Through Airmen's Eyes: FTAC instructor by day, Spin instructor by night
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- With her energetic voice, she commands the group as they pedal vigorously in the dimly lit, music-filled exercise room.
As she guides the rapidly exhausting class members through the rigorous Spin workout from her lead stationary bicycle, it becomes more and more evident: leading is in her blood.
This instructor doesn't just lead the Spin class; she's also the First Term Airman Center NCO in charge at Kadena and one of the first leadership impressions new Airmen receive after arriving at their first duty station.
"The whole reason I came to FTAC in the first place is because I had a rough time as an Airman," said Tech. Sgt. Bethany A. Watson, who first became an FTAC instructor in July 2014. "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. "
Master Sgt. Cedric Foster, 18th Wing Career Assistance Advisor and Watson's supervisor, said the NCO in charge demonstrates an incredible sense of care with her FTAC Airmen as well as 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 said she first applied for the FTAC position because she wanted to help Airmen have a great start to their Air Force careers, and the same can be said for her instruction of the Spin class. She wants to set her class members and anyone interested in attending the hour-long exercise regimen on the proper path to a healthy lifestyle.
Spin, a form of exercise which focuses on resistance training, is just the cardio-based workout to do just that; the exercises are carried out on a stationary bicycle with different resistance settings that allow for minimal or maximum resistance.
The workout can be challenging, but to Watson, the environment makes it enjoyable.
"I always love group fitness and group activities," said Watson. Watson has been leading her Spin class since December 2014. She was first introduced to Spin at McDill Air Force Base in 2010 when one of her coworkers was the instructor. She loved Spin from that time on. It was her love of Spin and the desire to help others' physical fitness that inspired Watson to begin teaching the class at the Risner Fitness Center.
Though a workout on a stationary bicycle can often seem dull, Watson ensures that her workouts are quite the opposite.
Watson takes what would be an ordinarily routine exercise 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 changes the environment from one of drudgery to one of excitement and friendship.
"She's evolved that program," said Foster. "It's almost like a camaraderie, 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."
This camaraderie is an inspiration for Watson to continue teaching the class. Because she has regulars who attend her class consistently, knowing that people are relying on her for their physical fitness training is a great motivator.
"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," said Watson. "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!'"
Another motivation for Watson's instruction is the lack of time people often find for exercising. She understands this time constraint and tries to make her class available to busy people.
"I know everyone struggles with it (fitness) so much," said Watson. "As moms and single people too, they have a hard time too because they are going to school, volunteering, and all these things; and it's just one thing to help people."
Watson offers her classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:45-5:45 p.m. She also has class on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. Anyone interested in attending can visit the OkiSpinning Facebook page or ask the Risner Fitness Center front desk attendants about the class.