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Army spouse trains servicemembers, opens gym

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Be Better Gym is heavy into kettlebells. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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You would never know it from looking at her, but Susan Moore used to be out of shape. After getting married nearly 20 years ago, she went on birth control that caused her to gain weight. She stopped the medicine, but ended up pregnant. Twice.

"I was heavy for several years," she said, "and by then I was just lazy."

A visit to a doctor following a torn meniscus about 10 years ago was all it took to get her motivated.

"My fat doctor told me I needed to lose weight, which pissed me off," she said. "He also told me I would never ride a bike or squat or run again - none of which I ever really did anyway - but that's all it took for me to actually do it.

"I started getting in shape immediately, because I just couldn't have someone tell me that I couldn't do something."

Moore tried the conventional route at first - cardio and watching what she ate. She joined Weight Watchers, but was eventually asked to leave because she vocalized her disdain with its philosophy at meetings.  "We're all fat because we eat too (f---ing) much," she said. "And counting points forever is just not a way to live."

So Moore began her own program. "I hated working out," she said. "I tried to figure out ways for it to go as fast as possible, so I started to put together circuits that were not only for every body part, but also for all ranges of motion. I didn't want to leave anything out, and I wanted it over as quickly as possible."

She lost 70 lbs. Once she got going,  "it was pretty hard to stop," she said. "I got kind of good at program development and decided that I was going to be a trainer."

Since her husband is in the Army, she started to focus her efforts on training members of the military, who she says aren't taught how to work out correctly.

"None of them have any PT education," Moore said. "There are more days lost because of injury in PT than because of illness or injury in combat. It is ridiculous."

While stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, she developed a program called the "Mobile Murph."

"I was getting pissed because everyone was going downtown to do PT and paying for it," she said. " I said, ‘This is (BS). They should not be leaving post for PT. They should be doing PT with their units.'"

The sports director there agreed, and the Mobile Murph, a program in which Moore brought equipment and training to the troops, was born.

When the family was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and moved to Gig Harbor, Moore, a TRX Force Senior Instructor and HyperWear Master Trainer, began volunteering at her husband's unit once a month.

"It went over really well, so I started doing it once a week," she said. "This is my way of giving back. This is my idea of an FRG. I think we should all volunteer in a capacity where we are most valuable, and mine is not with the families. I am not the most sensitive of people, so I'm not the right person for that. There are so many other ways to be productive.

"Training should not be the end of the day. I'm not trying to teach people to be better exercisers, I'm trying to get them better at what they should be doing. I treat them like professional athletes and get them to perform. ... I have them coaching each other. That's what I'm trying to teach - how to coach effectively."

"I have noticed that the majority of the unit enjoys and practices what she teaches at PT and/or on their off time," said Maj. Kyle Bair, the unit's executive officer.

Bair also works out at Susan's small gym in Gig Harbor, "better", which she opened last November.

There she offers a variety of small-group personal classes with names like Metaholic, Hardstyle Kettlebell, Straps and Sticks, Mindful Movement and TRX Force.

"I'm a very technical trainer, and I teach a lot of skill work," she said. "I love co-coaching; I think it's a great way for people to learn the movements, and there is a great sense of camaraderie in a small group setting."

"Since joining the military eleven years ago, I have been yearning for the right program that would increase my strength and endurance in a way that would not affect my running," Bair said via email. "The gains I have made in just over sixty days is amazing ... I could not even do a handstand before, and now I not only can effectively do it, but I can almost do a one-armed handstand."

better is at 3123 56th St. NW in Gig Harbor. For more information, call 360.489.2266 or visit www.bebettergym.com/#/today or www.facebook.com/betterperiod.

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