

"Another tip for Soldiers is to eat right," Bryant said. "I suggest soldiers stay away from sweets and cut down on the high fat and fried foods."

"Soldiers need to start off slow on a workout program that fits their workout ability at that moment and [gradually] work to increase the intensity of the workout," Bryant said.

"It is good for Soldiers to live a healthy lifestyle," Bryant said. "Soldiers need to stick with exercise and try to maintain a workout program."

Staff Sgt. Matthew Morrow, a Master Fitness Trainer with Company D, 29th Signal Battalion said, "Seventy-five percent of fitness is diet. Soldiers should stay away from fats, high carbohydrates and high fatty foods."

"No amount of exercise will produce any gains in weight loss, if a Soldier has a poor diet," said Morrow, who successfully assisted 40 Soldiers in getting off the overweight program at his previous unit.

Morrow has experience as a personal trainer. Since he has been here in Iraq, Morrow has written out diet plans for 25 Soldiers.

Lt. Col. Betty Holm, the medical plans officer for the 13th COSCOM said, "Exercise makes you feel better, gives you energy, builds self-esteem, and makes time here go by faster."


Sgt. 1st Class Orlando Galarza
NCOIC for the 13th COSCOM Communications section has been a Master Fitness Trainer for seven years and trains with a partner when he works out.