CrossFit goes outside the box

For many who have not been for a while, going to the gym is synonymous with torturous workouts, pumping iron to exhausting levels, rowing forever and sweating buckets leaving you aching all over, thoroughly miserable and dreading the next session.

That’s why a high percentage stop altogether despite good intentions initially and don’t even mind that the majority of a one year’s membership payment is wasted.

Enter CrossFit, the strength and conditioning programme that in its six-year existence has flourished from a few outlets in the United States to thousands worldwide.

A CrossFit gym, aka ‘box’, officially opened on West Bay Road on Saturday – just behind where the Mezza Restaurant used to be and besides Treasure Island – and by the look of it, there are going to be plenty of converts in the Cayman Islands soon.

Apart from the conventional rowing machines and weights, there are climbing ropes too in the converted shed that is compact but fully equipped.

It’s not the first CrossFit box, there was already one in Sparky Drive, but this one is better located. Although CrossFit follows the norms of intense workouts, there is a fun and cerebral aspect to their team sessions which negates the monotony of conventional gyms.

Carl Brenton and his wife Wanda are behind the latest box. They saw 30-odd CrossFitters at the opening. Top local triathletes Caroline Cahill and Pam Travers were involved. CrossFit instructor Chris Spigner was there to press flesh and help recruit to the box, known as CF7M.

“Saturday went really well,” says Carl. “It was a great chance for people to come and see the box and for our evening people to mingle with our morning people and so on. It was also a unique opportunity for our athletes to get to work together as a team as opposed to working out as individuals.

“We had our regular Saturday classes at 8am and 9am and then opened the gym from 10-12. Our grand opening started at noon. We randomly put our athletes into teams of four and then announced the workout.

“They had five minutes to work out their strategy before we sent them off. The workout involved launching two members into a kayak and then the other two running about one kilometre with a medicine ball up West Bay Road.

“They met up with their kayaks just north of Regal Beach where the two kayakers switched with the runners and then met up back at the launch spot. Then they returned to the box where they drank a beverage for completion.”

The opening went well. “We have had a lot of intros set up for this week – about 14 so far. We make all prospective athletes do a complimentary introduction session before signing them up as members.”

It’s not cheap, membership packages range from $80-$200 per month, but the results are totally worth it. Many in attendance have only been CrossFitters a couple of months but seen dramatic results in weight loss and fitness gain. One of them is flag footballer Jeff Alban of the Dog House Bulldogs who has lost 34lbs since November. Considering he had all the temptations of Christmas to contend with during that period, that’s quite an achievement. Carl Brenton is a Dog House player too and the hope is that they’ll get all the Bulldogs on the CrossFit programme eventually.

“CrossFit is so popular because it is so effective and can be done by people of all fitness levels,” says Carl. “It is not boring or intimidating like a regular gym can be and people become a very tight knit community within the box.

“People really enjoyed the team aspect and outside the box type of workout we picked for them. They are really looking forward to the next team Workout of the Day.”

The Brentons have high hopes for CF7M disciples. “We will be doing monthly team Workout of the Day and some of our members will be training to compete in the CrossFit games which will be in July in Los Angeles,” says Carl.

For more information on CF7M go to www.crossfit7mile.com

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Kayaking was part of the team challenge.
PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD

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