POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 5, 2012:
The New Fit
Sport brings an alternative to fitness training
The fitness scene is constantly changing. Cardio fads, spinning classes, twenty-minute gimmicks -- it can almost drive a person insane wondering where to start. And our time is stretched too. Often, personal health can be low on the list of daily concerns. So what is there to do when time is of the essence?
Some fitness trainers might put it this way: Maximize your workout. Get the most out of every muscle contraction and bead of sweat. Pack the most punch into every thing you do. Power up your muscle-building potential. Push it to the limit and then some.
One program that puts all this into action and then some is CrossFit.
Let's be honest. The very word is terrifying. But CrossFit is a program that is both successful and accessible. Emily Smith, co-owner of 918 CrossFit, sums it up: "Our gym works so well because of the way people feel when they are in here."
Part of what makes people feel so good is CrossFit's insistence that it is a sport, and that those who practice it are athletes. Its workout prescription is incredibly diverse in the methods employed to whip participants into shape in a hurry.
Every single CrossFit workout routine is composed of three core practices: biometrics, Olympic weight training, and gymnastics. Gymnastic portions are usually composed of exercises that use one's own body weight as resistance such as squats and push-ups. The biometric portion of the discipline includes cardio runs ranging in length from 100 meters to a mile, while weight training portions can encompass anything from kettle bell swings to tire flips.
The brains behind the brawn at 918 CrossFit, Emily Smith and her husband Harley, are insistent about their clients status as athletes. Emily Smith explains the psychology behind it saying "They take it more seriously. ... This is their sport." The idea seems to be yet another characteristic which distinguishes CrossFit: group involvement and personal competition. Even while sweating with 20 or so other people, your most fierce competition remains yourself, with the goal of every new workout being to set the bar a little bit higher.
Although there are only five CrossFit affiliated gyms in the metro, there are approximately 4,400 throughout the nation.
Originating in the mind of gymnast Greg Glassman, the sport has spread from the far-flung reaches of coastal Seattle to virtually right next-door. Emily and Harley's 918 CrossFit, 1314 S. Peoria Ave., is the city's most recent addition, first opening its doors in April 2011.
"About 150-160 people walk through my door every day," Smith said. Especially considering that the gym is still in its infancy, it is striking to consider how quickly the location has become popular.
Despite being one of several institutions in Tulsa offering similar opportunities, the Smiths strive to make their CrossFit experience a unique one. Willing to do what it takes to motivate their athletes, 918 CrossFit even incorporates the metro trails into it regimen.
The Smiths began their CrossFit journey in 2009, and they haven't looked back since. Becoming certified in multiple areas of the discipline, both hold a Level 1 CrossFit Certification in addition to Harley Smith retaining an Olympic Lifting Certification and Emily Smith holding additional certifications in CrossFit Mobility, and CrossFit Kids.
Family health as a fitness goal has become yet another way in which 918 CrossFit has begun to reach the community. Commenting on the CrossFit activities geared towards children, Emily Smith emphasized the importance of jumping as an exercise to strengthen both children's bones and create coordination as well fine-tuning their vestibular system, which controls balance.
While conducting a business built on perfecting the fitness of the human body, knowledge of its workings both inside and out has become key to the Smiths' plan. 918 CrossFit not only concerns itself with strength through exercise, but supporting strength through diet as well.
Only asking for a month of the participant's time, athletes commit to eat only what the Smiths refer to as "real food." They caution against processed foods and promote the principle that fresher and simpler are always better.
Participants adhere either to the Paleo Diet or the Zone Diet. Not asking for a vigorous commitment, according to the Smiths, these programs simply implore a new lifestyle gradually and naturally. After that, what you have on your plate is up to you.
The atmosphere of CrossFit culture is a fast paced one, but its massive success continues despite its intensity. Emily Smith summed up the CrossFit experience: "What we are trying to do here is make more confident, healthy individuals."
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