ISP troopers using CrossFit to become stronger, healthier

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 10, 2015)-- Every day, 150 to 200 Indiana State Police troopers participate in the fitness regimen called CrossFit. The Health Management Specialist for ISP couldn’t be happier, because he’s getting results.

“The first four years of the academy, we did the traditional pushups, sit ups, running and we created injuries, shin splints and things like that,”  says Troy Torrence. “We didn’t get the officers as strong as we needed. By slowly increasing the protocol of CrossFit, we noticed their strength go up, endurance, power output and injury rate decrease a bit.”

CrossFit is promoted as a physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport. Created by Greg Glassman in 2000,  it uses high intensity interval training, weight lifting, gymnastics and calisthenics.

Chris Barr, 47, is a sergeant with ISP.  He started doing CrossFit four years ago and he says he’s increased his strength and overall fitness level by doing the timed, high intensity, varied workouts, called WODs or workout of the day.

“You are constantly challenging yourself to do better, than what you did yesterday, to be stronger, fitter, faster than you were yesterday, last week, last month,” said Barr.

Barr works out in a box, otherwise known as a CrossFit gym called JoCo in Johnson County.  There are close to 5,000  CrossFit facilities around the country.

Critics of CrossFit say the rigorous nature of the exercise isn’t for everybody.

There's a condition associated with CrossFit where tissues break down, it's called Rhabdomyolysis. Doctors consider it rare.

State Police officers get three hours a week to work on their fitness.  Many run, bike, swim and do the more traditional regimens.

But CrossFitters, like Sgt. Barr, swear by the rigorous, self competitive nature of the program. Barr’s doctor has encouraged him and has seen his cholesterol and blood pressure numbers decrease.

“Whatever it is you’re doing,  keep doing it,” Barr's doctor told him.  “So my numbers, my cholesterol, blood pressure, all of these things are right where he wants them to be."

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