News | May 21, 2021

DLA senior enlisted leader encourages military members to ‘spring into fitness’ with new video

By Dianne Ryder DLA Public Affairs

The Defense Logistics Agency’s senior enlisted leader encourages military members to use the warm weather to “spring into fitness” and reminds them of summer deadlines for completing physical fitness tests in a new video.

During the yearlong suspension of physical fitness testing because of the coronavirus, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka O’Neal was also sidelined with a foot injury. 

“I was miserable. You use your feet for everything, even to balance when using weights,” she said during filming. 

O’Neal, who was cleared in January to start physical activity again, and representatives from each military service share personal stories to help motivate fellow service members in the video. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Brennan Pedraza of DLA Acquisition described being deployed to Sigonella, Italy, as his biggest fitness challenge during the pandemic.

“We got locked down pretty severely on that base. We weren’t allowed to run outside; the gyms were closed; everything we did physically, we had to do in our barracks rooms,” he said. “Everybody was trying to find body-weight workouts for the couple months we were extended on that deployment.” 

Navy Chief Alberta Moore, superintendent of logistics on DLA’s Navy National Account Managers team, said getting outside and changing exercise routines are good ways to avoid stagnation and maintain physical, mental and emotional wellness. 

“When you’re on the computer, do some squats or leg lifts. Stand up while on the keyboard at home instead of sitting down,” she said. “There are different things we can do to keep our metabolism going and stay active.”

Army Master Sgt. Mauricio Gonzalez from DLA’s Agency Synchronization Operations Center said he’s a social person who doesn’t like working out alone. When DLA Headquarters service members were no longer able to do physical training together due to social distancing guidelines, Gonzalez built a home gym and purchased a bike so he could ride local trails. He said it motivates him to see others outside as well. 

DLA Energy’s Air Force Master Sgt. Tim Phillips also has a home gym and is an avid runner. Declining physical activity can lower metabolism and lead to lethargy, apathy and long-term medical issues, he said.

Maintaining fitness and peak performance is a priority for service members, O’Neal said, adding that many of those who are vaccinated are anxious to resume group exercise.

“It’s so integral to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to start associating fitness with overall performance,” she said.