White Sands Missile Range employee Rebecca Dirks is putting the services offered at Bell Gym to good use to help her reach her health and fitness goals.
Dirks, an employee with Child and Youth Services, started taking CrossFit classes at the gym 18 months ago and her dedication and commitment have paid off. Dirks started tracking her results July of this year, and since then she has lost 13 pounds. That includes losing 15 pounds of body fat and gaining as much muscle.
"I've lost so much body fat and gained the muscle," Dirks said. "I don't keep track of my body weight so much, but focus on the muscle gain and body fat lost."
Dirks, who will be celebrating a milestone birthday soon, said she wanted to try something new.
"I have a friend who was doing CrossFit at Bell Gym and she was very excited about it, so I went to try it out."
Dirks goes to the gym at least four times a week to do mostly CrossFit, but also takes advantage of the other classes available to include Yoga, cross training and spin classes.
Bell Gym and the Aquatic Center are part of the Total Army Strong program. Total Army Strong is a ready and resiliency program for Soldiers, civilians and Family members. Bell Gym supports the program with individual fitness, group fitness, special events, aquatics, offering competition and personal training to meet the needs of #Team WSMR.
Dirks said she enjoys CrossFit because it is a sport where you compete with yourself and no one else.
"I can see the progression and how much stronger I am getting," Dirks said. "You compete with yourself and you are not comparing yourself to the person standing next to you."
The friendly gym environment is another reason Dirks enjoys working out at Bell Gym.
"Everyone is cheering you on and lifting you up," she said. "It is not about how good you do – they are there to help you finish and get through the workout."
Motivation and the people who keep her motivated is what keeps her moving forward. She said the gym staff and instructors are great.
"They are always happy to see me," Dirks said. "They are just really kind people and they compliment me on my strength and help keep me built up. That is very nice to hear because you don't always hear that."
Sky Clarke, acting Sports and Fitness director at Bell Gym, said she is very proud of Dirks' transformation.
"I am super proud of her," Clarke said. "It has been amazing to watch her grow stronger and watch her confidence grow this last year," Clarke said.
Clarke said she has been very impressed with Dirks' dedication and the fact that she has been continuously motivated on both her fitness and her health, to include improving her diet.
"I can see the payoff coming through, and she is a great example for our other athletes," Clarke said.
In addition to the physical changes, Dirks said exercising helps her deal better with stress.
"When you have a very stressful week or day you can go into the gym and it helps you release some of that stress," Dirks said. "It is like your calming place. It is my place to do what I want to do and be peaceful. As moms we don't often get that personal time to ourselves."
By the end of the day Dirks said she is exhausted and is able to get a good night rest.
Exercising can also help change the way you eat. Dirks said she now makes better choices and has started meal planning.
"You make better choices when it comes to what you eat. It makes everything click into place."
Dirks said her meal plan includes watching her protein intake and her carbs and fat.
Part of her meal preparation includes using the weekend to cook all her protein, weigh it and bag it. She keeps it in the freezer so it is easy for her to take out during the week or to take it for lunch.
"I just pull what I need and put it in my lunch box," she said.
Dirks said she eats a lot of chicken and turkey, but also carries protein bars so that she is not tempted to stop by the drive-through restaurants and get something bad when she is hungry.
"I have something to carry me through the day."
Dirks also started using an app to log her food. "If I do have to stop somewhere to eat, I can plan ahead and select a healthy option ahead of time."
As for her goal, Dirks said her goal is to lose 15 more pounds of body fat, which will put her where she wants to be. "I want to be in the right zone for my body. I just want to be healthy."
Having the gym nearby is a major plus for Dirks, who works full time and has a family waiting for her at home.
"I think having access to the gym is very important for people," Dirks said. "The fact that there is a gym here on post and they have people there all the time with the skill set to help you is a big help."
Dirks said the gym staff is always willing to help and if they don't have the answer they will find someone who does.
"The staff is always making sure you are doing exercises the right way because they want you to be safe. They are motivators. They have motivated me to keep going all this time. They make sure you don't give up."
Bell Gym is open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Bell Gym also has two buildings, the cardio and the nautilus rooms, that are available 24/7. Customers must register their CAC cards at the front desk during regular business hours in order to access the two rooms.