Tuesday, February 1, 2011



The only sanctioned after hours establishment at COB Adder is our gym which stays open 24/7 and does a good job of meeting the needs of a garrison in a combat zone.  Before I arrived, the gym held a contest for the best name for the gym and some creative soldier came up with the brilliant and winning suggestion:  "The House of Pain" which described it perfectly.  Soldiers have to continuously meet physical training standards so one of the first semi-permanent structures that gets built at a base, even in a combat zone, is a gym.  Although aerobic training is also emphasized at a military gym, weight training is more popular and is taken very seriously.

The army actually tries to encourage aerobic training and their Physical Training Test rates soldiers only  for push-ups, sit-ups and a two mile run.  In addition to encouraging aerobic exercise rather than weight lifting, the medical providers try to discourage the use of the ubiquitous body building supplements. However, the demand is enormous and the PX clearly devotes more shelf space for body building supplements than any other product.  Although the products they sell are legal I've seen them cause many medical problems and I discourage their use but I know my comments rarely have any effect.  The bottom line is that many soldiers take their body building (not to mention their tattoos) very seriously.  Military bases used to be able to show movies which were very well attended but now that everybody can watch DVDs on their computers nobody is going to go out to a tent to watch a movie so the gym is by far the most widely used recreational facility. 

Just a few days before I arrived a rocket hit one of the blast walls surrounding the House of Pain.  Fortunately the blast wall absorbed most of the blast but a fair amount of debris came crashing through the roof and there were a few minor injuries.  The damage was quickly repaired and The House of Pain was soon back in business and more popular than ever.  In the case of "The House of Pain" the rocket attack gave it even more of a macho image and if you wanted to be cool that was the place to be.  Besides, we have no other choices anyway.

Weight lifting area at The House of Pain. Weight Lifting Goes on 24/7.


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