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1st Lt. Patrick C. Holland, 24, a platoon commander with Combined Anti-Armor Team Blue, Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, from Waco, Texas, flips a truck during a CrossFit competition at Camp Hit, Iraq, Oct. 24. During each event, the Marines pushed themselves and each other to the limit with every exercise so they could defeat the opposing team.::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Shawn Cummins

Crossfit competition fuels fitness

24 Oct 2008 | Cpl. Shawn Cummins

Finding new ways to stay fit while deployed is crucial for Marines to stay interested in their workouts while preparing for their next mission.

According to Maj. Marcus J. Mainz, the operations officer with Headquarters and Service Company, Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, and one of the pioneers in developing the Combat Fitness Test, the Marine Corps began to implement CrossFit ethos into its physical training in 2007.  This ethos, in part, inspired the new Combat Fitness Test that is being used along with the standard Physical Fitness Test to assess Marines’ fitness.

CrossFit exercises focus on bodyweight exercises and practical full-body movements that Marines would use in the field, such as puling themselves over walls and carrying fellow Marines. 

On Oct. 24, a group of Marines from 3rd Bn., 7th Marines turned their physical training into a CrossFit competition to test their physical and mental toughness.

The group of Marines were separated into two teams of seven; one team of enlisted Marines and one team of officers.  Each team completed a series of events that are typically performed in a CrossFit workout.

“We’ve been working out, trying to get in shape, and we wanted to do something to kind of push ourselves.  What better way to do that than to put a competition together,” said Sgt. Aaron D. Alibritton, 29, a battalion watch noncommissioned officer with H&S Co., from Fort Meade, Fla.

The competition started with each team flipping a truck tire around the perimeter of the camp, almost a mile in distance.  The teams alternated members along the way with each one flipping the tire until another teammate took over.  After finishing a lap with the tire, the Marines had to perform a combined 300 repetitions as a team of dumbbell cleans, pull-ups, burpies, which are a push-ups followed by star jumps, and “wall-balls.”   The final exercise required the competitor to move from a squatting position to a standing while tossing a 20 lb. medicine ball into the air, catching it and then returning to a squatting position. 

While the aspects of the exercises may have CrossFit roots, the reason for the competition was pure Marine.

 “It’s not really a CrossFit competition, just really a man competition,” said Mainz, 34, from Wichita, Kan.

During each event, the Marines pushed themselves and each other to the limit with every exercise so they could defeat the opposing team.

“Overall, I liked the camaraderie that you got.  Everybody’s tired, you’re tired and you look around to your left and that guy is as tired as you if not more,” Alibritton said.

The officers pulled through with the win this time, but the enlisted Marines may get another chance as they plan to continue the competitions throughout the deployment.

“It was awesome; it was a challenge for everyone to go up there and do it.  I think everyone enjoyed it, and they definitely felt the effects of it and are still feeling the effects of it,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian K. Keagy, 36, the assistant operations chief with H&S Co., from Nokomis, Ill..  “It was worthwhile, and I’d definitely do it again.”


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