What’s better than breaking a serious sweat at well equipped, safe and clean gyms? Working out at said gyms fo freeeeeee.
Fort Riley has about a half dozen gyms on post where soldiers and family members can workout at no cost. Just flash your CAC or DEERS card to the person at the front desk and you’re in.
Each gym has something different to offer. So whether you’re into CrossFit style workouts, strictly cardio, heavy lifting, group classes or even swimming, you’ll have a great workout on post.
King Field House
King is the main gym on post, and is located in Historic Main Post just off the main road that takes you to the Henry Gate. It sort of looks like a castle from the outside since it’s built from limestone brick and is one of the older buildings on post. In fact, it used to be an indoor equine training facility. It has since been turned into a two-story gym complete with a basketball court, racquetball courts, TRX equipment, spacious weight room, pull-up bars, rowing machines and a huge cardio room. It also has large locker rooms complete with saunas.
King is an old building with older equipment. Think prison yard chic. And let’s be honest, during the summer the weight room smells like a sweaty sock that’s been shoved in a teenage boy’s armpit. However, it’s got everything you need to get a serious workout in.
Right and Up Tip: King is typically where more of the serious lifters go, but don’t let those meat-heads intimidate you! I hear they’re really just gentle giants. Unless you’re there during peak busy times (6-8 am, 11am-1pm, 5-7pm) you’ll never have to wait to use equipment. King also has a family fitness room where you can bring your kids.
Whitside Fitness Center
Whitside opened in 2015, which of course means it’s the nicest of all the gyms. It’s also where the group classes like spin and zumba are held. It’s got a climbing wall, indoor track, basketball courts and a wide variety of equipment available.
It’s safe to say Whitside is the more “spouse friendly” of the gyms since it’s cleaner and has more to offer outside of traditional weightlifting equipment. If you’re interested in classes, check the Fort Riley MWR page for a schedule and details on purchasing passes.
Right and Up Tip: The cardio and weight room share the same space on the first floor. While the weight room area is very nice and clean, it’s tight on space and only has one of certain pieces of equipment, unlike Kings where you’ll find duplicates.
Long Fitness Center
Long, which underwent a $3.3 million renovation in 2010, is almost never busy and has everything you’d expect in the average gym. It’s also where you’ll find the 19,000-square foot indoor lap pool. Long also has racquetball courts, weight and cardio room (they share the same space) and an open area perfect for stretching.
Long is also where the Fort Riley combatives team trains, so you’ll find a huge room complete with punching bags, large matted floor space and even a cage.
Right and Up Tip: This gym is ideal if you prefer privacy when you work out since, on any given day, there’s never more than a handful of people in there working out. Also, best of luck scheduling the pool for unit PT. They require a “memo of request” 2 weeks in advance and you have to provide 2x trained lifeguards. Not typical practice for on-post pools, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Craig Fitness Center
Craig’s biggest attraction is its Crossfit-style, Mission Essential Fitness workout area. Picture a huge room (formerly a basketball court) filled with squat racks, barbell, kettle bells, bumper plates and so on. It’s also got TRX equipment, push sleds and even a small climbing wall. It’s also got a weight room and cardio room, but they’re smaller than the ones at the other gyms.
Right and Up Tip: During Physical Training (PT) hours, this gym is packed. So if you’re a spouse who wants to break a sweat here, it’s best to go in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
Leonard Fitness Center
Leonard has more cardio equipment and traditional weightlifting equipment, and a small functional fitness area. It’s a bit bigger than Kings, and it’s all on one floor and in one huge room.
Right and Up Tip: Like Craig, this gym is slammed during PT hours. So if you’d prefer a less crowded gym, hit this place up later in the morning or in the afternoon. It’s actually known to be pretty empty during lunch as well.
Robinson Fitness Center
Google and Apple maps won’t recognize the address (7832 Hale Street), but despite what Siri and her rude self says, Robinson Fitness Center does exist. It’s located on a cross street between Normandy and Apennines Drive just behind the Dominos and near Warrior Zone.
To the right of the front entrance you’ll find tons of traditional weightlifting equipment and at least three dozen cardio machines sharing the huge main space. This gym scores major patriotic points because of the enormous American flag that’s on the wall. The Hammer Strength equipment is clean and new (compared to King Field House anyway) and, because the room is so huge, you won’t feel claustrophobic like you might at Long. Plus, the equipment is bright red because Robinson is technically the DIVARTY (Division Artillery) gym.
On the left side is a small room that holds several sit-up benches, two Roman Chairs and a few other random machines (they’re not red, so maybe that’s why they can’t hang out with the other equipment in the main room). Just beyond that is a larger room that features about a half dozen power racks and other CrossFit style equipment.
Right and Up Tip: Since this gym is soldier-friendly because of its location on Custer Hill, spouses may prefer going at times other than PT hours, lunchtime or in the evening to avoid the (real or imagined) “What’s a spouse doing here?” looks.
About the Author
Rachel is an Auburn grad (War Damn Eagle!) and holds a degree in journalism. While working as a sports writer covering the Tigers, she met a cute, tall officer stationed at Fort Benning. A few margaritas, conversations about why a no-huddle offense is superior and 18 months later, they got married. They have PCS’d to Fort Huachuca, Fort Riley and will soon head to Washington DC. They have a ridiculously adorable son named Gavin and two furry children, Jeter and Lilly.