How does the world’s number one private security firm ensure its protectors are constantly in the best physical shape? Simple – they have them do CrossFit.
Gavin de Becker & Associates has a client list that reads right out of the who’s who of the world – as a matter of fact, their client list is literally, the who’s who of the world. Having worked with the likes of the latest Oscar winner all the way to the next door neighbor who unfortunately has a stalker, Gavin de Becker’s Security Staff Agents (SSA’s) are as comfortable on the red carpet as they are silently standing incognito in the back of a PTA meeting.
Why have they chosen CrossFit as their main training modality? One of CrossFit’s main tenets is that it prepares you for the unknown and unknowable. Being versed in all manner of athletic movements leaves very little room for weaknesses in a CrossFit athlete’s arsenal.
When SSA’s are with clients in the field, they never know what they are going to encounter and have to be prepared for everything from deterring an actual assassination attempt to quickly changing a tire on a busy freeway, from performing CPR (a workaholic 65 year old CEO is far more likely to encounter a myocardial infarction than he/she is a sniper’s bullet) to helping load luggage.
One thing is for certain though, on any protective assignment or “detail” as they’re called, the unknowable and unplanned for is most likely going to happen. Mr. de Becker’s SSA’s are well versed in Mr. Murphy’s Law as they have all experienced it at work at one point or another.
Ed Hinman, Gavin de Becker’s Head of Recruitment, had this to say about why CrossFit is their chosen fitness regimen:
We’re not looking for the stereotypical 300lbs gorilla. We’re looking for someone with endurance, stamina, and strength; someone who can sprint, hop a fence, and most importantly, someone who can make quick decisions and act.
There’ve been situations where an associate has had to leap up on a stage, hop over a fence, or even physically subdue a potential threat. Other examples where CrossFit comes into play is conditioning. Our protectors wear an assortment of protective gear and often carry medical bags. Some of our at-risk clients are avid runners, so our protectors run with them. Other at-risk clients hike, so our protectors hike with them. During all these scenarios, our protectors continue to wear their gear – and often, in hot and humid conditions.
When it comes to GDBA protectors with a CrossFit background, protecting clients while hiking or running is low pulse activity – and our clients notice this first-hand, often commenting with amazement at how physically fit we truly are. This inspires the confidence of both the client and the protector.
As someone who has both worked in the Executive Protection business and currently coaches CrossFit, I see the two as a great marriage. Having to deal with stress, perform in adverse conditions, or when under duress themselves are things all CrossFitters are familiar with. These mental skills are the intangible qualities possessed by an individual who is both more than physically capable of picking up a suitcase as he/she is running with a dead weight in the arms. One skill set is hopefully used far more often than the other.
A positive attitude is essential. To work up to 60 hours a week, often on your feet, and well into the night, requires a “can-do” positive attitude. This same “can-do” spirit is personified by any dedicated CrossFitter; as a result, CrossFitters seem to be a great fit for our firm. More than anything, character matters, I tell candidates who are interested in a career with our firm this: I care more about who you are than what you are.
Where else does a company like this do its recruiting? The elite levels of the military – including Marine Force Recon and the Navy SEALs. So the CrossFitters who are recruited by Gavin de Becker & Associates should consider themselves in good company.
For anyone in the personal protection business looking to improve their physical capacity, CrossFit.com is a great resource. For any CrossFitters out there interested in the Executive Protection world, simply go to Gavin de Becker’s website and submit a resume to email@example.com. Applicants can also forward their resume directly to Hinman at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ed will personally take a look.
And I will personally add this in regards to sending in a resume – doing just that led to five of the most interesting years of my life.
Also read my review of Gavin de Becker’s bestseller, The Gift of Fear – a book that could quite possibly save your life.