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A service member uses thick heavy ropes to work out at the High Intensity Tactical Training Facility aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Feb. 1. The gym uses unconventional equipment not usually found in traditional gyms to get service members in shape and improve stamina.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

HITT gym takes different approach to gym exercise

20 Dec 2010 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

To many the word gym brings to mind an endless row of treadmills, countless exercise bikes and free weights stacked against the walls. The High Intensity Tactical Training Gym however, is something totally different.

The HITT gym, is full of equipment that can serve a wide variety of purposes.

“We have TRX suspension training ropes, kettle bells, running parachutes and weighted vests,” said Kellie Clements, the HITT center manager. “Our vision is to have this be a place Marines can come to train in a manner that can help them become mission ready and allow them to run long distances and carry a heavy load without getting fatigued easily.”

The HITT Gym is the first of its kind in the military, and is by some, not considered a gym, but a tactical training facility.

“You won’t see an elliptical or a treadmill here, we focus on functional and tactical fitness,” said Clements. “We teach the body how to move properly and use the body weight instead of traditional weights. You can get an intense workout in 20 minutes or less. It’s something many gyms can’t offer.”

Already, the facility is receiving popular reviews by its patrons. Many say they enjoy the rustic feel and the feeling of being broken off, with tires, thick ropes, medicine balls and sandbags. At times it’s been called a man’s gym.

“But it’s not just a man’s gym, many women come here and they enjoy being ‘broken off,’” added Clements.

Occasionally, service members may come in thinking their big biceps can handle kettle bell training or running with a parachute attached to their waist but they are quickly proven wrong.

“I’ve had huge men come in and pick up a 20 pound kettle bell and in less than 20 minutes, are panting,” said Clements. “It’s not about how big you are, it’s about muscular conditioning. We also offer a workout of the day which is posted up for everyone to see and hold kettle bell classes in the facility.”

The HITT Gym is also home to the Mobile Training Unit, which is quite literally a HITT Gym on wheels. Most of the things in the facility can be easily loaded up and taken to Marines at various locations around the base.

Marines can call the gym and if they have a group of 25 or more participants, the Mobile Training Unit is willing to load up and meet with them to exercise.

For service members who wish to exercise with the MTU but don’t have 25 or more participants, a website is being developed which will show them where and when the MTU will be holding their physical training session.

The HITT Gym is open Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information or to schedule a session with the Mobile Training Unit call 451-0826, or visit