AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq --
As days go by, more and more people across the United States are becoming a part of the CrossFit craze. CrossFit, which is a fairly new concept in physical fitness, is a strength and conditioning program that deals with functional movement, or movements that are common in a person’s everyday life.
Greg Glassman, the founder and chief executive officer of CrossFit, as well as four CrossFit headquarters instructors, spent two days aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, to certify close to 50 deployed Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen as CrossFit level one trainers, Dec. 12-13, 2009.
“There was a paper [approved] by Gen. [James F.] Amos about two years ago calling for functional physical fitness for the Marine Corps,” explained Glassman. “We’re just here to fulfill that charter – to bring functional fitness to the Corps.”
According to Glassman, the level one certification focuses on nine fundamental movements that are at the heart of functional training. Service members sat in on classes to learn about the concepts and movements involved in CrossFit and then split into four groups outside to practice what they had learned.
“I love [working with service members] because they’re usually really excited about it,” said Miranda Oldroyd, a CrossFit headquarters trainer, who also co-owns a gym in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband. “A lot of the time, when we do civilian certifications, they’re there because they want to look good, but when we know it might help someone save someone’s life or something like that, it’s a lot more meaningful.”
Though she has trained many service members in the U.S., this is the first time Oldroyd has taught them overseas.
“This is an awesome opportunity, and I jumped at the chance. People thought I was crazy, but how often do you get to do something like this?”
After two days of endless squats and presses, the service members were officially qualified as level one CrossFit instructors.
“I’m really pumped that these guys got to come out and qualify all of us,” said Sgt. Robert Pittenridge, a civil-military operations engagement chief with Multi National Force - West. “Most of us have been doing CrossFit as part of our workout routine for a little while now, but now that we’re certified as instructors, we can bring that same level of fitness to other Marines.”