Crossfit workout helping Veterans readjust to civilian life

Program run through Veterans Village of San Diego
Posted at 7:11 AM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 10:11:59-04

A program through the Veterans Village of San Diego is letting Veterans work out at a local Crossfit gym as a way to help readjust to civilian life.

Each month, 5-10 veterans take classes at Crossfit Humanity. They go three times a week for an hour.

"The first workout really checked my ego," says Noel Williamson, a Navy Veteran who completed the program in May.

"It was just another reminder that I can overcome the obstacles in front of me," he says.

For Williamson, one of the obstacles was alcohol addiction.

"I was trying to escape," he says of his drinking. "What I was feeling, I wanted to press the skip button and just go back to being joyous."

Through the workouts, he learned a better way to channel his emotions and find purpose.

"It taught me that as long as I stay in the moment and continue to breathe, I can push through it. I can use those emotions and put some exertion into a workout, and I can get the same payoff at the end."

That's what the gym's owners had in mind when they met with VVSD about starting the program.

Matt Coder, one of the owners, says Crossfit helped him through is own battle with alcohol addiction. He believes it can do the same for anyone struggling with their own issues. He sees it in every veteran that comes in.

"The way they carry themselves, the confidence they gain from coming here, it's amazing," says Coder.

Veterans Village officials say they've seen a change as well.

"They talk about how it's helped them through Post-Traumatic Stress and their day to day challenges," says Claudia Castro, the coordinator of the VVSD Physical Fitness program.

She says the veterans who go through the program do a better job at staying connected to the other programs offered at VVSD. They also have a higher percentage of volunteering and connection to the community.

"I'm so happy and proud of all of them for committing themselves to this and getting their lives back in order," says Coder.