Whether the change in the weather has added an extra pep in your step, you want to put your best foot forward, or you’re just curious to try out something new, you’ve decided to start (or change up!) your exercise routine.
Perhaps you noticed a new CrossFit room at your local gym. Or have been surprised while on the elliptical by someone dropping weights from over their head. Maybe you’ve noticed someone in the commissary wearing long socks, or even worse, sporting scars and scrapes on their shins. These are true signs they are into CrossFit, the latest exercise phase to overtake the nation and military installations. But, is it right for you?
CrossFit defines itself as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement.” And anyone who has watched The CrossFit Games or experienced a Workout of the Day (WOD) understands it is truly all of these things.
CrossFit gyms, affectionately referred to as “the box,” often attract similar clientele: police officers, firemen, border patrol agents, military service members, and military spouses. You may notice that military spouses aren’t exactly in the same category as the others. So why are they packing CrossFit boxes across the nation? And is CrossFit worth exploring as you create your personal plan for success?
Here are five reasons why:
1. It makes us stronger.
CrossFit makes us stronger, and not just physically, but emotionally, as well. In fact, CrossFit may help strengthen your relationship with your spouse, friends and community. I first started CrossFit because it provided an opportunity for me to work out with my husband in a fun environment while someone watched my children. Now my husband and I are able to consistently exercise together. We often workout in pairs so that we motivate one another, making the exercise and our time together veryrewarding. I see his strengths and his weaknesses in the gym, and he sees mine. We grow together.
2. It’s fun. And it works.
Yes, sweating profusely and wondering if you are going to make it through the workout can actually be fun. One of the main principles of the CrossFit lifestyle is to get fitter and stronger, not to necessarily lose weight and get skinnier. Yes, these two traits usually go hand in hand, but it’s truly amazing to see people of all different fitness levels motivating each other, doing the same workout and lying on the floor exhausted afterwards. Janet Graham, a veteran army spouse, was excited that when her husband came home for R&R she was able to keep up with the family on a ski trip. And it didn’t hurt that her husband immediately noticed a difference in her strength and physique.
3. We create positive friendships.
Military spouses often enjoy the camaraderie that a group or team setting provides. CrossFit is very much the same. The CrossFit community is amazingly welcoming and supportive. Last year, my job took me to three different military installations in three months. I was able to find a local CrossFit box in each place. The coaches and athletes welcomed me, and I felt like I was walking into my own box each and every time.
I’ve made some fantastic friends at the local CrossFit box, many who are also military spouses. If someone is frustrated with the military, we push harder with them. If he or she is exhausted because his or her young child didn’t sleep and there was no one else to help, we make sure they pace themselves. It’s a team effort in CrossFit, just like in military life.
4. The CrossFit Community is Supportive of the Military.
Hero WODs are named after military members and law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, and they are celebrated and honored. The CrossFit Community also fundraises to help charities and local organizations. In August 2013, CrossFit honored the firefighters who lost their lives in the Prescott, Arizona by designing a WOD specifically for them. CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman joined athletes in working out and raising over $300,000 for the families of those firefighters. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that community?
5. Available Childcare
Childcare is usually a huge hurdle for any exercise plan. If you attend a gym off the installation, you’ll be pleased to find that most offer childcare (albeit for an extra fee). If they don’t, see if they’d be open to starting one. Perhaps you can set up a rotation with the other parents and watch their kids while they watch yours. That way, everyone gets a chance to work out.
CrossFit really can be for everyone, especially military spouses. Most large installations have CrossFit at the installation gym with coaches, and even the smaller installations now have the equipment for your CrossFit workout. Be sure to check Groupon and Living Social for any additional deals. If you would like to try it out before diving in, try a
Foundations Course through a CrossFit Affiliate before to familiarize yourself with the basics and prevent injury. Talk to your milspouse friends; maybe they want to try it, too.
Did You Know?
The most popular WOD that honors a military hero is called the “Murph.” It is named after Navy LT Michael Murphy, who died in Afghanistan in June of 2005. The particular exercise, which he called “Body Armor,” is now performed in CrossFit boxes across the world in honor of his sacrifice.
Added Benefit: Army Spouse, Daisy Estrada who began CrossFit in 2010, shares that she loves working out with her husband, and enjoys seeing him more since he is a coach at the gym. She has been a member of two boxes due to a PCS move and is currently attending CrossFit Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona.