Leading Through Limits: CrossFit Coach Jocelyn Coutant Becomes Connecticut National Guard’s First Female Infantry Officer
For CrossFit Coach Jocelyn Coutant, the military has always been part of the plan, there were just a few unexpected pit stops along the way. But this March, Coutant became the first Connecticut National Guard female infantry officer, an accomplishment that exceeded nearly everyone’s expectations, except those closest to her, and perhaps least of all, those who had been part of her CrossFit classes over the years.
One big thing: At 25, Coutant finally enrolled in the military after attending college and earning her masters degree, as well as working for one of the top accounting firms in the country. It was from there that her journey towards becoming Connecticut’s first female National Guard officer would take off.
- “I’ve always wanted to join the military, but my parents wanted me to go to college and do something in business so I became a tax accountant for PwC,” said Coutant.
- “It was a great job, but I knew it wasn’t for me so I enlisted at 25 into the Army National Guard because I wasn’t sure if I’d want to do it full time or not,” she added.
Strong from the inside out: Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of being a female or any gender in the military for that matter is the physical strength aspect.
- To help with that, Countant utilized CrossFit. Up until her enrollment in the military, Coutant had been coaching and training at MidCoast CrossFit in Old Saybrook, CT.
- “CrossFit was a great way for me to find my base strength and speed. It helped me prepare for basic training and most of my military schools by keeping me versatile and overall fit,” said Coutant.
- “I had to adjust certain training for different schools over the years but it overall allowed me to know what my body is capable of and kept me ready for anything,” she concluded.
- “At MidCoast CrossFit, Coutant was well-known for her ability to push athletes beyond what they thought they were capable of,”
- In 2020, she put her training to the test as she enrolled in IBOLC (Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course).
- “It was really physically demanding, but your body adjusts over time; you get used to carrying weight on your back,” she said.
Leading Through Limits: When Coutant enrolled in IBOLC, she began to understand the challenges she would face, not just because she was a female in a predominantly male school, but also because of her age. At 33, Coutant was one of the oldest members of her class; most of her classmates were fresh out of college.
- But Coutant didn’t let that stop her. Instead, she immediately began to take on a leadership role amongst her peers, an ability that came from her days of leading CrossFit Classes back in Old Saybrook, CT.
- She made it clear to her fellow classmates that the jobs they were entrusted with were serious business.
- “You are now in charge of people’s lives, and that is a huge deal,” said Coutant. “You have to grow up because a lot of people are relying on you.”
For the women who doubt themselves, Coutant has some words of advice:
- “Believe in yourself and don’t let anything limit you. I’ve had a lot of internal doubts about things and have second guessed myself, as we all do, but if you just push through it you’ll be surprised where you’ll end up,” she said.
- “My favorite saying lately has been ‘If you can’t get out of it, get in it.’” I’ve used that frequently throughout different army schools and situations,” Coutant added.
- “As a woman wanting to enter combat arms it’s important to know that you will have to work hard, possibly harder than most people, because you not only have to be mentally and physically strong, but you will be one of a few and all eyes will be on you,” she continued.
- “I was 1 of 6 females out of a company of 167 soldiers and you need to be prepared to embrace the suck like everybody else,” Coutant concluded.
For Coutant, the biggest challenge has been and still is being the first woman in her position and the pressures that come with that.
- For me, the biggest challenge was, and still is, the stress of knowing if I fail or underperform I could affect how women after me get viewed, or I could confirm the belief that women shouldn’t be in combat arms,” Coutant said.
- “Obviously it’s a smaller majority of people who believe that, but I see both sides of the argument. It’s one of those things you don’t quite understand until you are fully immersed in the training, the tempo, and the requirements of being in combat arms,” she added.
- “I may have passed the school, but the real challenges still lie ahead,” she concluded.
Editor’s Note: Jocelyn Coutant is now Jocelyn Lucier after marrying now husband Gerald Lucier. We wish them the very best in their marriage.