KADENA AIR BASE, Japan: With her energetic voice, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bethany A. Watson commands the room full of cyclists from her lead stationary bicycle as they pedal vigorously in the dimly lit, music-filled exercise room at Risner Fitness Center here.
As she guides the rapidly exhausting class members through the rigorous spin workout, it becomes more and more evident: leading is in her blood. Watson is the noncommissioned officer in charge at Kadena’s First Term Airman Center, and she’s one of the first leaders new airmen meet when they arrive here for their first duty assignment. "The whole reason I came to FTAC in the first place is because I had a rough time as an airman," she said. "I wasn't focused. I didn't know what I was doing and many other things. I was just floundering. That's really why I wanted to come and do this job specifically. I just really have a heart for the airmen -- to get them started out on the right path. "
Incredible Sense of Care Air Force Master Sgt. Cedric Foster, 18th Wing career assistance advisor and Watson's supervisor, said she demonstrates an incredible sense of care with her FTAC airmen and her spin class members. "That consistent ability to care for airmen, regardless of who they are or where they work, is really phenomenal," Foster said.Watson became an FTAC instructor in July 2014 in hopes of helping airmen have a great start to their Air Force careers, she said. That same desire to help is behind her spin class instruction, she added, to set her class members on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Spin is a cardio-based workout that focuses on resistance training. The exercises are carried out on a stationary bicycle with variable resistance settings. The workout can be challenging, but to Watson, the environment makes it enjoyable. "I always love group fitness and group activities," she said. Watson has been leading the spin class since December. She was introduced to spin in 2010 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, where one of her co-workers was the instructor.Though a workout on a stationary bicycle can often seem dull, Watson said, she ensures that her workouts are quite the opposite.
Transforming Drudgery to Excitement She takes what would be a routine workout and transforms it into an enjoyable one. In the exercise room, the lights are turned down and music is played to the speed of the workout. Watson’s personality changes the environment from one of drudgery to one of excitement and friendship. "She's evolved that program," Foster said. "It's almost like a camaraderie [or] family kind of deal. I can just tell on the Tuesdays and Thursdays that they go, that people really want to be there. They look forward to being there, because it's just a different way of keeping your cardio up and staying physically fit."
Knowing that people rely on her for their physical fitness training is a great motivator, Watson said, and the camaraderie is her inspiration. "If you know that someone's counting on you to be there, like I know my class is counting on me to be there, it kind of gets you there," Watson said. "It motivates you to get there. As soon as I walk in there and I see everybody, I'm like 'Yes, let's do this!'"
Written July 17, 2015: By Air Force Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen 18th Wing
Republished and redistributed by SOT by permission of DOD