CrossFit is 'like turning every system in your body on'
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- -- Physical fitness is a key component to a successful career in any military branch. Each Airman holds a certain amount of responsibility for their personal fitness and ability to perform at the Air Force required level of fitness.
"I took charge of my fitness May 16, 2012," said 1st Lt. Brian Slater, 36th Security Forces Squadron assistant operations officer. "I was deployed to Kuwait, and that's when I did my first CrossFit workout and it changed my life."
From 1999 to 2011, Slater's physical fitness assessment scores had flat-lined between 77 and 79 percent. He was averaging a run time of 12 minutes, 30 seconds, with a 38-inch waist.
"Like many service members, I stressed about my physical fitness assessments," Slater said. "I went to the gym, and before CrossFit, I was into power lifting, but that did nothing for my waist measurement or run time."
Approximately 60 days after Slater's first CrossFit workout, he had lost four inches off his waist and dropped more than 30 seconds from his 1.5-mile run time. He continued to improve his fitness from that point forward and scored a 97 percent on his most recent physical fitness assessment this month. He attributed the change to his new outlook on fitness and a new understanding of chemical reactions that occur at the cellular level, collectively known as metabolic pathways, that ensure the body's ability to operate and use energy more efficiently.
"CrossFit is different because it activates all the metabolic pathways in your body; it's like turning every system in your body on," Slater said. "It's a condensed timeline workout which is geared to take less than an hour to complete. In the Air Force, you generally see Airmen either falling into the runner or bodybuilder category. They specialize in something which leads them to be weaker in other areas."
People who do CrossFit, like to say they specialize in not specializing. CrossFit is designed to train every area of physical fitness to include cardiovascular, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, power, strength and stamina.
A typical CrossFit workout will usually consist of approximately two to three exercises done at an intense pace for a predetermined amount of time. Each workout varies and can be scaled to the individual's abilities.
Slater's experience with CrossFit not only changed how he looks at fitness, but his personal expectations of his own life and his desire to help others who were seeking the same thing: results.
"CrossFit gave me confidence and it turned me into a coach," Slater said. "I just want to share it with people because it works; it can give the results that so many are looking for, which is why we worked hard to get a group started at Andersen."
Slater's results prompted him to help others and encouraged him to form a CrossFit group on base. One member of the newly formed group has been participating in CrossFit for three years and said he's excited the base now has a formal group.
"CrossFit will be great for the Andersen Airmen community because it incorporates many different aspects of fitness," said Staff Sgt. Stephen Baker, 736th Security Forces Squadron training NCO in charge. "CrossFit is all about general physical preparedness. In the Air Force, you never know what you may need to do to accomplish the mission or what environment you will have to accomplish it in. You need to be physically fit for all the demands that the Air Force throws at you. Training for the unknown and unknowable is what CrossFit is designed to do."
For more information about joining Andersen's CrossFit group or enrolling in a foundation skills class, email firstname.lastname@example.org.