Body By ROTC



We’ll be the first to admit it: we aren’t the most muscular writers on FM. We don’t have the prodigious heft of Nathan and Ben, for instance. But, feeling fed up with the biting jabs about our scrawniness at writers’ meetings, we recently sought the help and advice of one of the fittest people on campus: Carolyn F. Pushaw ’16, a Marine-option ROTC midshipmen.



We’ll be the first to admit it: we aren’t the most muscular writers on FM. We don’t have the prodigious heft of Nathan and Ben, for instance. But, feeling fed up with the biting jabs about our scrawniness at writers’ meetings, we recently sought the help and advice of one of the fittest people on campus: Carolyn F. Pushaw ’16, a Marine-option ROTC midshipman.

As a participant in ROTC, Pushaw does two days of group conditioning and two at-home assigned workouts a week, as well as occasional hikes—while carrying a 65-pound pack. After deciding that we weren’t quite ready for Pushaw’s most extreme workouts, we caught up with her for one of her at-home routines. Six feet tall, muscular, and clad in a Crossfit tank top, Pushaw clearly has the credentials to whip us into shape.

And now, without further ado, the workout—and how we fared.

Cardio Warm-up:

This part is pretty easy. Pushaw instructs us to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. Ramsey watches the episode of “Friends” in which Matt LeBlanc’s character laments over a broken lounge chair. Ramsey also gets his left shoe caught in the loop of his right shoelace and almost wipes out royally but catches himself just in time. Crisis averted.

Medicine Ball Warm-up:

We prepare our upper bodies by tossing an eight-pound medicine ball amongst ourselves. First overhead throws, then bounce passes followed by chest passes. Carolyn launches the medicine ball at Miranda as if it were a basketball. Miranda is almost toppled over as she catches the first throw. Still, she recovers nicely before heaving the ball over to Ramsey.

Box Jumps and Farmer’s Carry:

This one consists of jumping onto a box 10 times and then walking 50 yards while holding dumbbells at your sides. Apparently the Farmer’s Carry is helpful for carrying a stretcher, a good skill to have given that on some of the Marine ROTC hikes, one lucky midshipman designated as a “casualty” must be carried on a stretcher by the others. Miranda is a little too short for the box height that Carolyn uses, but she gives it her best shot. Then, Carolyn cheerfully hefts a 55-pound dumbbell in each hand and sets off along the 50 yard stretch. Miranda, unable to budge a dumbbell over 20 pounds, settles for a lesser weight.

Chin-ups and Box Step-ups:

Here’s where things get nasty. Even Carolyn admits that “this part’s a killer.” A quick disclaimer: Miranda has never done a chin-up before in her life. Ramsey holds his tongue, stares at the chin-up bar valiantly, and then gulps in fear. After claiming that she, too, is “bad” at chin-ups, Carolyn proceeds to knock out eight in a row, easy. Ramsey follows with five—really not bad! Then Miranda dangles sadly from the chin-up bar with both hands before Carolyn picks her up and lifts her to the ground, kindly putting her out of her misery. Miranda still does the step-ups, though! With weights! 

Bench Press and Romanian Dead Lifts:

At this point, Ramsey is starting to move into the swing of things with Carolyn, while Miranda, having all but given up, decides to just do some more step-ups. After a brief demonstration on bench pressing from a kindly football player who is clearly wondering why the heck two scrawny souls like us would ever be in the weight room, we set to work. 

We quickly discover that Romanian Dead Lifts are comparatively much easier. Plus, their name is infinitely more fun to say. All in all, the ordeal takes almost two hours to complete (though we may have lengthened it by our incessant questions and need for instruction). We wanted to get #swole, but it feels like ain’t nobody got time for that. (FM knows what pop culture sayings the youths are using!)

Still, Carolyn advises us that lifting consistently, even for a short amount of time, is really good for building strength. We thank her profusely and leave the gym dripping in sweat and aching all over, never to return until forced by a similarly sadistic Crimson assignment.