CrossFit not a quiet workout

  • Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:55 a.m.
    UPDATED: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 1:16 a.m.
Rick Johnson goes hard during his workout at Crossfit Rowan on Tuesday.  An intense workout routine using kettlebells, running and a variety of other exercises, CrossFit is gaining followers.
Rick Johnson goes hard during his workout at Crossfit Rowan on Tuesday. An intense workout routine using kettlebells, running and a variety of other exercises, CrossFit is gaining followers.

There's groaning, screaming and heavy breathing. At the end of the hour-long session comes a sigh of relief.

“It's really hard, but you get addicted to it,” said Aimee Rabon.

Rabon said during her first class ,she barely made it through the warmup.

“I was like, 'Oh my god, there's more,' ” she said.

Almost a year later, Rabon attends class at CrossFit Rowan at least three times a week.

“It doesn't ever get easier,” she said. “You continue to challenge yourself, and if you challenge yourself it doesn't get easier.”

Rabon said she likes the fact that each CrossFit constantly changes.

“Your body kind of gets used to other exercises if you do them all the time. It's easy and boring,” she said. “But CrossFit is never the same, it's always different, and you're always surprised.”

Each CrossFit class begins with a short warmup before moving into what members call the WOD — workout of the day.

Tuesday's WOD at CrossFit Rowan started with an 800-meter run before participants did 50 burpees, 40 pull-ups, 30 pistols, 20 kettlebell swings and 10 headstand push-ups. After they were done, the group repeated the entire sequence.

“Today's workout is one of the hardest I've ever done,” Rabon said after finishing in less than 50 minutes.

Rabon said she typically sets a goal each class and tries to do better than the time before.

“I like to beat myself,” she said.

And her dedication is paying off.

“The improvements that I've made in the little time that I've been here have been amazing to me,” Rabon said. “I've never been able to do a pull-up, and now I can.

“There are so many things that I couldn't do before I started doing CrossFit.”

Jimmy Barnett, the owner and coach at CrossFit Rowan, said it's the results and the variety that keep bringing people back.

“It's definitely constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements,” he said.

Barnett said unlike some exercise classes where the instructor isolates movements to benefit specific body parts, CrossFit works several muscles at once.

“They are trying to do the workout as quickly as possible, so they don't have any designated rest periods,” he said.

Getting started

For the most part CrossFit is done as a solitary exercise. Although the class starts together, the members work at their own pace going through the designated sequence while a coach roots them on.

“It helps to have someone encourage them and distract them from what they're doing,” Barnett said.

Barnett said he typically spends about two weeks working with new members before they get the hang of it.

“There is a lot of handholding and personal attention at first,” he said.

Rabon said Barnett and his team does a good job of modifying workouts for beginners.

“There's something everybody can do,” she said. “Some people might get a little intimidated by it. I know I was when I first came, but they should try it and don't give up.”

Rick Johnson, who has been doing the workout five days a week since November, said CrossFit is intense, but not impossible.

“I think the good thing is that it's scaled for the very beginner, so if you're not a muscle-bound freak, you can still do this and feel comfortable,” he said. “We track our progress, so you can really see the progression.

“Plus, everybody encourages everybody.”

CrossFit benefits

Barnett said those who participate in CrossFit will obviously see a change in their bodies, but it's also good for the mind.

“It can really boost your self confidence,” he said.

The workout helps build endurance and strength.

“You'll find your work capacity is higher because of the type of functional movement we do here,” he said. “If you do something long and drawn out like moving, you'll notice other people will be about to die and you can outwork them.”

The popular mud runs are another example of how the exercise can improve endurance.

“Crossfitters love the mud runs because they can power through them and feel great afterward,” Barnett said.

CrossFit can also improve agility, coordination, balance and flexibility.

“Everything you get from exercise in general, you'll find in CrossFit,” Barnett said.

Barnett said the exercise isn't for everyone.

“Everybody's not looking for that extreme,” he said. “The people who like pushing themselves to the limit to see what they are capable of, those are the people who are drawn to CrossFit.”

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