Grafenwoehr Physical Fitness Center begins highly-praised exercise program

By Amy Newcomb (USAG Grafenwoehr)

grafGRAFENWOEHR, Germany – The U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Physical Fitness Center is now harboring new equipment and, chances are, you a growing number of people have been using it. This new equipment has been placed in the USAG Grafenwoehr PFC for those dedicated to ‘CrossFitting.’

CrossFit is a principal strength and conditioning program that began with former gymnast Greg Glassman, who posted daily workout routines on the web. These routines are used by police officers, firefighters and now, the Grafenwoehr military community.

In February, Installation Management Command Europe’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports hosted a quarterly meeting where sports directors were introduced to CrossFit. This is where director of MWR Fitness and Sports for USAG Grafenwoehr, Serge Kearse, attended orientation for the CrossFit Program.

“After going through the orientation, I was really interested in getting the (CrossFit) program started in Grafenwoehr,” Kearse said.

Kearse, with funds from MWR, put in a work request to upgrade an area of the basketball court in the Grafenwoehr PFC with equipment and supplies required to start the CrossFit Program. MWR also provided the funding for two registered volunteers certified to teach CrossFit classes.

The volunteers were trained with the understanding “that they come back to this garrison and provide free training to our Soldiers, family members and authorized civilians,” Kearse said.

The first orientation of CrossFit to the USAG Grafenwoehr community, Aug. 15, certified CrossFit instructors Cpt. Jason Mulligan and Shannon Linville and introduced the equipment and exercises to eager participants.

While the USAG Grafenwoehr PFC was set up to accommodate 15 during orientation, the number grew to 33 attendees. The unexpected turnout had Mulligan and Linville excited for the program.

“I wish I would have learned this earlier because I look back now and I’m thinking all of those step classes I taught, everything else I do … why didn’t I just do this, it incorporates your whole body and we are just glad that we can now spread it,” Linville said.

Mulligan and Linville began the Workout of the day, or ‘WOD’ as CrossFitters call it, after they showing the class how to perform each exercise correctly and efficiently. As the class rotated around the different stations, participantd noted that this was not a normal workout routine.

Participant Tina Ferguson said she had worked out for years with a pieced-together routine but the CrossFit Orientation gave her something new to think about.

“CrossFit was different … it was explosive and very intense, the workout was short but delivered results that I haven’t felt with my normal workouts,” Ferguson said. “I would have to say I thought I was in shape before this orientation (but) this class made me feel every minute of the workout.”

The CrossFit Program measures fitness in 10 steps: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance; stamina; strength; flexibility; power; speed; coordination; agility; balance and accuracy. The diversity of this program is what delivers results according to active CrossFitters.

Besides fitness routines, the CrossFit Program also measures its success by offering information on Nutrition, the foundation of becoming fit.

At the end of orientation, Linville stressed the importance of nutritional value. Without eating properly, “you only get half the results,” Linville said. Part of eating healthy is to cut out Trans and Saturated Fats but to make sure that Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats are still part of a regular diet. “You only want to fuel your muscle, you do not want to feed your fat” Linville said.

Not only does the intake of fats need to be controlled but eating raw vegetable and fruits instead of processed food are a good way to start. “If it’s in the center isles of the commissary then you probably shouldn’t eat it” Mulligan said.

The number of devotees to CrossFit routines and nutritional guidelines are growing around the globe and so are number of PFCs that offer CrossFit equipment and programs.

Mulligan has been a dedicated CrossFitter for 3 years and his ultimate goal is to participate in the 2011 CrossFit games. “This is the third (CrossFit game) and it is just blowing up … a good indication of the growth of the program: in 2005 there was about 110 CrossFit PFCs … today there is over 1,200,” Mulligan said.

Both Mulligan and Linville will continue to become certified in all aspects of CrossFit. Their enthusiasm and personal results from CrossFitting is a good indication for the future of this new fitness program.

“If I could go to the highest mountain and yell on a megaphone what people could do to get in stupid-good shape … CrossFit,” Mulligan said. “The cool thing is that it’s for everybody.”

The Grafenwoehr PFC is currently offering CrossFit classes two times a week on Monday and Wednesday at 6 p.m. “We encourage everyone to go through this training as the class provides good information about the (CrossFit) program and proper exercise techniques are demonstrated,” Kearse said.

Sign up for classes have begun but are limited to 10 participants on a first-come first-serve basis. “Depending on the availability of the instructor we are looking at adding another class per week … however, the CrossFit area is open for everyone to use,” Kearse said.

MWR has also planned to expand the CrossFit Program to Vilseck Rose Barracks Fitness Center and are working on converting the racquetball court into a CrossFit area.