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Do you CrossFit?

New high-intensity exercise program explodes in the Syracuse market

Steve Singer, of Syracuse, lifts 95 pounds while doing  bar facing burpees during a workout at CrossFit DeWitt on March 28.

Steve Singer, of Syracuse, lifts 95 pounds while doing bar facing burpees during a workout at CrossFit DeWitt on March 28. Allie Wenner

— Cathy Lord, of North Syracuse, joined CrossFit DeWitt in 2011 as a way to train for Tough Mudder, a 12-mile obstacle race. She said she became hooked after her first class.

“I’ve always been a runner and have always been into working out,” Lord said. “I was doing triathlons and half marathons, but after that first class, I realized that my fitness was not where I thought it was – and I really had a lot to work on. So of course, that made me more determined to work on those things and I kept coming back.”

But not everyone who does CrossFit is a former athlete and not everyone who joins the gyms is in top physical shape. Lord said one of the best things about CrossFit is that everyone does the same workout everyday whether they’re 20 years old or 50 years old.

“You can scale up or down depending on experience, ability, whether they have an injury or have been sick,” she said. “On my first day, we did a push press with the barbell, and I think the weight was like 65 pounds, but he had me doing 35 pounds.”

At CrossFit DeWitt, newcomers are welcome. Jones has a rule that if a new person comes in, everyone must introduce themselves or they have to do an extra workout. In many “typical” gyms, everyone does their own workout, usually on their own. But Lord describes CrossFit as “a mix between a group fitness class and personal training.” Everyone works out together and cheers each other on.

“In the competitions I’ve done and some of the class settings, when there’s someone struggling and they’re behind everyone, people will gather around that person and start cheering them on. The person who’s finishing last gets more cheers than the person who’s always done first. It’s like, ‘Look at this guy – he’s dying, but he’s not giving up, and we want to support him.’”

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