The end of U.S. military operations in Iraq will have an effect on many of the military services’ fitness departments in 2012, according to Lisa Sexauer, commander of fitness, sports and deployed forces, Navy.

“With the end of operations in Iraq, we anticipate buying less, and we do so with pride,” Sexauer says about the Navy. “We have serviced sailors in that area of operation now for 10 years, and seeing that diminish is a good thing. Service members spent 10 long years on that mission, and it will be a joy to see more of them home. We will continue to support all forward deployed units, as we have in the past. We just anticipate a lower volume.”

With less fitness equipment buying, where will the military spend the money that it gets in fiscal year 2012? At least for the Navy, some of that money will go to building and renovating fitness facilities, as the Navy has received substantial funding to support fitness infrastructure renovations during the last three years. Many of the projects that have been in the design and contracting stages should come to fruition this year, Sexauer says.

Even though spending on equipment will be lower in the Navy, Sexauer sees a trend in the type of equipment being purchased, saying it leans more now towards equipment that allows more natural movements rather than traditional selectorized machines.

In addition to that, equipment now has more technology advancements that allow for a variety of options, such as programs that guide users while they are on equipment or that are interactive on the Internet.

“While we don't anticipate the latter in many of our fitness centers, we will reap the benefits of more interactive user interfaces and structured guidance provided by the equipment,” Sexauer says.

One of the biggest projects for the Navy in 2012 will be modifying its Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS) and creating three new workout series for it that will include strength, endurance and a series for austere environments with minimal to no equipment, Sexauer says. Each will include specific recommendations for any special dietary requirements.

Navy Fitness also launched a website and released the NOFFS iPhone app to leverage technology as much as possible to deliver quality training information and programs to sailors, she says.

All the military branches are working together to develop a family fitness program that likely will be released in fiscal year 2012, Sexauer says.