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    CrossFit sweeps the Sinai

    CrossFit sweeps the Sinai

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Duval | U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Bobb, Finance Officer for the 1st Support Battalion, Task...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval  

    Task Force Sinai

    EL GORAH, Egypt - Since being introduced more than a decade ago, the intense fitness regimen “CrossFit” has taken over individual workouts and even entire gyms across the U.S. Despite heavy criticism from outsiders and curious onlookers, the program’s popularity has continued to capture the attention of both supporters and critics alike.

    While those who cling to traditional free-weight training have looked to discredit the program’s techniques and overall effectiveness, the community of followers has continued to expand all over the world. Recently, Egypt became part of that list as Soldiers deployed to the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Multinational Force and Observers, box-jumped their way onto the bandwagon.

    Since arriving to the Sinai last year, team CrossFit Sinai led by Capt. Dustin Donofry, has evolved from being a small group in the corner of the gym to a large formation of Soldiers lifting, flipping and bouncing their way to better health.

    “When you first join you will get the smoking of your life, but then you will come back for more… when you can walk again,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Johnson, a combat medic with the Minnesota National Guard’s 204th Area Support Medical Company.

    Although the intensity of the workouts are enough to scare even the most experienced fitness fanatic the aim of the program according to CrossFit.com, isn’t to frighten enthusiast but instead to “forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness” by optimizing performance through high intensity functional movements.

    How intense do the workouts get? Well, according to Donofry, it’s up to the individual.

    “The great thing is that intensity, measured by work performed, is the main modifiable factor for the workouts,” said Donofry, the physical therapist for Task Force Sinai and the MFO. “This allows everyone participating to be challenged according to their fitness level and to continually improve throughout the year.”

    ‘Improve’ is the key word for Donofry and his teammates who hope to overcome the misconception that success is defined by those who can bench-press the most or who has the biggest biceps.

    “Doing CrossFit isn’t going to make you the fastest runner, the most powerful olympic lifter or the guy with the biggest bench press,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Bobb. “This program will improve your overall fitness by building an overall capacity and being able to adapt too many different challenges.”

    “We want our people to be able to carry their friend out of a burning building rather than show off their biceps on the beach,” Donofry added, echoing his battle buddy.

    Like Bobb and Donofry- Johnson, a ten-year Army Veteran, joined not to lose weight or train for competitions but instead to improve her overall efficiency in performing the physical requirements of her job as a combat medic.

    “When I first started I was looking for a workout that would prepare me for being a medic in the military,” said Johnson. “As a medic you are supposed to be able to carry a wounded Soldier while in full battle rattle…CrossFit helps you get the strength you need to do that. Someone can’t say ‘well you can’t carry me’ instead you can run over there pick them up and say ‘well yes I can’.”

    Since beginning the regimen in 2013, Johnson said she feels more confident in her abilities to perform her duties as a medic. She also suggests while there are plenty of doubters and naysayers the results don’t lie.

    “In two months I improved my squats by 40 pounds and my deadlifts by 60 pounds… there’s no doubt I’m stronger than I was and no doubt it works,” Johnson added.

    Although the success of the Sinai-based team is constructed by stories like Johnson’s it does not rest solely on their performance inside the gym. Instead the team’s owner said their success is measured by the growing number of participants. Just recently members of Canada and Colombia became the latest peacekeepers to join team Sinai.

    “CrossFit is successful because of its accessibility and community environment,” Bobb said. “There’s power in the group atmosphere and everyone is here to grow and watch the other members succeed and it doesn’t matter what country, age group or background you come from.”

    Whether overcoming critics or the formidable “workouts of the day”, commonly referred to as WOD’s, CrossFit Sinai has proven they are prepared to overcome any challenge and show no sign of slowing down.

    “Every day I progress and I learn things I would have said were impossible before I started CrossFit,” Bobb added. “I’ll be doing CrossFit the rest of my life.”



    Date Taken: 02.02.2015
    Date Posted: 02.02.2015 08:26
    Story ID: 153268
    Location: EL GORAH, EG

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