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Brickhouse Crossfit OwnersBrickhouse CrossFit owners Jay and Amanda Forrester, in a photo that is not upside down.
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Tony PearmanWriter Tony Pearman, 46 years old: "Do I have six-pack abs? Lord no. But after 17 months of CrossFit, I can do more than 30 unbroken pull-ups."
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Crossfit WorkoutCrossfit activities (and weights) are geared to participants' own strength and fitness levels.
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Kelsey Hoffman SchmittKipping pullups, as carried out by Kelsey Hoffman Schmitt and Mark Mast. Bending over: Jason Reeves.
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Tim FalkeRoanoke Valley CrossFit co-owner Tim Falke is a former military special operator, he opened RVCF with Andy Beedle in the fall of 2011.
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Jessica HolleyRVCF athlete Jessica Holley, on what is affectionately known as "Heartbreak Hill."
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Tony PearmanFor writer Tony Pearman, "leaving it all on the floor" is both literal and figurative.
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Andy BeedleBeedle foresees the day when the valley could sustain six Crossfit "boxes."
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Andy BeedleRoanoke Valley Crossfit co-owner Andy Beedle also has a doctorate in philosophy.
Brickhouse Crossfit Owners
Kelsey Hoffman Schmitt
Things seem to be in slow motion. Sounds of deep breathing and soft muttered curses can be heard. As I pick my head up off the floor, beads of sweat drip, drip, drip, drip from my forehead like rain. I rise to my knees as the sounds of the very, very loud, booming music – which has been playing the entire time – suddenly become apparent to me again, as if I had hit some mute button in my own head during the workout. Then I jump to my feet and start cheering those of my teammates still finishing the workout of the day (or WOD, as we like to say when we’re short of breath).
It’s about 6:30 a.m. and I have just finished a CrossFit WOD called “Angie,” having done 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 air squats in less than 24 minutes. If this sounds crazy, you may be right. But the right kind of crazy, I have learned, can feel pretty good.
3, 2, 1, go: the CrossFit explosion
While it is not uncommon in the United States for fitness fads to generate interest and experimentation among athletes, fitness nuts and frequent viewers of late-night infomercials, the fairly recent explosion of CrossFit seems unprecedented.
While many confuse CrossFit with P90X®, Insanity® or some of the so-called “boot camps,” it is none of those things. While they may share similar philosophies of intensity and borrowed movements, none of them incorporate the technical expertise of Olympic weightlifting and the gymnastics skills that CrossFit embraces and demands.
Where did it all start?
Despite what may appear to be overnight success, CrossFit actually began in the ’70s in the Santa Cruz, Cal. garage of a former gymnast named Greg Glassman. However, it was just 12 years ago that CrossFit, Inc. was founded. Now there are approximately 3,400 CrossFit-affiliated gyms worldwide – most of them in the United States – and that number seems set to explode with the recent announcement that Reebok plans to franchise Reebok-branded CrossFit facilities or “boxes” around the world. Reebok will also fold in the alliance with its bread and butter – making specific shoes and apparel. Reebok also invested heavily in a 10-year sponsorship deal with CrossFit’s international competition, which is something like an Olympics of fitness. Last year more than 26,000 athletes competed all over the world to earn a spot in the games, making it one of the largest sporting events in history. This is especially amazing considering that the first CrossFit games happened just five years ago on the grass and dirt of a private home in California and featured just 70 athletes.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement,” with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness), which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.”
Workouts are typically short – 20 minutes or less – and intense, combining movements such as running, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope and weightlifting. Barbells, box jumps, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, medicine balls, and kettle bells are all part of the weekly programming.
The lingo, the culture, the clothing?
If you have no idea what it means to “RX a 20-minute AMRAP at the box in your OLYs,” don’t worry. CrossFit has a language all its own, filled with acronyms like AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) and RFT (rounds for time). The gyms or facilities are called “boxes,” the workouts are called WODs (we covered that), and every WOD has prescribed weights and movements. So if you’re able to perform the specified movements and weights for a workout, it is said that you RX’d it. Finally, many WODs have people’s names, with the most famous being predominantly women’s names like Helen, Angie, Cindy, Fran and Grace.