Captain CrossFit

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ethan Sherwood
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Capt. Matthew O’Neil, 17th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron general dentist, does more than keep teeth healthy. He’s also the physical training leader for the 17th Medical Group.

O’Neil participates in CrossFit at a local gym in his spare time and runs with the San Angelo Road Lizards to keep himself fit to fight.

“I have a history of high blood pressure and heart complications on my dad’s side of the family,” said O’Neil. “I don’t want to fall into that same trap of high blood pressure and overworking my heart.”

O’Neil implements his knowledge and dedication to fitness while leading flight PT.

“Flight PT is great because it helps us keep a closer eye on each other in regards to our fitness health,” said O’Neil. “It also helps us to bond with our people.”

Fitness is an essential part of every Airman’s life. It increases your physical health and has many benefits in other areas. A good workout has been proven to improve mental health.

“It’s easy to put fitness on the back-burner when we are all so busy, but there are so many positives that come from a good workout,” said O’Neil.

One of the positives that O’Neil has received from his workouts is new connections. He has grown new bonds by finding a shared love of fitness with the local community.

“Finding a community of people that share the same goals helps me stay interested,” said O’Neil. “Without a solid group of people, like those at CrossFit Diamond Steel, I would not be as motivated to put as much effort in.”

O’Neil’s road has not been without a few bumps. In 2021, he was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. Standing became painful, and working out was nearly impossible. After being repaired, he started the slow incline back to his goals.

“That experience really taught me to trust my body and learn my limitations during this recovery period,” said O’Neil.

When asked what his favorite workout of the day, “The Murph,” said O’Neil. The Murph is a Hero WOD dedicated to the life of U.S. Navy Lt. Michael Murphy. O’Neil completes “The Murph” every year and makes it more challenging for himself to honor Murphy’s memory.

“There are many modifications for this workout that make it doable for even beginners,” said O’Neil. “Everyone should give it a try!”