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To the Limit

CrossFit training pushes the parameters of conditioning for the results you want.

by James Rada Jr.

About now is when the New Year’s resolution starts taking a back seat and people start falling back into old habits. Sure, some stick it out, but more often than not, gym goers get bored with doing the same exercise routine over and over again. Or maybe they lost that first inch, and then the results slowed down.

If either of those happened to you or you just want to make faster progress toward your beach body this year, CrossFit may be right up your alley. Unlike a lot of workouts that promise you that it will be easy and simple, CrossFit promises you that it will be quick, but challenging — and you will see results.

“We’ve been open six months and we haven’t done the same workout twice,” says Tim Kellinger, one of the owners of CrossFit 301 Elite in Hagerstown. “The body can’t adapt.” When the body can’t adapt, it’s always growing and strengthening in order to try and meet the demands of the workouts.

And CrossFit workouts are demanding — perhaps brutal to some — even if they are short. That’s because they’re designed to be. Your muscles will burn and ache not just for your first few workouts, but for all of them. Enduring that kind of workout for an hour at a time, six days a week just isn’t for most people. With this regimen though, even the most committed don’t need to dedicate that kind of time and effort. The workouts might last anywhere from 7 to 23 minutes, according to DaKari Williams, one of the owners of Hagerstown CrossFit, and she adds that not many will do more than three a week.

“I only know a few people who can handle five times a weeks and they are people who are very fit and very dedicated to this,” DaKari says.

One of the reasons CrossFit workouts can accomplish so much in such a short time is because the exercises aren’t necessarily the same ones that you’ll do in a typical workout or aerobics class. Though you’ll find weights and barbells at a CrossFit gym, you won’t see machines. Instead you’ll see ropes, rings, medicines balls and other tools that don’t get much love at a typical gym.

“The best thing about CrossFit is that it’s all about functional movement patterns,” says Dakari. Her clientele ranges from housewives to enlisted military and they all do the same mobility and strength exercises. The only things that change is the weight they use.

While many people use a workout program to train for a particular activity or sport, CrossFit uses exercises that target the same movements used in real life that require a little muscle — like moving furniture.

“We are teaching you how to move more efficiently, but to also train safely,” DaKari says. Anyone can do CrossFit training because the programs are adjustable to a person’s fitness level. New participants aren’t simply thrown into a class of veteran trainers and expected to perform at the same level. The rookies are tested to find out where their current fitness levels are, and then expected to train at an introductory level to get the feel for how CrossFit training is done. Once the foundation is laid, then they move into regular classes. “If you put in the work and try to get stronger and more fit, the weight will fall off.” DaKari also noted that strength and endurance naturally increase with time and effort.

Tim of CrossFit 301 Elite explains that one of the reasons people succeed at is because of the community support. “We are family-oriented because we work out together,” he says. “We are a community and we want each other to succeed.” This doesn’t mean that there isn’t some level of sibling rivalry in the family. CrossFit gyms use whiteboards to keep score and records. While the members encourage each other to new successes, they are also competing.

You will feel the difference with CrossFit training after the first workout and you will probably start seeing results after a just a dozen sessions. “We’ve had people lose dramatically within a month,” Tim says.

A final note about CrossFit training: don’t expect a lot of window dressing. CrossFit gyms are sparse in appearance. People come to train hard, not to be comfortable at a juice bar or sauna. This is a results-driven workout.

Hagerstown has two CrossFit gyms that offer free intro workouts to introduce people to the new way to train. It is the best way to find out just how serious you are about getting fit.

CrossFit Hagerstown
520 North Cannon Avenue

CrossFit 301 Elite
583 Northern Avenue