Want that summer beach body? The HAWC can help

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- With summertime in full swing, the ideal "bathing suit body" is on a lot of minds, and sometimes PT and personal fitness plans just don't cut it. Fortunately, Mountain Home Air Force Base offers a resource to military members and dependents to improve their health and help them feel more confident in warm-weather attire.

The 366th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Health and Wellness Center, located in the base fitness center, provides classes, counseling and more to steer Airmen and their families to a healthier track and better fitness.

According to HAWC Health Promotion Manager and Director Mark Tschampl, services include several courses on weight management and health, a smoking cessation program, individual sessions with diet and exercise specialists and the Bod Pod -- a state-of-the-art pressurized chamber designed to determine body composition and pinpoint body fat percentage.

"The Bod Pod gets a lot of attention here on base," said Tschampl. "The reason it's such a great tool is because it gives us a starting point; it tells us where an individual is at."

Tschampl said from there, it's much easier to use the rest of the HAWC's resources to help an individual slim down, bulk up or simply improve overall health.

"That's the perfect starting point for us to go into a nutrition counseling session or a fitness counseling session and design a program for that individual that's going to be the most effective for them," Tschampl explained.

Whether an active Airman, a sedentary spouse or something in between, the staff at the HAWC are certain they can help improve overall health and accomplish fitness goals.

Trish Stephens, 366th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Heath and Wellness Center nutritionist, holds up some of her dietary visual aids in the Fitness Center at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, June 26, 2013. Stephens provides one-on-one and group nutrition counseling for free to military members and their dependents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse) "It's rare when I can't help people lose weight," said dietician Trish Stephens. "Everybody, even the savviest, can talk about fitness and nutrition with us."

But Stephens explained that weight loss isn't necessarily what Airmen and their families should strive for, even for those looking to get in shape for the summer.

"It's lifestyle changes; it's not about weight loss. Weight loss is just a by-product," she said.

Stephens encouraged potential clients to use the HAWC as often as necessary to stay on the right track toward better health.

"If they need to come see me five days a week for the first month, so what? That's why we're here," she explained.

From a client's very first visit through the last, Tschampl and Stephens emphasized the importance of motivation and personal responsibility. They said the feelings of accomplishment earned by using HAWC resources are often as rewarding as the physical changes because clients truly create their own upgraded physiques.

"We might have helped [the clients] but ultimately it was they who succeeded," said Tschampl, "and that's very motivating for a lot of people."

Rick Myhre, 366th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Heath and Wellness Center physiologist, performs an overhead squat in the Fitness Center at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, June 26, 2013. Myhre helps Airmen become more physically fit through exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse) That motivation is key to seeing changes and can mean the difference between temporary fixes and long-term results when paired with HAWC resources.

"We will never show somebody a quick way to lose weight or a quick way to get big," said Tschampl, emphasizing the HAWC's fitness focus. "The business we're in is health and that's sustainable for life."

Though clients may arrive at the HAWC with short-sighted fitness plans, the staff and resources make so much more possible.

With services, classes and progress-tracking tools like the Bod Pod available year-round, the HAWC makes it easy to achieve the perfect beach body and beyond.