Team RWB: The 1776 Challenge

By Georgia I. Salvaryn

On June 17, Team Red, White & Blue (RWB) will hold its third annual 1776 Challenge, an 18-day fitness event for veterans and supporters of all ability levels. This challenge is meant to showcase support for the men and women who have and are serving our country.

Last year, a veteran and former college classmate of mine, Babee Garcia, reached out to me and asked me to support her and participate in the challenge with her. Garcia, a 29-year-old Charlottesville, VA, resident, served three years in the Marine Corps on active duty.

After recruit training in Parris Island, SC, she went to Marine Combat Training in Camp Geiger, NC. Following her combat training, she went to Military Occupational Specialty school in Meridian, MS. Her first and only duty station was Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Garcia, a New Jersey resident at the time, was working remotely for Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill’s district office as a digital and press assistant. With lockdown curfews and regulations in place, she started looking for a way to channel her stress from being isolated and focus on being healthy.

When she was researching military organizations that are committed to health, wellness, and fitness, she came across Team RWB and the 1776 Challenge. “[The 1776 Challenge] gave me realistic fitness goals to achieve everyday,” Garcia wrote, in response to my interview questions. “And nostalgia because the exercises reminded me of what I’ve done for physical training sessions with my unit.”

When she reached out to me about the challenge, I did not hesitate to say yes. With motivation and inspiration, I tackled every challenge and completed them to the best of my ability to show support for her and for the military.

The challenge seemed simple enough: 100 reps for 17 days and 76 reps on the Fourth of July. “This challenge works out every part of the body and it doesn’t require weights or any other fitness machines,” Garcia recalled. “You can do it anywhere at any time of the day. So it aligned with my work schedule and gave me something to look forward to each day.”

The exercises change daily, and videos are available on the Team RWB app and website to show demonstrations of the exercises and modifications for varying ability levels. There were no rules on how to break down the exercise reps.

The first day was 100 lunges, and being someone who was physically active, I thought it would be easy. I was dead wrong.

I initially broke down the workout reps to four sets of 25. After completing the first 25 lunges, however, I switched to doing seven sets of 10 and one set of five. It made the exercise more bearable.

Some exercises were a little easier than others. As I completed each exercise of the day, I felt myself getting stronger and feeling more confident about myself and my physical fitness abilities.

“I learned how even though I gained weight since I got out of the Marine Corps, my body is still strong,” Garcia responded. “[My body] has gone through long hikes, HIIT workouts, PFTs/CFTs (Physical Fitness Tests/Combat Fitness Tests), and other intense forms of exercise. Going through the challenge made me realize that I may not have been physically as thin as when I served, but it’s never too late to jump back into disciplining your body and mind into fitness.”

If you are interested in participating in the 1776 Challenge, go to Team RWB’s website, and register today! Download the app to check in for the daily exercises and easier access to the video demonstrations and modifications.

“I think that this challenge is made for everyone–not just veterans. If people want to change their lifestyle, become healthier and active, I definitely recommend it,” Garcia noted. “People can gain self-confidence knowing that they can accomplish each exercise at any time of the day at their own pace and after they finish it. It teaches you about commitment, time management, physical/mental strength, and unity.”

Georgia Iris Salvaryn

is a writing intern for Quade Media who loves utilizing her creativity whenever the opportunity arises. She received her BA in Jounrnalism from Montclair State University and is currently pursuing an MA in Writing at Rowan University. You can read more of her work and about her writer’s journey on her website.