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Deployed Airmen enhance readiness through CrossFit

Air Force Capt. Sam Murray, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations officer in charge, does a pull up before a class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Capt. Sam Murray, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations officer in charge, does a pull up before a class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Senior Airman Ashley Foltz, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, performs a "push press" during a CrossFit class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Senior Airman Ashley Foltz, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, performs a "push press" during a CrossFit class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Senior Airman Carlos Amaya, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, lifts the bar as part of a “clean” during a CrossFit class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Senior Airman Carlos Amaya, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, lifts the bar as part of a “clean” during a CrossFit class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Senior Airman Emmanuel Arroyo, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron supply specialist, sets himself up to perform a "clean" during a CrossFit class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Senior Airman Emmanuel Arroyo, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron supply specialist, sets himself up to perform a "clean" during a CrossFit class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Capt. Sam Murray, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations officer in charge, demonstrates the proper way to hold the bar in the front rack position to Air Force Senior Airman Emmanuel Arroyo, 380th Expeditionary Logisics Readiness Squadron supply specialist, during a class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Air Force Capt. Sam Murray, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations officer in charge, demonstrates the proper way to hold the bar in the front rack position to Air Force Senior Airman Emmanuel Arroyo, 380th Expeditionary Logisics Readiness Squadron supply specialist, during a class at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Army 1st Lt. Caleb Martin, 1-62 Air Defense Artillery Battalion intelligence officer, performs a muscle up following the CrossFit class he instructed at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

Army 1st Lt. Caleb Martin, 1-62 Air Defense Artillery Battalion intelligence officer, performs a muscle up following the CrossFit class he instructed at the tactical fitness facility at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 3, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Khalid Cannon/Released)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- As many as 35 Airmen of all ranks gather three to five times per week at the tactical fitness facility here to challenge themselves in CrossFit classes to help exceed their fitness goals.

The classes are taught by certified CrossFit instructors Captains Sam Murray and Brent Tittle, and Army 1st Lt. Caleb Martin.

During one such class, participants applauded and encouraged each other as two cycles of groups each performed the push press, some hoisting up to 155 pounds over their heads.
"I love the camaraderie," said Senior Airman Ashley Foltz, an armorer with the 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron who is deployed from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. "We're like a family. We encourage and push each other."

"Some may be intimidated or have preconceived notions about CrossFit, but you can go at your own pace," said Foltz. "Our instructors are very knowledgeable, and they push and motivate all of us."

Senior Airman Emmanuel Arroyo, who works in flightline supply with the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, spoke about how CrossFit has enabled him to be more effective on his job.

"I have to move aircraft parts and tires, and these courses have taught me functional movement and how to properly lift," said Arroyo. "My level of fitness has definitely increased because I was just lifting weights before."

Martin, an intelligence officer with the 1-62 Air Defense Artillery Battalion stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, co-owns a gym with his brother in Pflugerville, Texas and has competed in regional CrossFit competitions.

Prior to joining the Army almost three years ago, Martin was the assistant general manager at a CrossFit gym in Wilmington, N.C.

"It's my passion," said Martin, who teaches the majority of the classes. "I love teaching, training, and competing. I want to bring that passion for fitness to the Soldiers and Airmen deployed here so they can take it back with them when they return home."

The first step to getting into CrossFit here is attending the two-week fundamentals class to learn the proper form for weight lifting and bodyweight movements. Murray and Tittle make sure each student is comfortable with the lifts and required movements.

Once students complete the initial four courses, students can then join the full class, which is divided into 12 to 16 people. The small class size allows for individual instruction and enables instructors to monitor each student's progress.

Students can expect to not only lift weights, but also participate in gymnastics and metabolic conditioning, also known as MetCon, which includes box jumps, plyometric exercises, kettle bell workouts, and pull ups.