To the untrained eye, CrossFit 859 – a new gym in Brannon Crossing – looks more like a little kid’s playhouse than a hub for some major blood, sweat and tears.
I have heard a lot about CrossFit over the years. I’ve encountered a lot of fanatics, and I have encountered a lot of naysayers. I know people who swear by it and have the muscles to prove it. I also know people who were severely injured by pushing themselves too hard too soon in the go-hard or go-home environment.
After hearing a lot of friends talk about the gym’s WODs (workouts of the day) and how they could hardly walk afterward, I was intrigued. I’m always looking for a new, challenging workout, so I decided to try it for myself. It turns out I had already done most of the exercises included in the workout of the day at some point in my fitness career – jumping chin ups on the rings, jumping squats, “burpees,” hanging abdominal crunches, etc. – but never before had I done so many in a row, all at one time. The combination was brutal. But the trainers were incredibly encouraging, the atmosphere was fun and I was not alone in my agony. After 30 pushups, 30 box jumps, 30 medicine ball tosses, 30 split squats and more – all on a timer – I was hurting.
The new gym definitely proved it is serious business. CrossFit 859 is run by a group of eight owners, including four CrossFit Level 1 trainers. The gym, which opened in December 2012, is responding to a growing national trend of CrossFit fanatics. CrossFit is an affiliate-based corporation with more than 4,500 affiliates worldwide. It has exploded onto the scene recently with ESPN’s coverage of the CrossFit Games and a 10-year deal with Reebok.
“CrossFit is constantly varied functional movement executed at high intensity,” explained Kelly Jennings, a CrossFit 859 trainer. “It is centered around a community of people accomplishing the same goal together: becoming fit in the realest sense if the word. Our goal is to bring out the athlete in everyone, from the elite to the housewife. All of this is done through simply making people better in every aspect, from fitness to nutrition.”
An experienced fitness trainer, Jennings said he stumbled upon CrossFit about three years ago and started implementing some of the concepts into his own training.
“My training slowly began to include more and more functional movements,” he said. “I started to discover that fitness is way more than getting on a treadmill and then doing bicep curls, that it encompasses every aspect of your life.”
He said he believes the regimen can have a positive influence on other people’s fitness needs as well.
“The group of guys that I am launching this affiliate with are a close group of friends who all have the same passion for CrossFit that I have,” Jennings said. “We all just jumped in together and decided to go for it. I really believe in the CrossFit methodology and that it truly has the power to make people not only healthy, but also fit – in the truest sense of the word.”
From what I have observed doing the workout myself, talking with CrossFit fanatics and seeing results experienced CrossFitters get, I think it does work. But I also think it needs to be done very carefully. Though the CrossFit 859 trainers are extremely knowledgeable and are constantly watching for form and making corrections, the “Average Joe or Jane” with little fitness experience needs to be extremely careful swinging around heavy kettlebells, tossing medicine balls overhead, and performing many other challenging drills in a competitive environment since they could lead to injury. This is not unlike other workouts, though where injuries can easily happen.
Like any other workout, I say try it for yourself, know your limits, do your own research on CrossFit, and discover what you like or don’t like about it. I know I will be implementing some of the moves into my own workouts.