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Crossfit coming to NU campus

By Brandon Owens
On April 3, 2012

It's the reason why students came to Norwich, to be challenged in everything they do. Whether that means being in the corps, taking part in challenging courses, or even participating in a sport, students expect that they will be pushed beyond their limits at Norwich.

This spring students may be challenging themselves in another way, this time in the gym doing a mixture of movements in a sport that has become recognized worldwide, known as CrossFit.

This grueling, competitive, and communal program is expected to find a following here at Norwich. Norwich University, in conjunction with a local gym, is working to bring the relatively new and growing fitness program of CrossFit to its students in a trial that will begin in late March, according to Commandant of Cadets, Col. Rick Van Arnam.

Van Arnam has been in talks with The Confluence, a gym in Berlin, Vt., about bringing CrossFit, a constantly varying functional movement strength and conditioning program, to the Norwich campus.

CrossFit combines movements from weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, and rowing, and incorporates them in moderately short intense workouts.

Arnam said he is very interested in bringing CrossFit to campus, "in a way that is done right for the students." Although students have already been doing CrossFit workouts on their own, he said this, "is really an attempt to bring a little more structure" to those who have been doing it.

"So what that means is working with The Confluence gym," which is a certified CrossFit gym where he said, "there are certified CrossFit trainers and personnel."

Arnam said he and The Confluence gym are trying to set up a five- or six-week trial. During this trial the gym would bring staff and their expertise to Norwich and teach approximately 15-20 students CrossFit, hopefully starting in late March and running until the end of classes.

"Its exploratory right now, it's not one hundred percent going to happen," Arnam said, "although I think with each passing day we are getting closer." He said he wants to bring it on campus because he believes there is an appetite for the program at Norwich.

Arnam plans on making the trial open exclusively to veterans, which encompasses prior service and reserve students, because there is funding available for veteran programming.

Although it is not for certain, Arnam said, "I am fairly confident that they are going to a give us a price that we can afford."

Arnam said that he has a few reasons why he wants to bring it on campus. He has been doing it off and on since 2009 and has found that it is a great workout. "I hear that students want to be physically challenged here and I think that this is a logical thing to explore and bring to our students," he said.

He also said it's a smart thing to bring to campus, especially after the changes with specialty units regarding who can and cannot participate in them.

Arnam has talked to Jeff Kruger, the Norwich University strength and conditioning coach, and has found that doing CrossFit Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. would be the best time to avoid schedule conflicts with existing gym usage.

The sessions would be run by the owner of The Confluence gym and, "he will instruct the participants in the proper CrossFit moves and exercises" Arnam said. Each morning will be part instruction and end with the workout of the day, or WOD as it is known in the CrossFit world.

He said what also attracts him to bring the program to the campus is the possibility to go compete with it, referring to the CrossFit Games. Arnam likes that the program has a means in which you can compete not just locally but with others across the world, and that anyone can compete.

CrossFit prides itself on crowning the fittest man and woman in the world every year in what is known as the CrossFit Games. According to the website The CrossFit Games welcomes anybody in the world to compete in their "three-stage test of fitness" with the final stage being The Games, according to

He said eventually he would like to have students who are certified CrossFit instructors. "I think if we do it well here at Norwich, CrossFit has the potential to become a club that would be open to any student."

He said that if that were to happen the club could start to receive money from the school.

"Luckily" he said, "we already have some of the equipment we need," so he does not see this being too much of a financial burden for the university.

Arnam said his real hope is that, "we can get enough interest on campus where we can become a formal club and people can go as far with CrossFit as they want to go."

"I'm excited about this," said Arnam. "It's not a done deal, but we have had very positive conversations and I think we are going to be able to afford to do it."


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