By Kate Scriven
CrossFit. It’s everywhere. CrossFit gyms are opening throughout the area. CrossFit workouts (and motivational pictures) abound on Pinterest. The contestants on NBC’s The Biggest Loser are using Cross Fit workouts with trainer Bob Harper who says, “When it comes to building strength and burning fat, that is the foundation of CrossFit. You have got to find time for strength training and get your cardio in to get the fat off and CrossFit really does combine those two things.” Given the buzz, it seemed that I needed to get off the elliptical machine and find out what this CrossFit stuff was all about.
To find out more, I headed to one of the most reputable CrossFit gyms in Thurston County: CrossFit Luminis. Located off Mottman Road between Olympia’s Westside and Tumwater, CrossFit Luminis is the brainchild of James Byerly who stumbled across the program four years ago and it changed his life. Not only did he transform his body, but a year ago he opened a business he is passionate about, transforming his life. You can read more of James’ story here.
First impressions? This is not your typical gym. Not an elliptical machine in sight, no TVs for watching the Food Network and not a mirror to be found. Luckily, I was wearing heels and wielding my trusty writer’s notebook, so I wouldn’t have to actually work out this time. What I did see was a community of people incredibly engaged both in their workouts and with each other. A supportive atmosphere was evident and while each participant was working out at their own pace and at their own level of fitness, there was a group mentality that was clearly intentional and valuable.
Julia Ward has been participating in CrossFit for 3 years. “CrossFit is simple, time efficient and shows super results,” shares Ward, “and that is why I stick with it.” She has a 2-month-old baby and worked out at CrossFit Luminis throughout her pregnancy. The trainers at the gym created workouts to accommodate her pregnancy and she is now back with the group doing the WOD (pronounced “wad” and standing for Workout Of the Day). The best part? Julia’s baby girl is happily watching from her infant car seat and when she got a little fussy, Byerly scooped her up and held her while circulating through the members, encouraging and correcting form. “It’s like family here. It’s super-friendly, everyone knows your name and is really encouraging when you are working out. It keeps you going, even when you might want to quit.”
Byerly shares that many people are intimidated by CrossFit, thinking it’s just for serious athletes. However, it’s clear from observing the group the night I visited that CrossFit is for anyone who wants to achieve a higher level of fitness. The coaches are certified CrossFit Trainers. Many trainers hold certifications in CrossFit Strongman, Olympic Lifting, Kids, and Power Lifting.
While the workouts are intense, they are designed to push you to a high intensity for a shorter amount of time. You can do anything for twenty minutes if you set your mind to it. And the support and encouragement in the gym ensures you’ll succeed.
Forty-four year old Diana Hitchings loves CrossFit. She joined CrossFit Luminis through originally with a Living Social Coupon and has stuck with it. “I won’t lie,” she shares, “the first month was really hard. But, I pushed through it and was seeing results, so it was easy to keep going.“
Hitchings tells a tale that I heard repeatedly as I chatted with gym members. She was a longtime member of a traditional gym and just didn’t see results. Even with consistent workouts, she was stuck. CrossFit changed that. “It’s a quick work out – I’m in and out in less than an hour – which I could never do at my old gym. I always liked the group fitness classes for the motivation and I get that every day in every workout at CrossFit Luminis.“ Hitchings feels supported in her workouts and likes that there is always a coach with an eye on her, watching her form and correcting as needed. “There’s no hiding around here,” she laughs.
CrossFit Luminis has some competitive members as well, preparing for CrossFit competitions. However, these more elite athletes train right alongside the rest, working through the WOD at the appropriate fitness level for them. The beauty of it is, everyone feels like they’ve had the best workout of their life at the end of twenty minutes. Every time.
So, am I tempted away from my Food Network time on the elliptical? Yes. Am I terrified? A little. Is that a good thing? Definitely. But I know that when I make the leap to CrossFit, I’ll have a fitness family with me, their cheers echoing of the walls of CrossFit Luminis,
2911 Ferguson St SW, Suite B in Tumwater
Visit their website or call 360.584.8642.