Pride in Fitness

4 Nov 2014 | Lance Cpl. Gunnar Welch Marine Barracks

Marines pride themselves on being able to operate in any clime and place, regardless of the terrain or weather. This takes sacrifice and struggle however, and for many, the work starts in the gym. Marines constantly seek to improve themselves physically, and this month I was able to sit down with two of Alpha Company’s top physical performers to get their take on maintaining a high level of fitness.

Lance Cpl. Alex Jarbo of Sterling Heights, Mich. is a squad leader in 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. He is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the lifestyle and physical training necessary to stay fit. An overweight adolescent in grade school, Jarbo dedicated himself to working out once he reached high school. He joined the swim and cross country teams and soon decided he wanted to join the Marine Corps.

Over the last few years, Jarbo has become an avid reader of books that focus on nutrition, dieting, and various workout methods. He believes that every athlete has to be a student first, doing research before you can get the results you want, both in the gym and at the table.

“You always see Marines in the gym working hard to get in shape, but then they eat a terrible diet,” said Jarbo. “It makes no sense.”

Jarbo recommends that Marines work out five to six times a week, with an equal mix of cardiovascular and strength training.

“I absolutely love lifting, but cardiovascular training is more important,” said Jarbo. “It will help you much more with the physical tests that the Marine Corps requires of you.”

Another excellent example of physical fitness in Alpha Company is Cpl. Austin Yarbrough, a squad leader from 1st Platoon. Yarbrough started his athletic career in the ring, boxing for several years when he was younger. In high school, he transitioned to football, where he excelled.

“It was the sport to play growing up in the South,” said Yarbrough, a Gainesville, Ga. native.

After he joined the Marine Corps, his knowledge of physical fitness continued to grow. As a certified High Intensity Tactical Training instructor Yarbrough believes in changing up workouts on a regular basis to help trick your muscle groups and keep them challenged. He also believes that lifting ‘right’ is better than lifting ‘a lot’.

“Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing around you,” said Yarbrough. “Drop the weight and rep it right.”

Yarbrough sticks to cross-training and constantly works in events that involve wearing body armor and running in boots, a necessary evil for any Marine who wants to succeed in the infantry.

Regardless of military occupational speciality, it is imperative that all Marines maintain the highest levels of physical fitness and stay ready for whatever challenges the Corps has in store. According to these two Alpha Company Marines, a little research, dieting, and learning proper form is the best place to start.