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Fitness improvement class offered to Airmen

Senior Airman Jacqueline Forsyth completes the final stretch of a two mile run. Forsyth begins each of her fitness improvement classes with a run. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Senior Airman Jacqueline Forsyth completes the final stretch of a two mile run. Forsyth begins each of her fitness improvement classes with a run. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- For the past year, Senior Airman Jacqueline Forsyth has been leading a fitness improvement class in the base gym at 1430 during Saturday of each drill weekend.

The class was developed after Chief Master Sgt. Martin Leonard, the 120th Airlift Wing's services superintendent, noticed an increase in fitness test failures and heard concerns from Wing leadership.

"Every Airman is responsible for maintaining a healthy lifestyle by engaging in a personal fitness program and by participating in the unit fitness program," said Col. Lee Smith, commander of the 120th Airlift Wing, in a memorandum dated April 18, 2016. "120th Airlift Wing personnel are eligible to use one hour per day for physical training during regular scheduled drills, annual training or special training days."  

Leonard said he was approached by Forsyth, who had a background in exercise science and gave her the green light to start the class.

"At 1430 we meet at the gym here dressed out in gear and we run two miles," Forsyth said. "Then we'll do a focus on something; this month was knee strengthening, last month was a focus on back strengthening and the month before that was how to run faster."

Class sizes average about 15 members and consist mostly of student flight Airmen preparing to go to basic training, people who are preparing to take their fitness tests, and people who just want to improve their fitness said Forsyth.

"I don't really ask them why - like if they were voluntold to come," Forsyth said. "I assume that if they are there it's because they want to improve their fitness or they need to improve their fitness."

Forsyth said the classes begin immediately, taking advantage of every one of the 45 minutes scheduled for the class. Following a two-mile run, the class returns to the gym where Forsyth discusses various fitness topics with participants while engaging in exercises.

"It is so hard to try and change someone's lifestyle in one 45 minute class," Forsyth said. 

Forsyth said the class is for people who want to improve their fitness.

"I don't expect to see a bunch of gym junkies with their protein shakes and hi-tech workout gear," Forsyth said.

"I find that a lot of people don't have any knowledge on fitness," Forsyth said. "Things I may think are common sense aren't to others. For example; how do you decrease your run time? Run faster."

Forsyth said that she then instructs training techniques toward that objective.

"I really want to revolve the class around them," Forsyth said. "I really will change my pace with the dynamics of the group.

Forsyth says she loves teaching the fitness improvement class because as a personal trainer and a group fitness instructor she gets to meet people she can help become more fit and watch them complete their goals.

"It's such a good feeling," Forsyth said. "Our goal is fitness, and that's where I try and keep the focus."
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