Jumpstarting Better Habits at the Wellness Center


Jumpstarting Better Habits at the Wellness CenterDid you know that your military installation could have a wellness center that offers free, personalized health and fitness assessments and counseling valued at $3,000 or more?  And, it doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting to build better habits to get healthy, or you’re already in shape looking to meet new goals.

My experience is with the Army Wellness Center at Fort Leavenworth.  Check here to see if there is a location near you.  If not, check back often because they are expanding.  The Air Force and Navy/Marines sites aren’t quite as specific as to what they offer, but after being pleasantly surprised by what the Army has going on, it’s definitely worthwhile to check in to see what is available to you.

I was inspired to make an appointment after reading about Joy's eye-opening experience.  In fact, I was so enthusiastic about getting started that I spent a good part of my birthday making my way through most of the tests and classes.  I couldn’t knock out the stress management class on that day but I made it through everything else, and I have an appointment for the stress class coming up this week.

Here’s what I did:


The check-in process was much like that of a regular clinic visit with a weigh-in and blood pressure check.  They also took a waist measurement.

Bod Pod

The Bod Pod looked like a small spaceship. It felt roomy inside, but if you’re concerned about being closed in, there’s a panic button to alert the attendant.  The Bod Pod uses air displacement technology to measure body fat percentage within one percent.  That’s much more accurate and more comfortable than the pinch test!


The Metacheck test uses oxygen measurement to determine individual calorie needs.  By breathing through a mask, the test accurately determines how many calories your body uses just sitting still.

The Results

After the results were in from the Bod Pod and the Metacheck, I sat down with a staff member to discuss my results and my goals and I made a follow-up appointment for two weeks later.  I knew that all of the testing was available to us, but I didn’t realize that I could continue using the wellness center to receive help in reaching my goals.

Upping Your Metabolism Class

At this class, I received the paperwork showing the amount of calories I should eat every day, taking into account the results of my metabolic test, my daily activity level, and my goals.  The class also went over trends and barriers to wellness, metabolism, food intake and activity levels that promote a healthy weight, and tools to track and improve nutrition and physical activity.  Aside from getting a wake-up call about how much I should be eating, the most interesting part of this class was seeing what servings of different foods actually look like.  It’s one thing to know that a serving of pasta is half of a cup.  It’s another thing to see what that looks like on a plate and compare it to how much is usually served up.

Fitness Test

The fitness test includes:

  • Treadmill test wearing a mask and a heart rate monitor to measure cardio-respiratory fitness.  The technician asks about perceived levels of exertion along the way.
  • Flexibility measurements.  This was the old-fashioned sit-and-reach test that you might remember from elementary school.
  • Strength assessment, including back strength and grip tests.

After the test, I sat down with a staff member for a lengthy discussion about what I needed to do to improve my results.  I was surprised by how quickly I had lost cardiovascular fitness and strength during my overseas PCS.  I scheduled a follow-up visit for four weeks later.  Having this appointment looming will help motivate me to go run even when it is cold outside.

Bottom Line

I'm excited to begin working toward better habits that will lead to an overall lifestyle change for my family and me.  I'm thankful to have access to a wellness center that can pinpoint exactly what I need to do and support my journey.  The supervision of the caring staff at the wellness center is just what I need to help me prioritize my health.

Don’t be afraid of bad news.  Make your appointment today!

What have you been wanting/needing to do for your health that you've been putting off?

BlogKimberly Bacso