The third annual High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) Tactical Athlete Championship will soon be underway. From August 28–31, top male and female athletes compete to be the best tactical athlete in the Marine Corps. Events include strength and conditioning activities that mirror the seven foundational movements within the HITT program.

Want to be the next HITT champion? Check out tips and advice from this year’s competitors:

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.
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LCpl Michelle K. Smith, Marine Corps Air 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. Click here to read more.

 

LCpl Daniela W. Salinas, MCB Okinawa

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.
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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.
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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."
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Sgt Liane C. Rodriguez, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
 

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.

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

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. 
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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.
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GySgt Marques J. Johnson, Marine Air Corps 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.

 Click here to read more.

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

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.

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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.  

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For more information about the Third Annual HITT Tactical Athlete Championship click here to view an article on the 2017 HITT Preliminaries or visit your local fitness center.