November 10, 2013
Nicole Spitzack started CrossFit when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. When she invited friends—also military wives—she created an irreplaceable support system. Andréa Maria Cecil reports.
In 2005, the U.S. Army deployed Cole Spitzack to Afghanistan for 12 months.
“That’s a long time,” he said. “I missed the whole first year of my daughter’s life.”
That kind of time is hard on a marriage, too. The Army recognizes that fact, offering soldiers and their loved ones Family Readiness Groups for mental and emotional support. The only problem is those groups aren’t for everyone. And they weren’t for Spitzack’s wife, Nicole.
“I didn’t really make any connections. I have found that I personally didn’t have a lot in common with the women that were in my particular group at that time,” she explained.
Sharing her enthusiasm for exercise and nutrition with the group elicited strange reactions rather than words of encouragement.
That’s when Nicole got into CrossFit. Today, she owns CrossFit SolaFide, a Clarksville, Tenn., affiliate with 500 members. With its proximity to Fort Campbell—the Army base is about 18 miles northwest of the box—the gym has strong ties to the military, and it provides a place to relieve stress as well as to find support and understanding.