SSgt Ryan A. Nikzad, Marine Corps Air Station New River

Why were you interested in competing in the HITT Championship? Why are you an HITT athlete?

I am a HITT athlete because I know the benefits one can reap from the training.  Being an infantryman requires strength, stamina, and mental toughness.  This helps mold and maintain those three attributes.
I wanted to compete because I believe in leadership by example.  At some point you have to stop talking, and go out and show how it’s done.

What aspects of the HITT program or championship do you most identify with your role as a tactical athlete?

The way the HITT program and the Championship are set up, resembles the dynamic and demanding roles of a U.S. Marine, especially in combat roles.  What I mean is, one moment you may be hiking a ruck, the next sprinting 100M to find yourself carrying a casualty or kicking down a door.  The workouts are designed for the athlete to transition from one demanding role to the next with confidence and without hesitation.


LCpl Michelle K. Smith, Marine Air Corps Station New River

What do you think truly separates great athletes from good or average ones?

There are many factors that separate great athletes from the average. Devotion, dedication, and heart are the main things that separate the good from the great. Great athletes are the ones that are working on and off "the field" every single day. Great athletes have a focus about them that drives them to constantly grow. Great athletes will never know what it's like to be content or to be satisfied. They're hungry for growth and improvement. They're up early on the weekends, working when the good athletes are sleeping in. The great athletes are looking at their nutrition levels at early stages so they can improve in some area of fitness every day. Great athletes use their bad days to become hungrier on their good days. Good athletes will tire quickly, lose mental focus, and work only when they feel like it. Good athletes will never want to be great athletes. Great athletes will always strive to be greater.

Why are you a HITT athlete?

I was interested in competing in the TAC Event because I have always been a competitor. That is my mindset. When I was informed that this event was going on, I will admit, I was hesitant to participate. I was new to HITT and wasn't sure if I could complete all of the events. When I was motivated by my peers, I became excited to compete. Doing to pre-lims would only make me better in the end, so why not? Competition atmosphere is always fun, encouraging and full of challenge. I think the HITT competition is designed to bring around Marines with a similar goal in mind; to better themselves alongside peers that want do the same, and help you do it with them, and have some fun at the same time. That speaks to me. I am a HITT athlete because I firmly believe in the methodology behind it.


LCpl Daniela W. Salinas, MCB Okinawa

What do you think truly separates great athletes from good or average ones?

Grit is what separates great athletes from good or average ones. Not giving up after facing failure, over and over again, is what differentiates a great athlete from a good one.

Why were you interested in the HITT Championship?
I've always been a very competitive individual all throughout my life, and jumped at the opportunity to compete in the HITT Competition. I'm a HITT athlete because it makes you an overall strong, conditioned individual. The program doesn't just focus on one aspect of fitness, which is a great benefit because there is a lot of variety.


Capt. Ronald Q. Allen, MCB Okinawa

What aspects of the HITT program or championship do you most identify with your role as a tactical athlete?

The HITT program is the best thing the Marine Corps has to promote the complete athlete in terms of strength and power, speed, agility, and endurance, and execution of basic movements. I am most excited to be tested across the board in each of those categories because it will highlight my weaknesses; thus, giving a focus for future training.

Is there a social aspect to competing with your comrades?

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. It is why the 'November Project', Crossfit, and other group oriented fitness programs have succeeded - teams and communities with a shared goal push each member to be their best.


Capt. Paul J. Stephens, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

What do you think truly separates great athletes from good or average ones?

What separates great athletes from others is discipline.  Discipline to commit time to workouts, to consume proper nutrition, and to fight through fatigue and soreness.  To sum it up, I will quote a mantra from the book, "Legacy" by James Kerr. "Champions do more."

Why were you interested in competing in the HITT Championship?

I am interested in competing in the HITT Championship because I believe it will be a great test of my physical abilities and may give me more ideas to incorporate into my workout plans.  More importantly, my command is giving me a week off of work to go workout.  I am a HITT athlete because I enjoy pushing my body to its maximum capacity of exertion and I like being able to develop my entire body in one workout while utilizing more calories for that period of time, than other alternative exercises, such as running.


 


Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, SSgt Liane C. Rodriguez

What aspects of the HITT program or championship do you most identify with your role as a tactical athlete?

I most identify with the Combat HITT aspect of the HITT program due to the max speed, strength and power part of it as from the different training programs it has to offer. I love to run, especially for fun so stamina, endurance and agility I have in the bag. I am very excited to see what this year's championship has to challenge us with!

Is there a social aspect to competing with your comrades?

Marines are very competitive by nature so knowing we can come from all over the world to one place to compete in the fittest competition the Marine Corps has to offer each year is amazing! We will never forget times like this and just keep making memories, meeting so many different people, making friends and keep growing our Marine Corps family.


Sgt. Jason B. Raper, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

What do you think truly separates great athletes from good or average ones?

The separation between a good and great athlete, I believe, exists between the ears. The ability to overcome discomfort, pain, and adversity is integral to an athlete’s success both on and off the field. Society today provides so many avenues for athletes to find stress-free ways to meet their goals. Advances in supplements, low impact workout plans, and better equipment have afforded athletes with an opportunity to achieve similar levels of fitness that their processors had to grind to achieve 20 years ago. The result is that many competitors, those who choose to put their workout results to the test, struggle with the ability to push themselves to, or even beyond, the breaking point to achieve a new level of performance.

I am a firm believer in the idea that we as humans can literally do anything. We are only limited by what our minds will allow us to do. If we get out of our own way when it comes to pushing ourselves towards achieving goals, great things can happen. There is no room for doubt though. We as a society (generically speaking) are always looking for the easy way out; what pill can I take, is there an application for that, or the simple fear of failure precludes us from even starting. So, what separates a good athlete from a great one?  How strong is your mind and how willing are you to convince yourself that you can push past the physical and mental discomfort to achieve something great.

Why are you an HITT athlete?

I am interested in competing in the HITT championships because this is my version of a mid-life crisis. Some people buy cars and toys to compensate for that feeling of aging before their time. I just like to compete with and against Marines to remind myself that age is just a number. At 42, I am in the best shape of my life.

I am a HITT athlete because I seek the thrill of competition to help drive my physical fitness. I have labeled myself as an athlete all my life. I played college football and after college had a void to fill. I took up running and triathlons, which I enjoyed, but training always grew stale. As time and the science of physical fitness progressed, CROSSFIT and subsequently HITT type workouts and competitions bloomed. I relate to this style of competition because what you put in is what you get out.  I enjoy pushing myself to the brink and seeing how my body reacts.



Cpl. John C. Hernandez, MCB Hawaii
What aspects of the HITT program or championship do you most identify with your role as a tactical athlete?

As a tactical athlete you need to be able to sustain continuous motion at the highest level possible as fast as possible for as long as possible. The HITT program focuses on constant full body motion with and without weights, targeting all the spectrums of a complete tactical athlete and increasing all around muscle endurance along with cardiovascular capabilities.

Is there a social aspect to competing with your comrades?

There absolutely is! Being able to motivate and push others is awesome but doing so in a direct competition is even better. A little trash talk provides that extra motivation in my opinion, and helps increase performance levels.


GySgt Marques J. Johnson, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma 

Why were you interested in competing in the HITT Championship?

On the day of the preliminary HITT competition, a fellow Marine challenged me to compete.  I had not expected to compete and was caught off guard.  I ended up placing first and told that I would be advancing to the finals.  After winning the preliminaries, I became excited about competing against some of the best athletes in the Marine Corps.  Readiness is key to the success of the Marine Corps.  Among other key factors, our Marines should be physically, medically, and mentally ready to kill/defeat the enemy at a moment's notice. I believe that it is my ability to be ready for any challenge, physical, mental, or otherwise that makes me a HITT athlete.

What do you think truly separates great athletes from good or average ones?

Dedication, consistency, and a strong mind is what separates great athletes from the average athletes.   The average athlete trains when he/she has time, quits when he/she gets tired, and lacks the discipline to remain consistent. A great athlete prioritizes fitness and makes time to train.  A great athlete always pushes past his/her comfort zone and continuously finds ways to improve.  A great athlete knows that having a strong mind is just as important as having a strong body because when the body fails, the mind must take over.


1stLt Delaney T. Bourlakov, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Is there a social aspect to competing with your comrades?

Being able to interact with fellow HITT athletes is super motivating because we are all on the same page. It is more challenging to be competing with the best of the best and naturally we all have competitive natures especially at this level so it pushes you to go above and beyond. I am also super excited because one of my closest friends, Lt Leah Pollard, will be competing this year. Naturally that is going to bring the A-Game from both of us since we are extremely competitive, but it will also make this week mean even more because we are both able to see each other and catch up while still pursuing our Marine Corps careers and bettering ourselves.

What aspects of the HITT program or championship do you most identify with your role as a tactical athlete?

The HITT program as a whole is an intense and a daily challenge — which is why I love it and keep coming back. I am constantly learning something new and able to increase strength and incorporate cardio to find that "perfect in-between."  As a tactical athlete, it's important to be able to function in boots and utes — they are heavier, harder to maneuver in than civilian workout attire, but they prepare you for what you'd actually be wearing on the battlefield.


1stLt Leah M. Pollard, MCB Camp Pendleton

What do you think truly separates great athletes from good or average ones?

Mental toughness.  Everyone can be strong and everyone can be fast-but not everyone has the mental fortitude to push through the pain and accomplish something great.   

Why were you interested in competing in the HITT Championship? Why are you an HITT athlete?
Every afternoon I get together with a few other Marines at my Unit, and we do a HITT workout.  We do the workouts because they push us mentally and physically, and we have a lot of fun competing with eachother.  I am excited for the opportunity to compete in the HITT Championship because I will be able to spend a week doing what I love to do, with other Marines who share the same interest.