Mar 25, 2011

Life After IronMajor CrossFit

The purpose of this weekend’s post is to generate discussion about functional fitness opportunities at varied duty stations throughout the military. With this summer’s graduates moving to locations all over the world, I hope to collect and disseminate information on facilities, equipment, training, and implementing a program.

Graduation for CGSS and SAMS 11-01 is just around the corner. PCS to new locations means many things for the military member and his/her family. Early planning is a key to effective integration into the new duty station. Topics like housing, schools for kids, upcoming training and deployments, jobs for the spouse, and PCS leave are among your most ipressing considerations.

Have you given any thought to your fitness routine? Whether you came to CGSC as a CrossFitter or picked it up while here, when you return to the force you will face a major adjustment in your fitness routine. While at CGSC you’ve had a unique opportunity with:

1) Facilities and equipment: workout in a unique facility that is well equipped.

2) Certified trainers: learn and grow from a community of like-minded practitioners.

3) Individual fitness: concern yourself with only your personal fitness i.e. you have not had responsibility for other Soldiers.

How will you address these three considerations when you leave IMCF?

Feedback from recent graduates of CGSC does not indicate a continuation of the momentum that we enjoy at IMCF. E-mail and blogs from Dave Maxwell, Ryan Wylie, Phil Brown, Mike Wagner, George Coleman and others indicate a number of challenges.

Facilities and equipment are not readily available and consolidated like the Bubble. There are at least four places to look with respect to a place to work out.

- A home gym.

- An MWR facility.

- A unit ‘gym’.

- A local affiliate.

Those of you that are PCSing this summer can start your fitness research now and share with us what you discover about facilities and equipment at your new duty station. Those of you that have already PCSd and still follow IMCF can tell us what you are experiencing at your duty station( to include OIF, OEF, HOA, etc.).

Certified trainers are abundant at IMCF across a wide range of exercises. Individually there are few who have a wide breadth of knowledge. But collectively we are very deep because we have many trainers each with varied certifications. In your next unit you may be the only CrossFit Level I Certified trainer. And if you are not Level I certified, what then? How are you going to continue to improve your mechanics and learn new exercises?  How are you going to teach and lead others?

I don’t think there is a lot of research to do on this topic. However, sharing your thoughts on how you are going to handle this obstacle are encouraged. Probably more importantly than your thoughts, are your questions about this topic. The question you ask will almost assuredly be on someone else’s mind.

Individual fitness has probably been your focus while at CGSS. There have been no platoons, companies, battalions, or staff sections to train. You have had the luxury of focusing on yourself. But that will soon change. Are you up for the task of transforming your section/unit into functional fitness experts? How are you going to do it?

Post your thoughts or you can send me an e-mail with your research and I’ll get it posted for the other guys/gals going to your same duty station. If you have documents that you’d like to share with the group I can get them posted as well. This is an opportunity to help you leave IMCF and maintain the momentum you’ve gained here and spread the value of functional fitness.


Gary said...

Rob, I spoke with you briefly the other day. MCAS Miramar has at least one Level 1 trainer. I have been told that they have a converted raquet ball court and then some weights out near a track. That is about all I know about Miramar. I do also know that at Fort Snelling in the Twin Cities of Minnesota the Marine detachment received a boat load of Crossfit stuff a couple years ago. I wasn't a "crossfitter" at that time, so it didn't mean much to me, but I played basketball with the Marines there. I also know that Fort Leonard Wood has a MOTO (Marines of the Ozarks) Crossfit affiliate. They received a similar shipment of crossfit paraphernalia to that they received in Minnesota from what I have read. My wife is a Marine, so I am sorry that is really the limit of my knowledge. There are several Marine crossfitters though and Leonard Wood might be someone's future home as an Army base.

Brian said...

The first opportunity is to share what you’ve learned with others.
Since I left Leavenworth in Dec, I’ve made the following observations wrt CrossFit:
1) It is nothing short of amazing what Dave Maxwell was able to start, and the rest of you have carried on and expanded. IMCF is awesome.
2) I have been pleasantly surprised how many people in the Navy I have come across that have been exposed to CrossFit.
3) I have been disappointed that Navy Leadership has not been as supportive of it as the Marine Corps and Army have been.
4) The number of affiliates out there is really quite impressive.

I have been travelling in a TAD status since I left. While in the Submarine Command Course, I taught all but about 4 of my classmates what I learned in the CrossFit Endurance cert. I had that opportunity because one of my classmates saw that I was running “cleaner” than the others, and started to ask me about it. Next thing you know, I was coaching again. I’ve also brought a few of my classmates to CrossFit affiliates for some firsthand exposure. While travelling, I have been able to do WODs either at local affiliates, or make do at base gyms.

Facilities: (Some, but not all of this will be unique to Navy facilities):
1) Newport Rhode Island: The Gym has a lot of functional fitness equipment, but less than a mile from the front gate is CrossFit Newport. Trainer, Holly Echevarria, was great. CFN is a small box with a great program. One of the athlete/trainers there was a founder of the Black and Gold CrossFit at West Point.
2) Pearl Harbor, HI: Joint Base Pearl/Hickam Gyms lack a lot of functional fitness equipment, but have the tools to make most WODs work. There are at least 3 boxes near the base. I got to check out CrossFit Oahu- they are a very well established box, and the only one I’ve seen that has more equipment than IMCF. They seemed very welcoming, but my schedule did not support regular WODs with them.
3) Fort Shafter and Schofield Barracks: I am told by one of my classmates that the gyms there are equipped with functional fitness gear, and there is a gathering of crossfitters at each. I have no data on area affiliates.
4) My current assignment has me in Bangor, WA. I have been to 3 of the 4 area affiliates- all are fairly new, but have great programs. Olympic CrossFit and Kitsap Crossfit are both in Poulsbo, a short drive from the main gate. Both are good size boxes, and pretty well equipped, but their trainers are great. Nick and Danielle (at Olympic) and Caroline (at Kitsap) each taught me some things that have helped my performance. The other 2 boxes are on Bainbridge Island, still a reasonable drive. I went to CrossFit 98011, where Sal and Izzy helped me understand what I’ve been doing wrong with my clean. They have a new, small box, and a very active community. Like Pearl, the base gym has enough to make most WODs work.
5) Fort Lewis is near here, about 1 hour to the south. A visit to a few of my classmates down there indicated there was a brand new affiliate out in town with a solid trainer, but they are still putting things together. On base, however, it sounds like they are well equipped, and there is a community of CrossFitters there.

The next phase of my training will be underway: I get to see how well I do at fitting in PT to my underway routine. After that are brief stops in DC and Omaha. I am told DC has a number of active affiliates, and the Pentagon has a CrossFit group that gets together for WODs. I am also told that Offut AFB (home of USSTRATCOM) has a good gym. I’ll let you know.

PS: wrt Mirimar, my classmate, CL, moved out there from Leavenworth, and planned to energize the affiliate there. I am sure he is doing good things.

rob said...

Gary & Brian - thanks for getting this started. I'm going to take the information you've provided and put it into a database and eventually hang it on the website for all to use. If you have any other basic info e.g. POC names, phone numbers, address, web site address, etc. please send them to me.

james said...

Brian - I have 10 days in DC next month and will be hitting the affiliates there (of which there is many) I will drop a quick summary on comments.

Anyone going to FT Detrick (MA) will find to there surprise that even the small town of Frederick has an affiliate probably about 3 miles from the base.

Bill said...
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Bill said...
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james said...

This guy used to CrossFit in Darwin - interesting story and interesting dude, 100lb brain and a 3 minute Fran not a normal combination

james said...

if you are a past or future (that's you guys doing the L1 this weekend)programmer then these are really beneficial

Dave Hudson said...

This will be at least as long as some of my longer posts, as I do have information to share on this subject...particularly on the "Center of the Universe," or as most people know it, Fort Bragg (and the surrounding area).

1. On-post gyms. Bragg has two gyms (Tucker in the 82nd's area, behind the "Airborne Shopette" on Ardennes and Frederick on Gruber Road on Smoke Bomb Hill/20th EN BDE area) that are not "CrossFit" gyms, per se, but CrossFit friendly and definitely designed for functional fitness, both having been refurbished in the last two years. (Both have at least 10 lifting points with nice kg plates, pullup bars, 30 rowers each, indoor turf and sleds, dynamax med balls, kettlebells, rings, foam rollers, and a few things that I've not yet seen in CF but could definitely be incorporated. Strangely, no abmats. Tucker has climbing ropes; Frederick doesn't have them, at least as of right now.) Right now, there are no military CF affiliates on Bragg (or in the Bragg area), but LOTS of Level-1 folks. (I've run in to lots just in the week I've been home.) Neal and I have spoken about starting up a military affiliate here upon our PCS here, but we'll be in need of more folks who will be available, as the OPTEMPO is pretty high. (Just ask Neal.)

2. Private affiliates in the Bragg area. There are a few different ones.

There is a CF Southern Pines (west of Bragg) - don't know anything about them, other than they are hosting an Endurance cert in November.

CrossFit Fort Bragg (private) is actually in Spring Lake (north-northeast of Bragg). I don't know much about them either, except their affiliate team won the "Dirty South" Regional last year and finished pretty high in the 2010 Affiliate Cup.

RedPoint CrossFit (on Raeford Road in Fayetteville, south of Bragg) I HAVE been to (a few times since I've been home this week). Seems like a great crew - good atmosphere, good trainers (some full-time, some part). (One of their trainers was 5th at the Dirty South Regional in 2010, just missing the cut for the games, and is sponsored by an apparel company, 2Pood.) Very welcoming, and does cater to the military crowd (though I would imagine all in the area do). (Based on my few visits it seems like they actually have more females than males, but that could have just been the days that I went.) They don't have as much equipment as IMCF, but it's not too shabby.

Also, while down in Florida, I did visit CF Revolution in Brandon, FL, near Tampa. Owner/Head Trainer (Eric Auciello) was very welcoming to me when I was doing WOD 1 of the 2011 Games Open. (He said he's only 20 minutes to "base," but I'm honestly not sure which one he was talking about, as there are multiple in the area.) He's been in business as a CF Affiliate for 5 years, so he's got a good bit of experience and helped me with my form (after the WOD). I'd highly encourage anyone to check it out if they end up at CENTCOM, SOCOM, or any of the other assignments in the Tampa area. Not as big as the Bubble, but lots of equipment. Specializes more in Oly lifts (has its own USAW club there). Also known as Phase 5 Fitness.

Kay said...

We just finished the Level 1 Cert course today, and IMCF now has a boatload (should I say MRAP-load?) of new Level 1 trainers; woo woo! Or as Greg and Rett would say, "WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" (Butt-cheeks, Rett!)

On another note, I left Fort Stewart in January, and they have two MWR gyms, Newman Gym and Caro Gym. They converted a portion of Caro to accommodate CrossFitters, and it also has the typical globo gym equipment (weight room and cardio equipment). Caro is only open Mon-Fri, and Newman is open 7-days, so that's the only drawback. Newman has equipment for CrossFit WODs, but they get mad if you do wallballs against their freshly-painted walls. Caro is not as well-equipped as IMCF; only 2 Concept2 machines, a few medicine balls, some kettlebells, a couple of rings. I don't remember a climbing rope in the gym, but there are a number of climbing ropes around the infantry barracks, although none are right outside the gym. They are still doing a bunch of construction on Stewart, so things will likely change (hopefully for the better) as time goes by.

I am not aware of any group of CF'ers who regularly get together on Stewart. However, because Stewart created the crossfit gym just recently indicates to me that there is a big enough interest in CrossFit at Stewart. Also, I didn't go there during normal PT hours, so there could be a bigger group in the mornings that do CF during PT.

Phil B said...

Great stuff by everyone, I especially appreciate Brian's feedback. One thing that I've struggled with after being spoiled at IMCF is the programming. Specifically, we have a solid community of folks that regularly contribute programming to ensure that we continue to expand our experiences. Upon leaving, I struggled with, "do I program for myself, unwittingly including my bias and comfort zones?", mainsite, CFE? I wish I've solved that problem, but I still bounce back and forth, based on some goals I have later in the summer/early fall. For those that are new, the programming may be transparent, and it's been a work in progress, especially in the early couple of years, but I'd put the IMCF recent programming up against almost any affiliate. Effective programming is the means to achieve your IWCABTMD. Miss ya'll!

Dave Hudson said...

Phil B in the house! Still in the RP? Hope that the MIS folks over there are providing what you need. (Let me know if they're not and who they are - I'm not even sure - and I'll crack some skulls.)

Ahmad Adullah said...

This was a good suggestion that you put up here...dude…..hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here. 

Gym and Fitness Equipment

Ahmad Adullah said...

This was a good suggestion that you put up here...dude…..hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here. 

Gym and Fitness Equipment