Heroes inspire through daily trials of life

Every so often I will pull a tire or a box out to the middle of the gym and sit, looking around and thinking about the community of like-minded individuals that has been created here.

To bring you up to speed on what is going on, so you can understand the severity of the column, this week is "Hero Week" for us. Each day of "Hero Week" has a different workout that was designed in honor of a fallen officer from either the military or law enforcement.

You see, a "hero" is defined by Webster as a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. A person noted for feats of purpose, especially those who have risked or sacrificed their own life.

Now, back to me and my box ...

We have a board up on the wall that displays the workouts for the day with space dedicated for Monday through Friday. Even though I do not allow anyone to know the workout for the next day, I leave the past workouts up to fill all slots until the next week.

I positioned myself in front of the board that listed this week's workouts, each named after a particular soldier or officer with a handwritten history about each individual. I began to let myself drift into the shoes of each person in hopes of somehow getting a glimpse of what their life must have been like leading up to the time that they paid the ultimate price and sacrifice for our -- my -- freedom.

I quickly realized that the shoes were too big for me ...

I found myself looking back on Monday and Navy Seal Joshua Thomas Harris, who died at the age of 36 by drowning during combat operations in 2008 over in Afghanistan. The workout was simple, run 400 meters; perform 30 sit-ups and 15 dead lifts, five times. I then thought back to what I felt after completing the fourth round. I did not want to go back out that door for the last round, I thought.

At that moment something miraculous happened! "What if Mr. Joshua had said that?" He could have easily not gone out the door, but he did!

Tuesday was dedicated to Sgt. Daniel Sakai, who was 35 when he was killed in the line of duty along with three fellow service members on March 21, 2009. Wednesday was held for Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Hansen, who died Feb. 14 in Farah Providence, Afghanistan, when an IED he was working on detonated. Hanson was only 24.

The list goes on, but I hope you get the picture by now.

The stories are endless and, unfortunately, there are too many heroes to name in this column, people who placed their lives on the line to serve and protect what they hold dear to them. Now, how does this relate to fitness, you ask?

Well, we used this "Hero Week" as motivation to go above and beyond the realm of a normal workout. We tried to imagine what the hero of the day would have done and the type of intensity he would put forth during this, his workout. We use this "no excuses" mentality, and I would challenge you to do the same!

To date, the best excuses that I have heard for why people are not able to work out range anywhere from "I don't have time" to "I have a bad back" or "My knees bother me." Every once in a while, I will get the ol', "My doctor says to not do ..."

Well, how about "I have no feeling in the lower half of my body because of being run over by a car"? Or maybe you could use Kyle Maynard's "I have no arms or legs!" I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing both Trebor Marble from CrossFit Valdosta and Kyle Maynard of No Excuses CrossFit for a little while now, but this past weekend I was able to see them both compete alongside able-bodied men.

I was blown away at the site of determination of these two individuals! Sure, some accommodations had to be made for them to compete, but there was no doubting the "lion hearted" attitude they both possessed.

Seeing this was a wakeup call for me and the others that were in attendance to never say "I can't." I challenge anyone to give me a better "excuse" than this ...

Thank you for reading the column today! It is an absolute pleasure to be a part of this paper and especially this community! Feel free to continue e-mailing me with questions and, as always, thanks for reading The Herald!

E-mail fitness columnist Kris Morrill, certified personal trainer and owner of World Camp Fitness in Albany, at kris@worldcampfitnesstraining.com.