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The CrossFit craze

He’s in ok shape, I guess./Suzanne Barber
He’s in ok shape, I guess./Suzanne Barber

A newbie’s take on the hype, workouts and athletes of CrossFit Regina

What makes CrossFit so appealing and how does this California-based company have locations all over the world with growing demand? I have long been curious about the hype surrounding CrossFit and have always wondered what differentiates it from other personal trainer sessions. Well, this weekend I finally decided to answer of few of my questions and took in my very first “WOD” or Workout of the Day. Here’s how my experience went.

I made my way to an area of Regina I have seldom been, pulled up in front of an unassuming building and knew I was in the right place only after noticing the “CrossFit Regina” sign in the window. Walking in, I was not greeted by a broad desk, a receptionist or an elaborate changing room. Instead, I was greeted by the hum of sweaty bodies pulling, jumping and even somersaulting. I soon discovered that one of these sweaty bodies was not only an owner of the gym, but also the instructor for that day. Already, I was starting to see what makes a CrossFit gym different from others.

As the workout went on, a few other notable differences followed. First off, the feel of the gym is different from others. There are no cardio machines other than a few rowers and spin bikes and there are tonnes of boxes, bars and even sledgehammers. The gym feels rugged and competitive and I quickly got the sense that anyone walking in the door was ready to grind.

After a tough seven-circuit session involving box jumps, wall walks, and hanging leg raises, I sat down with one of the owners of CrossFit Regina, Kim Fleischhaker (Kim Fly) to get additional insight on the CrossFit craze.

“It’s personal training in a group setting… it’s never boring and you are always doing something different and you are doing stuff you would never think you would do…but it’s always functionally fit, you are never sitting their doing bicep curls or anything like that… it’s always full-body function.” she said.

For CrossFit Regina members, this style of workout keeps them coming back. Currently, CrossFit Regina is working at over 100% capacity and is expanding to a new facility twice the size to accommodate the growing demand. What’s more, the growing demand isn’t coming from a narrow market of young, fit people, but a variety of people. As Kim Fly suggests, “we have kids that do it and we have people in their 60s that do it… there’s all different levels… when you first start, you are in your basics and you just learn the functional movements and stuff like that and then you graduate to harder things that are more intense.”

In addition, things definitely do seem to get more intense. The gym not only houses Olympic weightlifting equipment, but also works with members who consider themselves elite athletes. These athletes have the option of participating in many CrossFit competitions across North America.

With my CrossFit virginity officially gone, I can confidently say I am starting to understand what makes it so popular all over the world. For me, it seemed like a no frills, no gimmicks approach to fitness that caters to anyone looking for fast, tough, full-body workout. The value is not in swanky facilities or top-of-the-line equipment, but in the common desire to reach new goals, push yourself, and get stronger. I must admit, a bite from the CrossFit bug is swift and painless, but leaves you wanting more.

About Suzanne Barber