Goal setters push hard to accomplish new feats no matter what seems to stand in their way. Dale King, of PSKC CrossFit in Portsmouth, has seen people who pushes themselves to reach new, physical goals despite some of the most challenging hurdles.
“CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that kind of helps people prepare for life,” King explained. “So, we want to be able to do anything, anytime, anywhere.”
The trainer added that CrossFit athletes train in as many way as possible including running, powerlifting, olympic lifting, gymnastics, rowing, jumping and throwing.
“We have a set amount of work. We want to do that work as quickly as possible, so you get the benefits of strength and conditioning in one package,” he added.
Unlike endurance athletes, CrossFit is not just running. It is also not just lifting like strength training. Though CrossFit trained athletes are not likely to compete at the top of any single division, they have an added benefit of being able to compete with varied athletes.
“If we needed to lift something heavy, we want to be able to perform that and then go on a 5k,” King said.
“The prescription is constantly varied, functional movement performed at a high intensity. So that basically means we work very hard.”
PSKC started in 2010 as a way to offer some veteran’s outreach and awareness. Working out had helped King, so he thought a gym would be a good way of helping the veteran community. Afterwards, a friend from both college and the Army Derick Carver lost a leg fighting in Afghanistan. King was with him through surgies and transfusions. Finally, when Carver was released from the Army, he struggled to find a way to spend his time. King recommended he start a gym. He helped his friend start a gym and also compete in a CrossFit competition.
“At the time, it was the first time an adaptive athlete (an athlete with a disability) had competed against able-bodied athletes,” King stated. “So, that basically was the genesis for Team Some Assembly Required. They’re an entire team of adaptive athletes. They are men and women who are missing a leg or an arm or a combintation thereof from combat, an accident or a birth defect but still want to compete in fitness-based sports.”
Team Some Assembly Required (SAR) is based in Portsmouth at King’s gym and includes 20-25 athletes from around the nation that compete all over the country in everything from fitness competitions, body building, powerlifting, olympic lifting and obstacle course racing. Many try to compete in as many different types of competitions as they can and not only compete in adaptive athlete divisions but also compete against able-bodied athletes in general division competitions. The team includes such individuals as a woman who lost her hands and legs as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union that occurred in the mid-80s. She now runs marathons. They also have an athlete who is missing both legs but is a world record powerlifter.
“We have an incredible collection of men and women who still get active everyday,” King confirmed.
The nonprofit Team SAR helps to raise funds for these athletes to train, travel to competitions and cover competition fees. King said it all seemed to start as a result of working with Carver, the organization’s co-founder.
“We were slowly becoming subject matter experts,” King stated. “And, we saw the benefits that fitness can have on everybody’s life.”
Through Team SAR, these athletes are accomplishing things they had once lost hope in being able to complete. They have found independence by being able to continue to push their bodies to new heights despite what would stop many. Some of these people thought they would never be able to work out again. Now, they have found a new confidence.
This new confidence is shared by gym member Connor Osborne, who is just of many people who have found that working out is possible no matter what. Osborne has a conditioned that has confined him to a wheelchair. His family found that as a result, he did not get many opportunities to socialized so they asked if he could join the gym. Osborne now works out at PSKC three times a week and has been designated assistant coach.
“He’s been coming here close to a year,” King explained. “He works out and kind of spreads a little love and joy around wherever he goes. The members love him. Everyone on staff loves him. He’s just a blessing to have around.”
Recently, Osborne has been helping to spread some publicity to a special Memorial Day outreach effort of the gym. King explained that each year PSKC honors veterans who gave their lives with a heroes workout called “The Murph” after Michael Murphy, who was a Navy Seal to receive the Medal of Honor. The group starts at the gym, runs to the Scioto County KIA Memorial at Tracy Park, chooses a name from the wall, runs back to the gym, completes a workout in that person’s honor and then runs back to the park to place a rose under the person’s name.
Though the weekend is a great time for family fun and cook-outs, King says this is an important part of his Memorial Day.
“We just want to take an hour out of that weekend to reflect and pay respect to the men and women who gave their lives,” King stated.
The workout starts at 9 a.m. at the gym located at 549 Third Street in Portsmouth. It is free and open to the public. All can join in the workout; however, PSKC is asking for a small donation for the purchase of a Trac wheelchair. The chair was purchased by Christ Community Church, who will be donating it to a veteran in need on Veteran’s Day. PSKC has offered to assist the church with collecting funds to offset the expense. Any donation will help.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.