Making the Extraordinary Ordinary
No sooner had I touched down at Dulles airport from my epic trip to Igls and St. Moritz (I promise I’ll post about St. Moritz! It was an incredible trip that deserves the time to get the post just right), I was off to Ft. Drum in Upstate New York – the place where my life changed forever. I haven’t been back since about a year after my accident, so it was ironic, and my honor, to return with the Yellow Ribbon Fund’s Veterans Taking Up Fitness (TUF) Team for a motivational discussion with Ft. Drum’s Warrior Transition Unit (WTU).
WTU used to be called Med Hold Units, for people who are getting out of the military due to injuries, mental health issues or disease. For fairly obvious reasons they changed the name. The Ft. Drum WTU asked the Yellow Ribbon Fund (@yrftuf) if me and my TUF Team partner, Brendan Ferreira (@b.ferreira167), a former Army soldier injured in combat, to come up and speak to about 300 service men and women. The goal was to motivate soldiers who are separating from military service and hopefully inspire them to use fitness and group exercise as a means of rehabilitation and integration, instead of alcohol, drugs, and other unhealthy crutches. It’s also a great opportunity for us to get the word out about what we do, and we got a great response.
And then I went and ate about 3,000 calories worth of Sonic. Don’t judge – even athletes have their Achilles heel. #gainz #macros
From Syracuse, I flew to Miami for a coaching seminar with Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance (@crossroadsaaa), founded by David “Chef” Wallach (@crossfitrubicon) and Sara Olsen (@saraolsen008) (I’m also the VP). Along with Sara, Angel (@cfredefined), Krystal (@krystalcantu), and Natalie we led a seminar at Crossfit Seige in Miramar, FL, designed to help Crossfit coaches, personal trainers and gym employees to learn how to approach, assess and plan training for adaptive athletes. CrossFit is all about being adaptable to the athlete and to us, that means EVERY athlete, regardless of what limbs they’re missing or if they’re in a wheelchair.
We want coaches and trainers to feel comfortable with adaptive athletes, not overwhelmed by them. We want them to be able to look at every single athlete as an individual with specific needs. The point is we don’t have to rewrite the book to train adaptive athletes. We might need to adapt the way an exercise is done to accommodate the body, but there are a million ways to work the same muscles and the point is you CAN in CrossFit. There are inventive ways to adapt to a person’s needs, regardless of whether it’s a woman with two legs and bad knees who needs to step back into her lunges to get the maximum stretch or the guy in the wheelchair who weights 2 halves of a jump rope with baseballs and swings it just like someone with legs would. The only difference is one athlete has full use of her arms and legs and the other doesn’t. CrossFit and our job as coaches and trainers, is to learn to adapt the workout for the individual’s needs.
This is our mission: to make the extraordinary ordinary. We’re not extraordinary; we’re just like every other athlete. My mission is to get people to see past the prosthetic, to see the athlete… that just happens to have a detachable leg.