This group of hard-core workout enthusiasts does more before the sun comes up than most people do all day.
Slinging sledgehammers, flipping tires, doing box jumps, running with chains and total body exercise workouts are a part of the routine for a local chapter of Team Red, White and Blue. And it's not costing the members a dime. It's all free.
According to Roderick Murchison, the workouts were started in 2011 by U.S. Army Maj. Jonathan Silk, who was looking for a community with which to exercise. The group later evolved into an unofficial chapter of Team Red, White and Blue Louisiana.
Team Red, White and Blue is a veterans' organization that helps wounded veterans integrate back into their communities. Silk is a wounded veteran who now is stationed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as an instructor."
Jonathan opened up the workouts for anyone, so that's how I got involved," Murchison said in a Facebook message.
The group usually meets at 5:45 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the parking lot of Little Cakes with Big Attitude on Michiels Drive in Alexandria but sometimes varies the location to include Pineville High School, Run Wild on Jackson Street or Alexandria Senior High.
Don Lachney, another team member, said the group usually averages about 10-12 people.
Murchison, 45, is a swimmer who likes these workouts because "outside workouts are generally more challenging because you have to deal with the environment of the day ... humidity, rain or cold, etc., so it builds more mental discipline than using an indoor controlled environment."
"There's something fun and mentally interesting about a makeshift organic workout (bush league so to speak)," Murchison said. "Where you are using tools and weights not always used in a traditional or contemporary gym setting."
Murchison says the group "mixes and matches different exercises to keep it mentally interesting."
"My favorite workout involves lots of push-ups because push-ups offer a lot of benefits for muscles throughout your body," he said. "They don't just isolate one particular muscle group as on a machine at the gym. Cheaper, too. Low cost, in fact no cost. I've noticed major strength increasing in my swimming workouts because of them."
The group tries to come up with different workouts to keep it interesting and not mundane, Lachney said. Running with chains, doing squats while wearing a flak jacket are all done to keep the workouts interesting. Workouts are designed to work on the upper body, core and lower body.
"I don't really like any of them," Lachney said with a laugh when asked which exercises he liked best. "I'll moan and groan, but I'll give it my all."
When Lachney first started going to the workouts, one of the exercises involved picking up a small tire and throwing it. "I said, 'We're doing what?'" He eventually got used to it.
Lachney, 56, has been a runner for nearly 38 years and started going to the group's workouts when he could make them. He likes the camaraderie, teamwork and fun the group provides all while getting fit.
"As I'm getting older, it helps keep me young," he said.
The workouts are a team effort. "We are there for each other," Lachney said.
While showing a new member how to do one of the exercises, another team member corrected him on the proper technique. "See?" he said. "That's where the team comes in. We help each other out."
"The workout is open to anyone wanting a challenge," Murchison said, adding that you don't have to be an athlete to join. "But they can't sue us," he joked.
Source: The Town Talk
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