Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 25
All crossed upAppropriately dubbed 'the sport of fitness,' see why CrossFit has taken the fitness world by storm
BY KRISTINA SEWELL
Day 4 Workout: The Filthy Fifty. Complete 50 of each of the following: box jumps, jumping pull-ups, kettle bell swings, walking lunges, knees to elbows, push press, sit-ups, wall balls, burpees, and double unders.
“Come on girl, push through!” I hear my partner and mentor yell. “You can do it!”
I finish my last jump rope rep and when it’s over, I can’t believe I’m finally done. I glance at the red numbers on the clock, telling me the workout only took 33 minutes, even though it felt much longer.
There is a roaring sound in my ears that I’m pretty sure is my heartbeat. I’m sweating profusely and my leg muscles are twitching uncontrollably; it will be a miracle if I can raise my arm enough to open my car door.
I’ve just completed my fourth session of CrossFit and my body feels like it’s been at war. But despite the burn in my muscles, there’s a glaring sense of accomplishment that outshines the pain—I’ve just pushed my body to new limits and I’m still standing.
The biggest realization yet is that I want to come back and see how far I can push myself at the next session. Either I’m a secret sadist or just plain crazy, but I’m hooked.
Despite CrossFit’s recent jump in popularity, there are some out there who still don’t know what it is. Now regarded as the premiere strength and conditioning program for athletes and non-athletes at all levels, CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity.”
According to Chad Franco, owner and trainer at CrossFit Five Cities (C5), CrossFit is a combination of Olympic weightlifting, power lifting, gymnastic movements, and plyometrics, and running, jumping, sprinting, pushing, pulling, and squatting.
“CrossFit focuses on the 10 general physical skills of power: strength, speed, coordination, balance, accuracy, cardio respiratory, flexibility, agility, and stamina,” Franco said.
The roots of CrossFit can be traced back to Greg Glassman who opened the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz almost 10 years ago. After years of coaching and watching all types of people work out, Glassman developed the CrossFit program.
“He took what worked best from the exercise regimens that created the most versatile athletes,” Franco said. “He made it into a sport to challenge our bodies in constantly varied ways to create the best results.”
The small following that Glassman started in Santa Cruz has spread across the United States at a rapid rate. According to Russell Berger, CrossFit’s head instructor for Level I courses, the number of CrossFit gyms has more than doubled since 2009. There are now 43,000 CrossFit gyms in the United States alone.
Berger said the most amazing thing about CrossFit is that the program has never endorsed major marketing or infomercial advertisements like other workout programs such as Insanity and P90X.
“CrossFit has spread because it’s effective. These are everyday movements and we are challenging the human body to excel at these movements,” he said.
CrossFit has been appropriately named “the sport of fitness” because it adds a sport-like feel to working out.
“That same unique, fun, competitive nature you had as a 10-year-old playing soccer comes out when you are working out at a CrossFit box,” Franco said.
One of the principle concepts behind CrossFit is to be faster, stronger, and more efficient with each workout, while executing proper mechanics. The results you see will ultimately equal your dedication and hard work.
Perhaps the most unique and appealing thing about the sport is its adaptability. In Glassman’s article What is Fitness? he states that the needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ only by degree, not type.
So whether you have the needs of an elite athlete or an average Joe, Franco said, every workout can be scaled to accommodate your level of fitness.
“This is why even after years of training [in] CrossFit, scores and times in workouts continue to drop and athletes continue to improve,” Franco said.
CrossFit sessions typically last anywhere from eight to 30 minutes, which is another plus in today’s busy world where people don’t have a lot of time to get in a good workout. Each session begins with a proper warm-up and agilities before starting the clock.
CrossFit Five Cities member Angela McGregor said she felt “at home” after her first session. After just missing a chance at the Olympics for pole vaulting, McGregor joined C5 as an outlet and to keep in shape.
“The intensity is huge; the added pressure of the clock pushes you,” McGregor said. “I get a better workout in an hour than I did during my three-hour vaulting workouts.”
A program designed to yield intensely high results, CrossFit provides muscle confusion with constantly varied workouts and movements that everyone—from the elderly to those with prosthetic limbs—can do.
For local resident Michelle Cavaletto, CrossFit helped give her the motivation to get back in shape. Previously a cross-country athlete, Cavaletto joined CrossFit Five Cities with her husband last November.
“I have definitely noticed an improvement in my energy and overall mood,” Cavaletto said. “I have been able to increase my run mileage to about 30 miles a week which is up from the 15 miles I was doing prior to beginning CrossFit.”
For Cavaletto, CrossFit is ideal because workouts always challenge the body and the sport is never monotonous.
Aside from the obvious physical benefits of CrossFit, Berger said the program carries over to life in impressive ways. According to McGregor, CrossFit makes you aware of what you’re putting into your body. The desire to be stronger and faster at the next workout fosters a healthier sense of nutrition.
Above everything else, CrossFit nurtures a fun, competitive nature in a positive, supportive environment. No matter what gym you’re at, other CrossFit athletes are always willing to help cheer you on and offer advice.
“Everyone at C5 is so supportive of each other; there is constant encouragement and so much positivity,” Cavaletto said.
The sport has now grown to include its own CrossFit games, with 70,000 athletes nationwide competing each year. For Franco, CrossFit has no bounds and will continue to grow, maybe even as a part of the Olympic games.
“We all are just in awe of what the human body can accomplish and we want to help push people past the limits of what they thought they were capable of,” he said. “We love to see the human spirit conquer limitations set by our current worldview of fitness.”
Staff Writer Kristina Sewell always crosses her right leg over her left. Contact her at email@example.com.