By Cpl. Samuel Han (IMCOM)August 10, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Every week, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan offers CrossFit classes here in the Collier Community Fitness Center. Ever since its introduction, garrison Community members have had the opportunity to work with qualified instructors to push their bodies to its limits, increasing overall fitness levels and Servicemembers' readiness.
"Basically with CrossFit you do a lot of interesting and different exercises," Hannah Scott, a cadet from the University of Alabama, Birmingham attending the class said. "The easiest way to describe it is that your body's going to be challenged. You never get bored exercising because every day you do something very different. It's pretty fun."
Scott explained that exercises varied from Olympic exercises, weights, running, and diversified workout routine. The reason for this was that CrossFit targeted functional fitness, rather than simply increasing the amount of weight a person could lift.
"The main goal of CrossFit is that you're not trying to be really good at just one thing, but you're trying to be great at a lot of things," Scott said. "It makes you a well-rounded athlete that with improved running, weightlifting, overall fitness, and it's pretty great for your entire body."
Kristen Johnson, a trainer at Yongsan's CrossFit program, explained that CrossFit would be more beneficial to Servicemembers than the traditional workout, since it targeted tasks that they would face in the battlefield as well as in everyday life.
"It is a safe functional way for Soldiers to get fit and do what they need to do as Soldiers such as run or carry heavy things for long distances," Johnson said. "It is also something that teaches teamwork."
Scott explained that after beginning CrossFit, her Army Physical Fitness Test score had increased from 260 to 290 and sometimes over 300 on her tests. In addition, Scott said that CrossFit helped her to develop some of the Army values including integrity and courage as well as better deal with stress. This helped her increase Servicemembers' readiness, not only physically but also mentally.
For Servicemembers and Civilians looking for something to motivate them even further, Yongsan's CrossFit program also participates in competitions throughout the CrossFit Community ,allowing members to put their physical strength and endurance to the test against others. Johnson explained that all the money collected from such competitions went back to those in need within the Military Community, such as homeless veterans and veterans in need.
One possible problem that Johnson mentioned was that CrossFit may be intimidating for people who were new to the program. Johnson reassured, however, that although the program was intense, anyone could start the program.
"I was terrified when I first started," Johnson said. "I couldn't even do a pushup, definitely couldn't do a pull up and now I can do 15 to 20 easy. It's fun to see measurable goals that you can give yourself and watch yourself grow and attain those. But coming in, I would say be open-minded and be consistent."
Aside from improving physical and mental readiness, and supporting those in need within the Military Community, a big benefit of CrossFit is that it also provides a strong sense of Community. This can be very helpful especially for Servicemembers and Civilians who are new to the peninsula.
"You grow, learn and compete together while becoming more physically fit every day," Johnson said. "That's why I became a trainer: This is my family and a super-close Community."
Yongsan's CrossFit program offers free classes at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 p.m. Monday through Fridays. For more information go to http://bit.ly/YongsanFWMR.