December 21, 2011
Army Capt. Josh Holden says CrossFit replaced his bodybuilding ways and helped him help Iraqis.
My first cup of coffee in Iraq was as a brigade battle captain in Mosul with 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. As a young captain without much seniority on the brigade staff, I got stuck with the night shift. Anyone who has done shift work before knows the drudgery involved, especially in a Brigade Tactical Operations Center.
After my shift ended, I would immediately go to sleep for about six hours, then wake up to a cocktail of supplements. My workouts? Six-days a week, five of them involving only upper-body movements, with a leg day thrown in for good measure. I never wanted to breathe hard during the lift because it could reduce the amount I could bench press. I didn’t worry about breathing hard because I mixed in at least two days per week of cardio. That dwindled to zero days of cardio because I just didn’t like breathing hard on the treadmill.
This cycle went on and on, continuing through redeployment to Fort Hood, throughout my year and a half in home station where I would sneak off during lunch to get a lift in, all the way through to my next deployment to southern Iraq.
Then, something strange happened.