CrossFit sets the bar high

The CrossFit Seven Mile team that won the America Regionals in Colombia in May are ready for their biggest test yet.

They are fine tuning themselves for the CrossFit Games in Carson, California from 13-15 July which will find the “fittest man, woman and team on earth”. The competition is being shown live on ESPN3 all weekend.

The CrossFit Seven Mile team is Wanda Brenton, Jennifer Chailler, Schmarrah McCarthy, Chris Spigner – the gym’s head coach at the CrossFit gym and Zak Kepner and Trevor Amodeo. They are going into the Games ranked 37th out of 43 teams in the world.

CrossFit training has mushroomed in recent years because although it is tough cardio-vascular workouts, sessions are relatively short and intense and results tend to be faster than in conventional gyms.

This gym was started only a year and half ago by husband and wife Carl and Wanda Brenton who are best known in sport for their volleyball involvement. They certainly set the bar high, intending to compete in CrossFit Games at the highest level as winners. That has certainly been achieved.

Wanda said: “I am very excited, for sure. Especially coming from seeing the gym come from an old facility and turning it around in one year and sending a team to the CrossFit Games is amazing.

“There are some extremely strong teams for so for a nice goal for is to come in the middle of the pack, that is realistic. But coming in the top 10, that might not come for a few years.

“This was the ultimate goal, to get some team members and to go to the CrossFit Games. Once we put the team together and saw the original workouts, we knew that we could do well.”

Spigner held a trial last year with a series of workouts and ended up picking the team in January. “We knew that we needed a good balance of strength, cardio, co-ordination, agility… all those things,” Wanda added. “We can’t just have someone who is really, really strong but then can’t run. Or you can’t have a great endurance athlete but then can’t lift any weights.

“You have to have a balance of everything, that’s what CrossFit is all about. We’re very fortunate to find three guys and three girls that have that right balance.”

Brenton is pleased with how well the gym has flourished. “To us it’s more about the community aspect as well, not just about the CrossFit Games. To us, that is like the icing on the cake.

“We want people to come in and see that you can start but not be able to run a 400 metre but give it some time, work out your weaknesses, come in every day and who knows, maybe next year you can be part of the team that goes to the CrossFit Games Regionals.”

The gym attracts athletes from many sports. Users have included Andreas ‘Zulu’ Kettner, Jeremy Superfine, Bob Daigle and Pam Abbott.

Brenton can quote many of the gym’s success stories. One in particular is when Kristin Kipp joined she could not do a 400m run. She stuck with it, improved her diet through advice from the trainers and in the year since she has lost 40lbs.

“Now she can run 400m, 800m, miles even. It really is amazing. In the beginning when you see people really struggle, you wonder whether they are going to stick with it, because it is mentally deflating as well if you feel you cannot do everything. That’s why we scale everything.

“In the beginning she definitely found it tough mentally and we were able to scale some of the workouts for her and the others, now she is fine.

“For sure, it is one of those things that when people come in they think they cannot do a push-up or pull-up and that’s absolutely fine, because there’s ways to get around it, but if you stay with it, be persistent, it will come if you give your body a little adjustment phase.”