News: Staying fit while deployed
Story by Capt. Tania Donovan
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Staying fit can be a challenge for some, staying fit while deployed is a whole other story that only those serving overseas are able to tell.
Capt. Jacob Czekanski, electronic warfare support officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, has taken the challenge of staying fit while deployed head-on. The 17th Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Battery deployed to Kuwait in April 2014. The deployment will last approximately nine months and that’s just long enough to fall terribly out of shape or train to stay in incredibly good shape.
“My philosophy on physical fitness while deployed is simply there are no excuses not to get better. I treat the time I’m away from home as an opportunity to immerse myself in the activities that life in garrison sometimes impedes,” Czekanski said. “When I’m deployed I can prioritize my workouts against when I have to be at work without feeling like I’m taking away from family time. That being said, there are no excuses not to get better.”
Being deployed is busy and demanding and maintaining a balance is particularly important during this time. Czekanski has chosen to focus on muscular endurance and strength, “being deployed with the Brigade headquarters has given me a fair amount of latitude with the workouts I do and Camp Arifjan has a good selection of fitness centers and opportunities to diversify physical fitness,” Czekanski said.
Fitness while deployed is about motivation and discipline. Czekanski, who was recently voted as “CrossFit Arifjan’s Athlete of the Month,” has managed to inspire not only himself but others in the unit to do their best and seek the balance that staying fit while deployed will bring them.
“I have always enjoyed running ever since my cross-country days in high school, so I begin my day with some form of cardio. Typically I’ll run three times a week with one of those days wearing my body armor with all plates and pouches. Runs are usually between three and six miles,” Czekanski said. “I’ll also swim forty laps, just over a mile, in the pool twice a week. Finally, whenever there’s an MWR road race I try to compete. I enjoy the competition and strive to finish in the top ten.”
There are plenty of excuses that could be used not to stay in shape while deployed; it is a stressful and challenging time away from family and a time which lacks the comfort of our daily routine back at home. Czekanski, however, is determined to balance his professional duties and his personal well-being.
“I try to share [my philosophy] with my peers, who may have more stressful positions than I do but need to take time for themselves just as much,” Czekanski said. “At the end of the day, deployed or not deployed, my wife and I try to live an active life and want our daughter to embrace fitness and health as she grows older, at six she can do burpees and enjoys running on the indoor track at the local gym.”