CrossFit training continues to grow in Crossroads

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

April 8, 2013 at 6 p.m.
Updated April 7, 2013 at 11:08 p.m.

A girl in a sports bra and shorts places her feet shoulder-width apart, eyes a nearly three-feet tall box and then jumps on it.

Then she jumps off.

Then on.

Then off again, until her abdominal muscles are contracting so hard, it makes one wonder if she can handle anymore - until she jumps back on again.

Welcome to the world of CrossFit, a high-intensity workout where your body is the machine, and it is pushed to the limit.

While the idea of CrossFit is nothing new, the trend in participation across the U.S and in the Crossroads is new. This type of training won't be disappearing overnight, said Isaac Almeida, a certified CrossFit trainer and owner of Fit Strong United CrossFit in Victoria.

"We have all different walks of life here," Almeida, 34, said. "Students, doctors, lawyers, bankers, you name it. Everyone comes in here and is looking for something new that will keep them in shape."

Almeida's journey with CrossFit began in 2006, and the story is not one of flowers and rose petals but sheer terror.

Almeida was overweight, but it was never a thought that crossed his mind until he put the pieces of his family's health puzzle together.

His grandfather had a heart attack and was dead at 61. His father had three heart attacks before he was 40. His uncle had a triple bypass at 42.

Meanwhile, Almeida had his wife and his then-4-year-old daughter to take care of.

"I figured if I didn't change my lifestyle, my future would already be laid out before me," he said. "I had to do something to fix that."

So he did.

Almeida trained himself and then became certified to train others in CrossFit. In 2011, he left his job at Atzenhoffer Chevrolet and opened the FSU CrossFit, dedicating his life and career to better health.

The training focuses mainly on strength and conditioning. It mixes anything from sprinting, jumping rope and weightlifting to free weight usages, gymnastic rings and boxes for box jumps.

Julie Hughes, an adjunct professor of physical health at Victoria College, said CrossFit is an intense workout but definitely has its benefits.

Hughes has considered joining a gym.

Because CrossFit is more intense than jogging or swimming, the risk of injury is higher. Even then, no one is immune to injury, no matter what the exercise, Hughes said.

"I definitely think it's a good and interesting program. It's really popular," she said. "My understanding is that it's an interval-type workout."

Hughes advises people to be cautious with any new workout routine and to "know your body."

Ricky Redus, 20, said beginners start off small and are led by coaches like Almeida before taking on a much tougher exercise.

Redus, of Inez, gravitates naturally to weightlifting. Now, he's working more on the endurance workouts like running, gymnastics and burpees, a token workout in CrossFit that involves going from a squat to a jump and immediately into a pushup.

"CrossFit is for everyone, but not everyone is for CrossFit," Redus said.

Redus was so inspired by his CrossFit training, which began after high school graduation, that in 2012, he became certified through the National Federation of Personal Trainers.

So far, his personal favorite workout is the snatch, a fast deadlift. Redus' personal record is 375 pounds.

Almeida said this is why CrossFit has become so popular: the feeling of success.

Redus agreed.

"What I learned is I wanted to be fit for life," Redus said. "I believe every day you can get better and healthier. It's a lifestyle, definitely."



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