1st Cav Soldiers cross-up their fitness with ‘CrossFit’ training

By Sgt. Karl Williams, 3HBCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs

forthoodFORT HOOD, Texas – Flat on his back. Drenched with sweat. Face scrunched up in agony with moans of physical exertion escaping from his lips, Capt. Michael Keathley, assigned to Headquarter and Headquarter Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division had just completed his workout for the day, WOD, at a private gym in Belton, Texas.

The twenty-minute, two- round workout, consisted of 10, -135 pound hang power clean lifts; 10, -50 pound 100, -yard kettle bell sprints; and three rounds of ring dips, 21, 15 and 9 successive repetitions, just one out of many hundreds of “CrossFit” training WODs.

CrossFit, a fast-growing, fitness program, focuses on building up core strength and conditioning through a series of high-intensity, functional movements such as shoulder presses, dead lifts and squats.

In recent years, CrossFit’s popularity amongst Soldiers has increased. Its workouts, each named after a girl, or fallen hero, has been incorporated into traditional Army physical training programs.

Keathley from Leesville, La., said he’d plateaued using traditional global-gym-type workouts when he was introduced to the program while stationed at Fort Benning, Ga.

“CrossFit workouts are constantly varied, highly-functional movements done at high intensity. ‘Constantly varied being a workout done today may not be done again for six-months,” said Keathley, now a huge CrossFit trainer. “Your body is continually being shocked and forced to adapt to the exercises you’re doing.”

Keathley described CrossFit workouts as difficult and one that requires mental toughness to push beyond the pain in order to finish. It’s similar to a combat situation Soldiers may find themselves in downrange, in which they’ll have to push themselves beyond normal physical limits to accomplish the mission at hand.

The workouts are scalable and adaptable so that anyone can do them, he added.

“I want to be an example for my Soldiers to emulate,” said 1st Lt. Maria Ige, a platoon leader with Headquarter and Headquarter Company, 4th Brigade Special Troop Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. “I can’t talk to them about scoring 300 points on the PT test if I can’t do it.”

Ige of Killen, Texas said she enjoys CrossFit workout because it’s a “total body” workout that combines cardio, strength and muscular endurance.

There’s a lot of potential for improvement using CrossFit workouts versus more traditional exercise routines, she added.

Sgt 1st Class George Brace, of French Lick, Ind., had been suffering from back problems. Said CrossFit workouts have helped him strengthen his core muscles, which has aided in alleviating his back pain.

Brace, an Infantryman in Company A, Division Special Troop Battalion, 1st Cav. Div. said he was pushing 240 pounds when he started the CrossFit program more than two-months ago, and he’s happily down to 205 pounds.

Brace credits the CrossFit workout program and CrossFit nutrition with his weight loss.

“The CrossFit workout literally whips you into shape and quick.” Brace said. “If you got what it takes to stick it out, it can become addictive, and you’ll look forward to your next workout.”

The Fort Hood Wellness Center holds CrossFit workouts Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays. For additional information about Centurion CrossFit Fort Hood, contact the staff at The Wellness Center on 33rd Street and Old Ironsides Ave, Bldg 12018, 287-5586 or log on at www.crossfitforthood.com.