The popularity of CrossFit gyms are on the rise and catching up with the growing waistlines in the United States.
CrossFit is an old school type of gym. Using free weights in place of machines, CrossFit forces the body to compensate, resulting in a total body workout by using functional movements instead of isolating muscle groups.
“I CrossFit because it is the single best exercise format I have ever found,” said Shauna Palmer, a CrossFitter since 2009. “It never gets boring, there are no plateaus, and it’s always a challenge. There is always something you can do to become stronger, faster, or have better form. The improvements are incremental. The more you do it, the more you can do.”
CrossFit workouts begin with a warm up and then add a high intensity routine that includes strength, endurance and core training with weightlifting, kettlebells, running and body weight exercises. Each workout can last from as little as 5 minutes to as much as 30 minutes, depending on level and skill. There is also a cool down period afterward that can include stretching or skill development training.
In Utah alone there are 39 affiliate gyms. The majority of CrossFit’s recent fame comes from the members seeing results and bringing others into the fold. It has been a big draw for busy moms looking to get in and out of the gym quickly, college students and professors.
“It combined a lot of the things I was interested in like weightlifting and cardiovascular plus body weight workouts, all combined with a personal trainer, someone who is pushing you to do what you wouldn’t otherwise do,” said SLCC professor and CrossFit Trainer Lynn Kilpatrick, who recently took first place in the CrossFit’s Fitness Elevated Master Competition in the Women’s 40-49 age division.
Kilpatrick also participated in Barbells for Boobs, a fundraiser held for the non-profit organization Mammograms In Action to help fund cancer screenings for those who can’t afford them. Barbells for Boobs is a CrossFit workout designed to promote awareness through participation.
“What draws people to CrossFit is the community, so having a women’s community is important,” said Kilpatrick. She also runs Women CrossFitters, a community of women on Facebook that promotes the idea that CrossFit is for everyone from soccer moms to professionals and teachers. She tries to hold one workout a month with clinics to work on certain areas of strength.
“People get results, and they see that it’s working,” Kilpatrick said. “It’s not multi-level marketing, but it sort of works the same way where you see your friend and ask ‘what have you been doing?’—’Oh I have been doing CrossFit.’ Then it grows that way. I do think you get results by how you look. It changes you.”
Salt Lake Community College offers a CrossFit class through its HLAC program that fulfills a general education requirement. Currently the class is taught at CrossFit NRG in Salt Lake. CrossFit NRG recently expanded its space from 2800 to 6500 square feet in three years’ time. Greg Schell, who took the SLCC class, now trains for NRG. Schell said that one reason he trains for CrossFit is for the community of CrossFitters, a community where each participant cries, sweats and cheers with you over every accomplishment.
“We offer no gimmicks. We offer a community that supports healthy nutrition and exercise. If you want a gimmick, watch late night TV,” said James Sjostrom, co-owner of NRG.
Discounted rates are available for students. See http://www.crossfitnrg.com/ for details. Mention this article for a free week trial. Also see HLAC 1014 in the SLCC General Catalog.