Some call it “God’s workout.” Some call it crazy. Either way, CrossFit has captured the attention of the fitness world, making people talk of Boxes, W.O.Ds, a girl named Fran and the Filthy Fifty.
Established in 2000 by Greg Glassman, CrossFit caught the fitness community on fire. There were 13 affiliates by its fifth year, and by 2012 there were 3,400 affiliates across the globe. Boxes were popping up at every corner, and still are.
A Box is a CrossFit gym, bare-boned and containing only the equipment needed to get the job done. Inside the Box, a little bit of everything takes place.
“CrossFit is functional movements at high intensity, constantly varied,” said Angie McCord, co-owner and coach at CrossFit Murray. “Everyday you come in and it’s something different, and everyday you’re going to come in and it’s going to mimic something you do in real life. We do lifting. We do bodyweight and gymnastic type movements. We do metabolic conditioning. We run, we row, we bike.”
CrossFit W.O.D.s (workout of the day) are designed to improve normal bodily functions, making you stronger not just in the gym, but everywhere you go and in every movement your body makes.
CrossFit prepares clients for the “unknown and unknowable,” Glassman said.
“Everything we do in here is going to make you better at living your life,” McCord said. “It’s going to make you stronger; it’s going to make you have a little bit more endurance and mental toughness. We started CrossFit in Murray because we saw that the city had some great exercise facilities, but it didn’t have something like this.”
CrossFit, with its growing number of devoted followers, has also developed a negative stigma for others. Some associate the word “CrossFit” with “injury.”
“That’s a fear that a lot of people have because they feel that CrossFit is dangerous,” said Jeremy McCord, co-owner and head coach of CrossFit Murray. “You can get hurt doing anything. The statistics for CrossFit injuries are significantly lower than snow sports, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting as well. And no one ever talks about football, baseball or soccer. It’s not dangerous. Not if you do it with a coach who tells you, ‘You don’t need that weight; you need to use this band,’ and who is helping you push yourself, but not hurt yourself.”
At CrossFit Murray, a regular class size consists of 18 trainees and two coaches. The coaches create and implement a workout program each day, leading the group in a dynamic warm-up, technique work, strength work and cool-down stretches.
New CrossFitters are assimilated to the CrossFit workout style and movements with the CrossFit 101 course designed for beginners. The course consists of three sessions a week for one month and is limited to ten people per class to ensure undivided attention and guidance from the coaches.
“A lot of people won’t get that kind of guidance without CrossFit,” said Angie McCord. “It’s not your traditional fitness class. You can’t hide in the background and do whatever. I know if I’m not good at something, I don’t want to do it. That’s a benefit of joining a CrossFit community; you’re going to be forced to work on your weaknesses.”
Fourteen years after Glassman established CrossFit, almost everyone knows someone who participates in the sport. Whether it’s a co-worker who just joined a Box or a friend who does burpees and wallballs in his garage, this fitness phenomenon has only just begun.
Story by Kaylan Proctor, Contributing writer