OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Every year, the CrossFit organization hosts the CrossFit Games, a competition season of scored workouts open to all challengers across the world.
Lt. Col. David Lycan, 51st Security Forces Squadron commander, Staff Sgt. Cole Gastel, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire crew chief, and Amber Zebka, Team Osan spouse, all lifted, crunched and rope climbed their way into the top ten percent of all worldwide participants, earning them selection into the CrossFit Games quarterfinals.
The CrossFit Games begin with a worldwide open competition, where anyone 14 years or older can sign up to attempt a new series of recorded workouts every Thursday during a three-week period and submit their workouts online.
“It’s pretty straightforward once you sign up,” said Zebka. “You can see where you are compared to the rest of the world online.”
The top ten percent of the competitors move on to the quarterfinals, the second stage of the competition. Here they must compete in five selected workout routines over the course of a single weekend in order to advance to the semifinals.
“From here only the top one hundred and twenty are selected for the semifinals,” said Gastel. “Then only the top five or six from there make it to the finals.”
Lycan, who got into CrossFit as a way of keeping up with his cardio while also introducing more weightlifting back into his workout regimen, soon fell in love with the competitive drive the Games provided.
“I have always been a competitive person by nature, so the CrossFit Games just speak my language,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zebka enjoys the Games and CrossFit in general for the community it provides. While she got into it to get back in shape after her first child, she soon found herself falling in love with the way everyone helps each other to get their best possible workout.
“It definitely helps with accountability to be able to see people pushing themselves, be social, and celebrate your victories with other people,” she said. “Everyone genuinely wants you to do well and push each other in a way that’s hard to replicate when working out by yourself.”
Gastel also enjoys the community CrossFit provides both in and out of the gym, having been introduced to the Games by some coworkers while he was stationed in Hawaii. He considers it a little family outside of work and home that helps meet new people whenever he changes bases.
“It’s not just a good way to get into shape, it’s also a great networking opportunity. It’s where I met most of my friends,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to meet the majority of the people I met at Hawaii or here at Osan if it wasn’t for CrossFit.”
While they all had different reasons for beginning their journey to the CrossFit Games and no matter where they end up past the quarterfinals, these three Team Osan members have found more than a reliable workout regimen. They have found a community that will help them stay fit to fight.
“Just get started, wherever you are with your physical fitness,” said Zebka. “It doesn’t get any easier to make that first step the longer you wait, so just get started.”