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Every day, a new way to build core strength
Short, intense workouts spreading in popularity

 Brent Goodrum (left) trains under the watchful eye of RARE CrossFit trainer and owner Adam Eidson.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 9/13/2009

BY EMILY BATTLE

It's 9:30 a.m. on a recent Saturday, and in an industrial building in Spotsylvania County, fans blast, rowing machines hum and weight bars clank as they fall to the ground.

More than 20 people are moving in groups from station to station. They're lifting, jumping, squatting and rowing.

Meanwhile, out in the parking lot, two groups are working to flip a giant truck tire end over end across the lot.

Are these a bunch of meat-heads practicing for one of those television strongman competitions?

No, they're soccer moms trying to get in shape, triathletes trying to drop their times, married couples bored with other workouts and law enforcement officers looking for added strength.

This is a typical Saturday at RARE CrossFit, one of three local workout facilities that have opened as part of a back-to-basics fitness trend that has spread across the nation.

A NEW ROUTINE

CrossFit was created by Greg Glassman, a former gymnast. The workout regime is different from almost anything you'll find in a typical commercial gym.

It's a constantly varying combination of basic movements that focus on functional fitness--skills that will help you lift heavy things, for example--and that don't usually take longer than 20 minutes.

These moves are performed in different combinations as a "workout of the day" in facilities that are usually no fancier than an industrial building equipped with weights, pull-up bars and padded floors.

All the information you need to participate is online.

People all over the country have created CrossFit gyms in their garages, but others pay to work out at CrossFit affiliate gyms, where they get access to equipment and advice from a trainer.

Three such affiliates have opened in the Fredericksburg area.

A NEW CHALLENGE

Adam Eidson opened RARE CrossFit in the same facility where he and his business partner, Tony Rogers, were running soccer training.

Eidson runs ultramarathons and stumbled upon CrossFit one day while reading another runner's training blog.

Lisa Quinn, another affiliate owner, has been in the fitness industry for 20 years.

The first time she tried a CrossFit workout, "I was smoked," she said. "I was so humbled, and angered that I was not in the shape I thought I was."


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WHAT TO EXPECT:

If you're just starting the program, you'll probably be put through a "baseline workout" to determine your fitness level. From there, you'll begin learning some of the basic moves, like the air squat, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Expect to do lots of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups (modified if you can't do them), some rowing and running. Do not go without water and good running shoes.

HOW IT'S DIFFERENT:

If you're used to workout plans that follow the same routine each week, this will be a big change. One day you may be trying to lift as much weight as you can, and the next day you may do something more aerobic, like several rounds of running, pull-ups, squats or other moves.

In place of the Nautilus machines you see in a lot of gyms, you'll encounter less conventional workout equipment, like truck tires. You'll learn all the various ways a pull-up bar can make you sore.

WHAT IT COSTS:

Most affiliates charge significantly more than a typical gym membership, but a lot less than a personal trainer. RARE CrossFit's monthly rate for individuals is $100, Crossfit Spotsy is $125 and CrossFit Fredericksburg, a nonprofit, is $30, though its workouts are all outside and don't have access to some equipment, like pull-up bars. Most affiliates offer drop-in rates of $10 to $20 a class. Classes are usually small, with trainers monitoring participants for correct form.

Time commitment:

The typical workout takes only 15 to 20 minutes, but adding in the warm-up and discussion of the moves that most sessions entail, you should block out an hour for each.

crossfit.com rarecrossfit.com crossfitspotsy.com crossfitfburg.com