Lifting to Honor the Fallen
In this audio essay, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Rob Krol explains how and why his Memorial Day ritual and his workout became one and the same. Story by Bodybuilding.com audio producer Daniel Kerr. Photos by Bodybuilding.com photographer Eric Knape.
"In the aircraft maintenance world, everything is heavy. Being strong and fit made my job easier."
"You don't want to fail your fellow soldier, airman, Marine. You don't want to fail your unit. You don't want to fail the American people."
"Joining the military is one of the most selfless acts that anybody could do. You're willing to serve your country—and pay the ultimate price."
"I don't compete. I don't measure myself against anybody else except myself."
"Paying tribute to those that have fallen is an everyday thing. Even just by being your best self. Being kind. Being generous. Volunteering with veterans organizations."
In a 20-year Air Force career, Krol served as a fighter crew chief in Korea, Italy, and at bases across the United States.
"Every base I went to, or every squadron I was in, I'd meet new people. And I always met them at the gym."
"The way I honor those who have fallen on Memorial Day is by doing something that they can't do: Going to the gym and going all out."
"The intensity level is higher than normal. The pain threshold is higher. I can feel it in my heart."
"When I don't want to work out and I'm tired and I hurt, I think, 'There's people who can't do it. Because they lost their lives serving this country.' Those are the days that I push myself extra hard. I have to be willing to do for myself what they can't do."
"There's not a day of the week that I'm not sore. If I'm not sore, I don't think I'm working hard enough."
"I'll say to myself, 'Just one more. One more.' And my partners will ask, 'Why?' And I'll say, 'Because I owe it.'"
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