This past Monday I did something I swore for a long time I would never do; join a CrossFit style gym. I guess I could put up a heroic defense and argue that it was inevitable or some act of fate beyond my control but in the end I was simply overcome by curiosity. I drank the Kool-Aid in fact I dove into it with both feet and came out the other side a sweaty panting exhausted man with a grin from ear to ear. After moving to Bradenton Florida and sampling the local gym options, gaining a few dirty looks along the way and a growing impatience with inconsiderate jerks in the free weight pile, I began to understand what had driven many of my friends towards CrossFit. It’s a challenge, convenient, and most of all effective.
I’ve been aware of CrossFit for the better part of a decade and have utilized its workouts from time to time but the negative perception of it and encounters with fanatical followers usually drove me away. There was also the specter of injury looming in the background, which still is a very real concern, if caution is not taken to perfect form and function before attempting heavy Olympic lifts. The reality though is that CrossFit is nothing new on the fitness scene. High Intensity circuit training has been around for half a century. But CrossFit has triumphed in the way they market and package their system. Now everyone is scrambling to capitalize on its popularity.
The gym we chose is not an actual CrossFit affiliate. I have no desire to inflate the profit margins of CrossFit Inc, Reebok, Rogue, or any of the other companies charging three times the value of gear and products to people in a crippled economy. “Fit Crew” is a locally owned and operated facility in an old warehouse in the shady part of town. They utilize short intense cross training workouts composed of various moves, body-weight exercises, and heavy lifts. There’s no air conditioning, the equipment is used, battered, and bruised but functional and ingenious. The owners have taken the Home depot approach to equipment, saving hundreds of dollars on gear, and passing this savings onto members, and their profit margin.
While it is apparent to anyone capable of simple addition that the owners are making a tidy sum each month; it is obvious that they and the staff they employ are passionate about fitness and helping people. There are several options available and packages to work around any schedule and budget; making this type of fitness program truly accessible to everyone. Legion Fitness has always been about making fitness and good health affordable and despite its popularity I refuse to associate with any group or enterprise bent on making profit goal number one when it comes to gym membership and training.
We have signed on for three workouts a week, each about an hour long and never repeated. I will probably work another day of pure weight training into this to aid in my goals. Based on the effects of Monday’s routine though, a fourth workout each week may not be possible. I am looking forward to the challenge of it and pushing myself past my sticking points. It’s nice to be surrounded by like minded people when you’re working out instead of the usual parade of zombies that are only at the gym because someone told them they had to be. I see a lot of that as a personal trainer and it is taxing on the soul and heart. It’s hard to inspire passion in people that would rather be out back smoking a cigarette and eating a Big Mac then working out. But I try anyway.
Finally, joining this club just fit into my training goals. I have spent the last 12 weeks utilizing intensive heavy lifting to add some lean muscle and size on my frame at the expense of my endurance. Now that I am the size I want to be its time to turn my training in a more functional and usable direction. Besides looming dates with several Obstacle Races, I have plans of my own on operating a boot camp/gym here in Florida by next year and my ability as an athlete needs to directly reflect that to my would be clients if I hope to succeed and prosper. Coupled with my Personal training Career this experience will just be another tool in my arsenal of effective workout routines and programs to pass on to clients now and in the future.
Most CrossFit affiliates and similar cross training style facilities offer a free workout to entice new members in and I advise everyone to at least give it a try. You never know you may drink the Kool-Aid and decide you actually like it.