No excuse for this former soldier
When you first look at Noah Galloway, it's what you don't see that is so striking.
The shirtless man in the kilt doesn't have a left arm -- or a left leg.
What you see is a tattoo over his heart that stretches to his shoulder and down what's left of his arm. You see a mechanical leg designed for speed and endurance, but you don't see that the leg was amputated just above the knee because of the kilt, a nod to Galloway's Scottish heritage.
You don't see any quit in the former U.S. Army sergeant who had a bad day back on Dec. 19, 2005.
South of Baghdad, Galloway gave an arm and a leg to his country when an improvised explosive device changed his life.
Saturday, the Alabaster, Ala., resident was in Columbus not far from Fort Benning, where he went through basic training and jump school. He was one of the athletes competing in the CrossFit Rumble by the River. CrossFit is a fitness program that challenges athletes to work on repetition and endurance by lifting weights, running and doing pushups and other exercises.
It hurts to watch it -- and that's the ones with all the appendages.
Watching Galloway is more inspirational than painful.
Your first thought is: "What's my excuse?"
This was Galloway's first CrossFit challenge. He asked for no special favors, but, obviously, some of the exercises had to be modified for his physical limitations. When others were lifting a bar bell, he was clean and jerking a 52-pound kettle bell.
He did it 30 times. The last few times the stump on his left arm was quivering as he willed the weight over his head.
Watch that a few times and make an excuse for walking a few miles or taking a 20-mile bike ride.
"There is no excuse not to be fit and healthy," Galloway said. "If I can do it missing an arm and a leg, there is no single excuse to use."
Galloway is also training for the Marine Marathon in October.
His motto? "Train like a machine."
Galloway is now 30 and has transferred his Army will into fitness. He works part time at a YMCA in the Birmingham area. He trains and gives motivational speeches.
Well spoken, Galloway, who was with the 101st Airborne Division, can talk matter of factly about being in a Humvee one minute and waking up Christmas Day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He can talk about being 24 and having his world change instantly.
He's not a machine, just a man who was dealt some bad luck. But he approaches it with a positive attitude.
"You have to push yourself to go beyond the limits your brain wants to set," he said. "There is always more."
One more rep, one more push up, one more lap.
Think about that the next time you are looking for an excuse not to exercise.
Chuck Williams, senior editor for content, email@example.com.