The start of a new year has inspired Soldiers and Families across the installation to chase after their health and fitness goals, and the Army Wellness Center is dedicated to helping them stay on target.

The facility offers a variety of free resources to TRICARE recipients 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays at 2526 22nd St., from body composition testing and nutrition assistance to general wellness classes.

“It’s important for everyone to really take charge of their own health,” said Lakisha Bowles, health educator, Army Wellness Center. “You can’t replenish your health by paying for it once it’s gone, so take care of what you have and your body will thank you later.”

Bowles said community members often stop by the Army Wellness Center after the new year for assistance with weight loss goals, and that the first step is to start with the basics.

“It has to encompass both fitness and nutrition,” she said. “We stress the importance of overall health, followed by the physical appearance that you want and your body composition. We really want to get down to it and see what you’re currently doing when it comes to fitness, what kind of experience you have with it and what settings you’re comfortable in.”

The Army Wellness Center works with individuals to conduct health assessments and learn about their personal goals, which allows the staff to connect clients with the most effective resources.

“Whatever their goal is for weight loss, we want to educate people and help them understand that 90% of it is nutrition,” Bowles said. “We’ll look at doing some health coaching with them to understand their current eating habits, when they eat and whether they track their meals using a food tracker. We recommend using MyFitnessPal, but a lot of people have their own apps that they use.”

Bowles also recommends using the SMART method – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound – when setting fitness goals to help with staying on task.

“For example, a lot of times people will say they need to improve their water intake,” she said. “But just saying you need to drink more water is not going to get you there; you need to be more specific. With the SMART method you can say you want to drink two glasses of water a day, five days a week. And wanting to exercise can be applied in SMART goal form as ‘I will exercise five days a week, 30 minutes a day and keep track of it in a journal.’”

Along the way, the Army Wellness Center’s resources can help Soldiers and Families stick to a healthier lifestyle.

“Body composition testing is the most popular,” Bowles said. “That one is definitely going to give you a background of how much lean mass you have versus how much body fat you have, and we work on that monthly with people. Then we do metabolic testing, and that’s going to give us the information we need for nutrition: how many total calories you need per day to assist with weight gain, weight maintenance or weight loss, and how many calories your body is burning on its own per day.”

Community members can also measure their strength, endurance and flexibility at the facility through fitness testing or sign up for wellness classes.

“We do a stress management class that leads to biofeedback services,” Bowles said. “There are a variety of general education wellness classes geared toward nutrition, lifestyle and behavioral changes, and a sleep improvement class called sleep hygiene. It’s basically about healthy sleeping habits, teaching people to take note of what they’re doing prior to bedtime and figuring out what they can do behavior-wise without medication or sleep aids.”

Bowles also recommends liking Army Wellness Center Fort Campbell on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on activities and services.

“If you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, we post a lot of information to help you stay encouraged, motivated and educated,” she said. “We have workouts, meal ideas and a lot of information about the services and events we’ll be hosting, so it keeps you engaged if you’re not able to make it into the facility. It’s important to stay active at home, use the resources you have and seek out other resources in your community.”