Working out a key stress reliever for soldiers

Published 12:26 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spc. Ronnie Aldrich, of Austin, works out Wednesday at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. He has personal goals he'd like to achieve during the deployment, including being able to do 20 or more pull ups and achieve less than 10 percent body fat.

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series on deployed Minnesota National Guard soldiers by the Herald’s Kelli Lageson reporting from Kuwait. More Deployed in Kuwait.

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — It’s one of the only things soldiers look forward to each day on base — working out.

Austin Daily Herald reporter Kelli Lageson will report from Kuwait Nov. 7-15. Click this image for an archive of Deployed in Kuwait stories.

Many soldiers use the time they’re deployed to work on personal goals like getting into shape. There’s ample ways they can do that at Camp Buehring, with a large gym, aerobic tent and many other fitness-oriented activities.

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Hitting the gym is one of the most common ways soldiers work out, though there are other options. It’s the biggest tent on base and houses cardio equipment like treadmills, stairsteppers and ellipticals, and it also has free weights and many weight-lifting machines.

Staff Sgt. Dustin Eggum, of Hayward, is a sniper section leader with Delta Company, and often works out with Sgt. Trevor Nelson, a senior sniper team leader with Delta Company.

Sgt. Trevor Nelson, of Alden, does a set of pull ups while Staff Sgt. Dustin Eggum, of Hayward, spots. The two are snipers with Albert Lea's Delta Company and usually work out together.

“We have a pretty good rotation,” Eggum said. “We usually work out together.”

He said they have schedules where sometimes they try to lift weights and bulk up as much as possible and other times they work on cardio and heart rates. It’s hard for them to take time off from working out.

“We force ourselves to take days off,” Eggum said. “It’s the only thing that keeps us sane around here.”

Spc. Kolt Krumpos, of Austin, agreed that working out helps their mental health as well as their physical health.

Staff Sgt. Dustin Eggum is helped by Sgt. Trevor Nelson during a workout Wednesday at the gym at Camp Buehring in Kuwait.

“It’s a big stress reliever,” Krumpos said.

He’s a sniper in Eggum’s unit and said they have adequate time to work out at the gym. He considers working out good for himself as well as something the unit does to prepare for missions.

“You don’t want to be the weakest link,” Krumpos said.

Another option for soldiers is the weekly 5k run on Wednesday, which is organized by MWR, or Morale, Welfare and Recreation. This week there happened to be extra organized runs, which happens with holidays. On Tuesday, there was a 5k celebrating the Third Army’s birthday, Wednesday had the regular weekly 5k, Thursday had a 5k for the Marine Corp’s birthday and today there was an 11k run to celebrate Veterans Day.

Other than organized runs and the main gym, there’s an aerobic tent on base that holds classes certain days of the week including yoga, spinning, power abs, P90X, and muay thai, a form of mixed martial arts fighting.

Spc. Ronnie Aldrich, of Austin, is in the Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Division, and said he has personal goals he wants to achieve during the deployment. He hopes to be under 10 percent body fat as well as complete 20 or more pull ups.

“I’m pretty close to halfway,” Aldrich said.

He said he knows a few soldiers who are also personal trainers, who have given him some tips for his workout plan. He said the gym on the base is fully stocked with any kind of machine needed to work out.

“It’s a lot better than the Y back in Austin,” Aldrich said. “Everything you need is here.”