22 years of multiple deployments takes a toll on your body but the military always demanded that I stay in shape.  It was a non-negotiable part of the job. You stayed fit because your team, mission, and environment demanded no less. Fast forward to retirement and I was no longer “forced” to be in top physical condition. The duties of an Operations Manager or Production Supervisor did not require that I be able to carry 80 lbs of ammo, body armor, and provisions. My job didn’t care nor require I be able to march up and down hills in unforgiving territory in far-away lands and be able to sustain those operations for weeks and months at a time.

I sustained some pretty serious injuries when I was in and had multiple complications with them. Between 2 hip replacements, a shoulder surgery, and a badly needed ankle surgery – I was hurting. I let those injuries define what I was capable of – at first. Enter FRCF and Train to Transition. I was once again challenged physically and mentally. I had a defined work-out every day. There was little to no thought necessary. The coaches laid out a thorough warm-up, lifting regimen, and metabolic conditioning program. They were experts at sports conditioning and physiology and understood how best to modify the program based on my physical limitations. There was friendly competition again. There’s something to be said about the camaraderie formed through “group suffering” – I looked around the room and much like the military, people of all walks of life and abilities were doing the exact same thing and that in turn pushed me harder. Through this shared “suffering” a strong community was formed. People look out for one another, help each other, as well as encourage each other during the work-outs because you’re in it together – even if just for an hour a day.

Skip is a Veteran himself and is someone who I respect and trust – something I have struggled with since retiring. He’s built this program through grit and determination something he no doubt learned during his time in the 10th Mountain Division. The facility is state of the art. He and his staff’s professional credentials are remarkable. Many of his staff have competed at the highest level and possess the credibility to effectively lead our classes. In addition, Skip is passionate about Veterans and the need to stay fit – body, mind, and spirit. He avails himself to everyone at all times. He will take the extra time to make sure you “get it.” You won’t get that kind of service at a regular gym: The people here notice if you don’t show up. They care if you are pushing yourself. They care if you succeed.

Christopher S Smith