CrossFit keeps reservists fit to fight

  • Published
  • By Stacy Vaughn
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Afffairs
As the Air Force continues to emphasize fitness, CrossFit has emerged as one of the leading fitness programs growing in popularity. The program is alive and well at the 445th Airlift Wing thanks to two wing reservists who encourage others to join them.

Master Sgt. Kerry Penner, 445th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsman, and Staff Sgt. Doug Young, Jr., 445th Airlift Wing Command Post, take CrossFit seriously and both competed in the Back to the Ranch CrossFit competition in Ludlow Falls, Ohio, Oct. 22.

Penner's team placed 18th out of 24 competing teams in the competition. His oldest daughter, Anya, won the kids category. His younger daughter, Alora, placed third.

Young's team placed third. He said he had fun competing and meeting new people.

"The competition was awesome! There were several activities they had us do that were unique such as wood chopping and there was a partner carry run, which you carried your partner for like a half mile. Other than that though it was regular CrossFit moves with a twist on some of them," Young said.

Young, who's only been doing Crossfit for under a year, said his wife, Cindy, decided at the last minute to compete and was on a different team.

"It was such a good experience for my wife and me. I would do it again over and over, which I'm pretty sure we will be doing it again. It was great having a lot of people come out to support it," Young said.

For those who are not familiar with what CrossFit is, according to, their definition of "What is CrossFit?" describes it as a program that is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. It's a strength and conditioning brand that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettlebell training, plyometrics, rowing, and medicine ball training.

For Penner, participating in the competition was something two years ago he thought he would never do. He didn't start CrossFit until June 2009 when he noticed the difference it was making for his wife, Amelia.

"My wife started a scaled down version of CrossFit 2 ½ years ago to lose weight and since then she's lost 75 pounds and hopes to lose another 25 pounds. Six months into the program, her friends either moved away or stopped going so I started going with her to keep her motivated. I could see the amazing results she was getting. I then became hooked on it myself," Penner said.

Penner said one of the many advantages of doing CrossFit is that it promotes positive peer pressure. He said if you miss four or five days, people will wonder where you're at and if something is wrong. He also said because there are other people around you in the class, you will be motivated to do your best.

Amelia said CrossFit works everyone at the limit of their ability. She said that during the same workout you can challenge a combat ready soldier, a stay at home mom and a ten-year-old child. She also added that it not only helps prepare soldiers for combat and build elite athletes, it also builds and strengthens families and future generations.

"In my opinion, one of the things that makes CrossFit significantly different from any other training program is the community. The love, support, encouragement and accountability is unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else," Amelia said. "This is what keeps many people involved, particularly those who may not have an athletic background."

Amelia admitted that while the training is hardcore, it can be modified for anyone.

"I have seen children as young as three, adults as old as 85, people missing limbs and with more metal holding them together than bone participating in CrossFit," she said.

The Penners and Young agree that anyone interested in a good, physical workout that's constantly changing and not the same old routine should try CrossFit.

"CrossFit is the best workout one can experience. I wish I started this program when I was younger because I feel better now than I have ever felt. If you follow the diet they recommend and keep up a routine workout schedule, you'll feel the benefits of it," Young said.

There are ample fitness programs available to everyone in the 445th that are offered on base or in the local community. More information about CrossFit programs offered at Wright-Patt can be found at