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Panther Pit offers new range of fitness options

Powdered gym chalk is used to ensure a strong grip to prevent slipping when using exercise equipment Jan. 5, 2015, in the Panther Pit room in the fitness room on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The Panther Pit, located next to the racquetball courts, provides a place where service members, civilians, retirees and their families can use a variety of new equipment to enhance their functional fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Powdered gym chalk is used to ensure a strong grip to prevent slipping when using exercise equipment Jan. 5, 2015, in the Panther Pit room in the fitness room on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The Panther Pit, located next to the racquetball courts, provides a place where service members, civilians, retirees and their families can use a variety of new equipment to enhance their functional fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

John Lewis, Team Buckley spouse and fitness enthusiast, performs a clean Jan. 5, 2015, in the Panther Pit room in the fitness center on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The Panther Pit, located next to the racquetball courts, provides a place where service members, civilians, retirees and their families can use a variety of new equipment to enhance their functional fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

John Lewis, Team Buckley spouse and fitness enthusiast, performs a clean Jan. 5, 2015, in the Panther Pit room in the fitness center on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The Panther Pit, located next to the racquetball courts, provides a place where service members, civilians, retirees and their families can use a variety of new equipment to enhance their functional fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Shandelle Stone, Team Buckley member, does pull-ups Jan. 5, 2015, in the Panther Pit room at the fitness center on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The Panther Pit, located next to the racquetball courts, provides a place where service members, civilians, retirees and their families can use a variety of new equipment to enhance their functional fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Shandelle Stone, Team Buckley member, does pull-ups Jan. 5, 2015, in the Panther Pit room at the fitness center on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The Panther Pit, located next to the racquetball courts, provides a place where service members, civilians, retirees and their families can use a variety of new equipment to enhance their functional fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It's no secret that a proper exercise regime enhances quality of life, improves productivity and brings positive physical and mental changes. Whether beginning an exercise routine or just looking to re-energize a monotonous one, the fitness center on base has increased their fitness capabilities with a new, open fitness room.

The Panther Pit, located next to the racquetball courts, provides a place where service members, civilians, retirees and their families can use a variety of new equipment to enhance their functional fitness
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"I'm impressed with the facility," said John Lewis, Team Buckley spouse and fitness enthusiast. "It's open throughout the day so I don't have to come at 8, 9, 10 o'clock. There's no set times. It's very convenient for my schedule."

The Pit is chock-full of possibilities for Team Buckley members to choose from regarding their exercise routine. Unlike the weight room, the Panther Pit doesn't have any machines. Some of the exercise equipment includes weightlifting bars, bumper plates, pull-up bars and rings, kettlebells, and medicine balls. The equipment can be used for interval training, plyometrics, weight-lifting, powerlifting or body-weight exercises.

Although there are no scheduled Panther Pit classes yet, group exercise instructors will often bring their class participants into the gym to give them a crash course on each piece of equipment and how it is used.

"If the number of people attending a group exercise class is low, I try to get them in (the Panther Pit) so we can teach them the correct form and how to use the equipment," said Azul Farrera, 460th Force Support Squadron recreation assistant. "If members cannot make it to the group exercise class but are still curious about the gym, they are encouraged to ask any fitness center member for more information regarding the use of equipment."

If members cannot make it to a group exercise class but are still curious about the gym, they are encouraged to ask any fitness center member for more information regarding the use of equipment.

Since The Pit is an open fitness room, workouts are self-paced and can be tailored to an individual's fitness level. This allows members to work at their own rate, making exercise routines more private and effective.

Depending on an individual's fitness goals, some exercise routines recommend using a lower weight and doing multiple reps for a specified amount of time. Common exercises include using wallballs, kettlebells and sand bags, as well as dead lifts and box jumps.

The Pit offers a way to rev up any exercise routine and keep repetitive workouts fresh.

"It opens up more possibilities for people," Farrera said. "They want to try something different other than just the standard gym machines for hours and hours. People need access to facilities where they have options that fit each individual's fitness preferences."

With functional fitness playing an important role in the overall mission readiness of military members, Team Buckley members must ensure they are resilient warfighters by keeping themselves and their families healthy.

"There is an astronomical obesity epidemic and it needs to be eradicated," Farrera said. "Fitness and proper nutrition are the solution to it. It's important to maintain a fit body and mind for a lifetime. By utilizing the fitness room, members have the opportunity to achieve a workout that is crucial for a strong military force."

The Pit is open every day during regular fitness center hours. Fitness Center hours are 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 720-847-6679.
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