From left, Nicole Leth, Armed Forces Wellness center lead educator; and health educators Kellie Hundemer and Amber Scharbo next to the Bod Pod.


By Paul Lara, Belvoir Eagle

Many on Fort Belvoir stand to benefit from the new Armed Forces Wellness Center, slated for a May 18th virtual opening, according to AFWC lead health educator Nicole Leth.

“The great thing about the virtual opening is that it will allow a lot more people to participate in the event, and everyone can participate with us,” Leth said. “We provide health and wellness services for active duty of all branches, family, veterans, retirees, and DoD civilians – anyone eligible for benefits – they can come in and see us.”

Body Composition Testing

“We will have the bod pod in the new building,” she said, explaining that “It measures your body fat and lean mass percentages, which is important to understand whether it’s a healthy range or excessive.”

Metabolic Testing

Measuring exhalation, they can get an accurate reading of a person’s resting metabolic rate, and then calculate how many calories are being burned during exercise. That information can tell you how many calories it takes to lose, maintain or lose weight, along with an understanding of how to hit that goal.

Health Coaching and Stress Management

The new center has a classroom, and for a first visit, Leth said they will cover basics of calorie expenditure, sleep, and diet.

 “Sometime they don’t know what their goals are. It helps to take that hour and just talk about sleep, stress, activity, and decide what assessment is best for them,” said Leth. “We want people to leave feeling motivated and fired up. We want to build a relationship and figure out their barriers to success.”

The wellness center has two dedicated stress management rooms, with elaborate massage chairs, and the team can monitor heart rate variability, and learn the benefits of deep breathing.


Karen Shepherd, the supervisory sports specialist at Specker Fieldhouse, said the renovations will be completed this summer, and will play a collaborative role with the Wellness Center, especially for helping everyone prepare for the Army Combat Fitness Test.

“I’m a tactile strength coach, and our focus is strength and conditioning, and all the things necessary for people to be prepared on ACFT,” Shepherd said.

“When we collaborate with Belvoir as a whole – behavioral health, fitness, I think we can ensure overall wellness is being captured in that; not just the physical aspect. If I can change the way you think about your Army status and overall wellness, mobility, and stability, we can help you build up a good foundation so you can move forward in whatever the Army has in store for you,” Shepherd said, adding that “We’re doing what we can do to help the warfighter. That’s our mission”

The Wellness Center would be happy to help you with your unit, or work with anyone individually. For more information, email or call 571-231-1323.