CrossFit Founder Visits Offutt

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Carly A. Costello
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
Team Offutt hosted Coach Greg Glassman, founder and Chief Executive Officer of CrossFit, for a two-day visit Nov. 12-13.

Glassman and his team visited with leadership from the Air Force Weather Agency, 55th Wing and U.S. Strategic Command, toured the base to include the Offutt Field House, and held four briefings for Team Offutt members.

During his visit, Glassman spoke about how he started CrossFit, overall fitness and why it's important, and how CrossFit helps prepare one for life changes, something military members deal with during their careers.

"I tried to start the foundation for defining fitness, and I did so by creating three operational definitions that would build a broad, general and inclusive fitness; a fitness whose specialty was not specializing, a fitness that would prepare you for the unknown and the unknowable."

The program follows three operational models: the hopper, which is designed to keep exercises constantly varied, the metabolic pathways and the 10 general physical skills. And in order to be fit, one needs to be balanced throughout all models.

"You are as fit as you are balanced in each of these," Glassman said. "If there are one of these where you think you're lacking, do something about it because I want to protect you for the unknown and the unknowable."

Programs like CrossFit is something U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Williamson, 55th Wing vice commander, says can be beneficial to Airmen and their role in any mission or challenge that's thrown at them.

"Functional fitness programs can be a vital part of the fitness pillar of our Comprehensive Airman Fitness program, and also prepare our Airman for the known and unknown challenges they may face while accomplishing and supporting our vital mission," Williamson said.

Glassman also spoke with base leadership about how exercise not only helps one be fit, it can also help people mentally, benefiting military members when they are down range, at a desk, or at home. CrossFit TOTF President Master Sgt. John Hendricks, AFWA, and athlete Airman 1st Class Haylle Lawrence, 55th Mission Support Group, said they have seen these benefit of CrossFit in their daily lives.

"CrossFit has affected me in the sense that I am more resilient in my day-to-day activities," Hendricks said. "I am better-rounded in my fitness and thus more ready to be in any circumstance down range or in my backyard playing with my daughters. It makes me a better leader, dad and human being." 

"CrossFit keeps me humble," Lawrence said. "No matter what, there will always be someone better than me in the CrossFit world. Nonetheless, I am perfectly fine with that. I wake up every morning to get my butt kicked by whatever the [workout] is. After catching my breath, I'm ready to take on the day."

CrossFit has found a home in the military and law enforcement communities since its creation in 2000, according to Glassman, and Williamson agrees saying he's seen a shift towards improved fitness during his career.

"Over the span of my Air Force career, I have seen a very positive shift towards the recognition of how important the role of physical fitness is to our combat readiness," Williamson said. "Lately, we are seeing that to successfully meet the challenges and demands of combat operations, our Airman need to be prepared for any physical contingency. A functional fitness program like CrossFit is designed to help individuals develop a broad, general, and inclusive fitness foundation necessary to support demanding physical challenges."

Glassman also spoke about how he would change military physical training and testing, particularly by adding more tests, something he helped the Marine Corps incorporate when he programmed the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test, which is given in addition to the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test.

"[Add] as many tests [as] possible," he said.  "Add one test at a time. The important thing is that every time trains or tests, that evolution should be marked as a data point for in the hunt for world-class fitness."

This was something echoed by Lawrence, and is something she does with her CrossFit workouts on a daily basis.

"A change I would like to see in military fitness is getting out of the usual PT routine," Lawrence said. "For example, the expected PT time for a squadron is running, push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks, etc. Routine is the enemy. Members of the armed forces are prepared for anything and we should put it in our daily physical training."

Glassman's visit was initiated by Hendricks and CrossFit TOTF Vice President U.S. Navy Cmdr. Brian Haggerty, STRATCOM.

"I wanted Coach Glassman to visit Offutt so that he could pass along his words of wisdom about fitness to Team Offutt," Hendricks said. "We are truly blessed to have him visit, and once proposed to base leadership, each of the major units at Offutt jumped at the opportunity to host the CrossFit founder."

For those who had not known of or tried CrossFit before Glassman's visit, CrossFit TOTF athlete Mike Horner, AFWA, hopes they learned that being fit is being balanced and that CrossFit offers that balance.

"What I hope others learn the most from Coach Glassman's visit is that fitness means more than running 26.2 miles or deadlifting 500 pounds," Horner said. "Fitness is the complete package: strength, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, coordination, etc.  No other physical training program provides the complete fitness package like CrossFit does, and no other program is as fun."

Offutt is one of the few Air Force bases with a CrossFit affiliate.

"We have seen all sizes, shapes, and versions on base," Glassman said. "The truth is the CrossFit program is all about the community that it develops. Team Offutt's community was among the most solid that we've ever seen."

This year, CrossFit TOTF has put more than 200 people through its On-Ramp course, which is required for anyone new to CrossFit. For those who stick with the program like Horner, they say they have seen results that they have not seen with any other program.

"I am now in my fourth decade of working out," Horner said. "I've done everything...Nothing has got me as physically fit as CrossFit and nothing has been more mentally stimulating. CrossFit continuously works fundamentals and basic skills, but it always mixes it up, which keeps it fresh. With CrossFit, you're part of a team and a community. It generates a lot of camaraderie. Coaches and classmates continually cheer one another on and push you to obtain heights you'd never be able to obtain on your own."

For more information on CrossFit TOTF, visit