How one vet snatched & clawed his way to running his own CrossFit gym

gettyimages 478723277 How one vet snatched & clawed his way to running his own CrossFit gym

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Phil Briggs

Caution! What you’re doing right now may be hazardous to your health… and it actually sent one former SEAL to the hospital.

“We’re basically killing ourselves slowly, by sitting in our chairs,” former SEAL and CrossFit gym owner Brian Grogan tells

“I took a desk job, and although I enjoyed the job, I was much more sedentary than I had been for the previous 20, 30 years — and that took a toll. I started to feel it, I ended up in the hospital a couple times, once with Vertigo. And after that, I realized something wasn’t right.”

Everything changed when Grogan found a doctor who was also a physical therapist.

“I had been introduced to CrossFit back in 2001, and there were quite a lot of SEALs associated with it, but I didn’t really view it as a solution to my problem.

“But I came across a doctor who had fused a lot of physical therapy concepts: recovery, movement, position, with CrossFit. He kind of looked at CrossFit as his lab. If [he] has you do a squat, he can look at your squat and find different dysfunctions in your body.”

And as he trained to recover, it became more than just an exercise routine for Grogan.

“In my own pursuit to fix myself and get back into fitness, and generally just enjoy life again, I got into CrossFit. Then after a while, a couple folks were like, ‘hey you should pass this on to other people’ and one thing led to another, and here I am, owning a CrossFit gym.”

Grogan — whose “GROG CrossFit” is located in Frederick, Maryland — says people shouldn’t be intimidated by the intensity.

“Sometimes when people hear CrossFit… they think ‘I could never do that.’

“But if you take the CrossFit out of it, and think about what a police officer does, at any given time he is loaded with gear and may have to run, jump over something, move through something, pick something up. So for lack of a better term, we’ve come up with something called functional movement. It’s movement everyone can do.”

Functional movements are defined as multi-joint, multi-dimensional actions that involve the entire body.

For example, instead of performing quad exercises on a leg extension machine, functional movement would involve air squats or weighted squats, activating knee, hip and ankle joints.

“People used to always ask, ‘how do I prepare for SEAL training?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know’ … but when most of us broke it down we said, ‘pull ups, sit ups, pushups, run and prepare yourself mentally.’”

We're coming for you 2017! #grog #crossfit #Maryland #Frederick #MD #Chelsea

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“The other thing I’ll point out is intensity and consistency. If you’ve been doing nothing for three years, and start working out once a week, you’ve just upped your intensity. And when we see that intensity ramping up consistently, then we know they’re on the right track.”

Listen to the entire interview:



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