News: Alaska guardsmen keep in shape with CrossFit
Story by Balinda O'Neal
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Riding the wave of its popularity, volunteers from the Alaska National Guard are reaching out to guardsmen, families and friends to get them hooked on a new model of physical fitness dubbed CrossFit.
The global fitness revolution that CrossFit promotes builds strength and conditioning through constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements. It’s this model of fitness that prompted one Alaska guardsman to bring the program to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
“Last year, I injured my shoulder while training for the Iron Dog,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Lawendowski, Alaska Army National Guard 907 CrossFit instructor. “After my initial recovery, I discovered CrossFit, fell in love with it and thought the Guard needs to be a part of this.”
The 907 CrossFit program is offered to all guardsmen, their families and friends at no cost. Sgt. 1st Class Jarrent Carson, Recruiting and Retention, Alaska Army National Guard, said the program is aimed at getting soldiers into shape and even improving the fitness levels of Soldiers who are already in great shape.
“CrossFit is a work out designed to maximize your cardio and muscular endurance,” Carson said. “The program is designed for any committed individual from marathon runners to powerlifters.”
Physical strength and conditioning is mission essential for soldiers and airmen, and Alaska National Guardsmen are already seeing the benefits of the program.
“My endurance has bumped up, speed, everything,” said Pfc. Dylan Hotrum, Recruiting and Retention, Alaska Army National Guard. “I’ve seen major improvements on my physical fitness tests, and I’m looking good.”
CrossFit accommodates for individuals’ fitness levels by offering three classes with different intensities.
“The novice class really concentrates on form,” Carson said. “You start out with a very light rep and work up to the prescribed weight. It slowly allows you to walk into the program without hurting yourself.”
Workouts are measured by completion time. This enables individuals to track their progress and compete with one another.
“You find yourself racing against other people,” Hotrum said. “It’s competitive, and I push myself through this insane workout.”
Cohesion is built by guardsmen spotting and pushing each other through exercises that are by design broad, general and inclusive.
“You won’t get the same feeling with other workouts,” Hotrum said. “Even though you’re in pain now, it’s worth it when you see results, and it feels like a huge accomplishment when you’re done.”
The CrossFit motto is “stronger than yesterday,” which can apply to any individual who wants to improve his or her fitness level.
The 907 CrossFit program offers 6 a.m. advanced, 6:30 a.m. open and 7 a.m. novice classes Monday through Friday at Hanger 5 on Joint-Base Elmendorf Richardson.