If the Crossfit Games demonstrate anything about fitness, it’s not the strongest or fastest athlete on the field who is dubbed “The Fittest on the Planet.” In a word, you need …
“Balance,” Command Sgt. Maj. Chad Pinkerton said. “Functional fitness is about having balance – the speed, endurance and the strength.”
Pinkerton, the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade command sergeant major, recorded his best time at the BOSS Invade Atkins challenge Thursday and was named the top male competitor.
A group of 15 men and three women endured a course at Atkins Functional Fitness Facility that included a tire drag with sledge hammer, overhead ball throw, dead lifts and torturous dumbbell and kettlebell carries.
Lora Morgan said that the pullup and the clean and press were her two most challenging events, but she mustered through to earn a first-place finish. When she moved to Fort Drum nearly a year ago, Morgan had never been to a functional fitness center. Now, it is part of her daily routine.
“I used to just run mostly,” she said. “My neighbor asked me to try functional fitness with her, and we had a personal trainer show us how to use the equipment. I love this place … we come here every day.”
A place where people are flipping tires and pushing weighted sleds can appear intimidating at first. Morgan said that it took her a couple of visits before she became comfortable. Her neighbor and fellow functional fitness enthusiast, Lain Harvey, said that she started this training just to get fit.
“But then it just kind of spiraled out of control, and now I’m competing,” she joked. “I think I did all right. We finished, and that was the goal.”
Keith Hubbard felt good after finishing the final event, but he said that it wasn’t his typical workout.
“I go to the gym every day, but I don’t do Crossfit every day so I’m not used to this type of event,” he said.
The deceptive nature of functional fitness is that the individual activities don’t appear too difficult until they are performed back-to-back for time. Hubbard might practice lunges in a regular weight routine, but he said it was even more challenging after having just completed five reps of the clean and press.
“I’d definitely want to do this again,” he said.
Sgt. Shawn Schroeder, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers president, said that the event is typically held twice each year to find out who is the fittest in the Fort Drum community. It’s completely different from the fun runs they host and less dirty than the annual Mountain Mudder.
“We just want to reach out to the community and the Soldiers to let them know we are here and give them a positive choice to make,” he said.
The Army’s physical readiness training doctrine includes functional fitness that uses drills and exercises that incorporate strength, endurance and movement skills designed to reduce the risk of injury while getting Soldiers fit for duty. To that end, Command Sgt. Maj. Kristopher Cook, Fort Drum garrison senior enlisted adviser, asked the participants to tell their colleagues, friends and neighbors about the fitness opportunities available at Atkins.
“It’s all about promoting positive choices, and in this case it’s fitness and healthy living,” he said. “Motivate your battle buddies to come – the spirit of competition is great.”
The next BOSS Invades Atkins event is scheduled on March 23. Atkins Functional Fitness Facility is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.