The 90-day Home Base Warrior Health & Fitness Program is switching ‘gears’ this fall and will now run on a year-round basis, allowing even more Veterans and Service Members to access the benefits of this innovative program. A new “rolling admissions” policy will ensure that participating Veterans and Service Members will be able to more quickly – and effectively – reach their health and fitness goals. This fresh take on the popular health and fitness program is timely, as Home Base’s new “home” in the Charlestown Navy Yard will feature a state-of-the-art fitness center specifically for Warrior Health & Fitness participants.
“It’s an exciting time for the Warrior Health & Fitness Program,” said Ryan Vanderweit, MS, CSCS, who has been with Home Base since 2015 and currently serves as the Program Director.
Warrior Health & Fitness was first established back in 2014, in large part due to Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation, Tim Wakefield. Wakefield, who had recently retired and understood how some Veterans may have difficulty transitioning back to civilian life after a career in the military, envisioned a fitness program that could serve as a platform for these Veterans to come together and reconnect with other members of the Military Community.
Today, the program is run in both New England and Southwest Florida, with plans to expand to other regions in the near future. Participating Veterans and Service Members improve their physical health and well-being through supervised physical exercise education about healthy eating, living, sleep hygiene, stress management and the health benefits of physical activity. Beginning this fall, Home Base’s new National Center of Excellence in the Charlestown Navy Yard will serve as headquarters for New England Warrior Health & Fitness, though weekly workouts will still be offered at Northeastern University and Hanscom Air Force Base.
“Veterans and Service Members are athletes in every sense of the word,” said Vanderweit. “The job of the Warrior Health and Fitness team now is to get them back on a path towards long-term wellness – both inside and outside of the gym.”
With Vanderweit at the helm, Warrior Health & Fitness has become increasingly entrenched in the Boston community over the last several years. He has forged partnerships with other local organizations, providing Warrior Health & Fitness participants an opportunity to become part of a community – or “team” – of like-minded individuals. Last month, Vanderweit and his team partnered with Rev’d Indoor Cycling to host a first-of-its kind class aboard the historic USS Constitution. The unforgettable event was attended by nearly 30 Veterans enrolled in Warrior Health & Fitness, as well as local community supporters.
“There are many studies showing the importance of having a workout partner to help you reach your goals,” explained Vanderweit. “The challenge is finding that partner. With Warrior Health & Fitness, we remove that barrier. There’s this built-in community that helps Veterans stay motivated and focused on their goals.”
As Vanderweit looked to continue growing and improving Warrior Health & Fitness, he was cognizant of the need to design a program in such a way that would mitigate the number of dropouts. By restructuring the program to support rolling admissions and switching to a 90-day schedule, he hopes to make it even easier for Veterans and Service Members to get – and stay – involved.
“We have a unique opportunity to put together a comprehensive a health and fitness program that the Veteran population can truly benefit from on several different levels,” explained Vanderweit.
With Home Base on track to open its doors at One Constitution Wharf at the end of the month, Vanderweit and the rest of the Warrior Health & Fitness team are looking forward to beginning workouts at their new gym. The gym will feature an indoor turf, real-time heart rate monitoring on display, and state of the art fitness equipment. The new facilities, together with the revamped program structure and partnerships with other organization, ensure Warrior Health & Fitness is on track for continued success. Though Warrior Health & Fitness was initially developed as one of Home Base’s “lighter touch” offerings, the fitness program has steadily transformed into something even more impactful: a community.
Home Base is currently recruiting Veterans for Warrior Health & Fitness Program. This program will run for 90 days and is led by Post-9/11 Veterans. Register today to receive FREE fitness evaluations, a tailored exercise program, yoga, mental skills coaching and most importantly, a new band of brothers and sisters. Sessions are held at Northeastern University but you do NOT have to be an student to attend. Workouts will ALSO be available at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA. Beginning this fall, sessions will also be held at One Constitution Wharf, Home Base’s new National Center of Excellence in the Charlestown Navy Yard.