It’s a cool evening in October — you know the kind — black skies at six o’clock and a chill that shakes you to the bone. It’s a night that makes you want to curl up under a blanket and hide out until morning. Instead, I’m dashing across the parking lot and through the front door of Keating CrossFit for the first time.
The fully loaded gym is clean and rustic, with visible signs of hard work and determination suggested through conspicuous scratches here and there.
Brent Owen, owner and head coach, welcomes me and 10 others to our inaugural session of the Keating CrossFit beginner series. The series is one month long, consists of two lessons a week, and Brent, with an assistant coach, teaches the fundamentals of the sport. Beginner series are common at all CrossFit gyms but the extent and delivery vary.
As I stand in line with my beginner comrades, I’m afraid. Brent stands before us with a cool reserve and confidence. He’s incredibly fit and speaks fluently about CrossFit, demonstrating his intimate knowledge of the sport.
Brent takes us through a typical CrossFit workout, which includes a warm-up, strength training and a “workout of the day,” better known as WoD. He is meticulous in his training. He has the eye of a hawk and, with the help of his assistant coach, manages to pay individual attention to everyone, ensuring we are doing the movements correctly.
“People come in here and think CrossFit is going to be hard. But all exercise is hard; it’s more about the effort you’re willing to put in. The difference when you come into a class like CrossFit is that you have a coach, someone like me watching you, encouraging you and expecting you to work hard,” says Brent.
Brent opened Keating CrossFit in 2014. The father of three young children describes CrossFit as a vessel for propelling change in people’s lives.
“You want to change your life when you come in here. I fell in love with being fit, feeling good and being in a good mood all the time,” Brent explains. “Once you start getting a little bit better and you see that you can do things you never thought you could do, you build a whole new confidence, which carries through to every part of your life.
It’s been about five months since that first cool night and I have succumbed to the addictive nature of CrossFit. The sport is commonly referred to as the “CrossFit Community.” There is an undercurrent of acceptance and support for everyone’s personal circumstances and fitness level.
“CrossFit is for absolutely everyone. The movements are all scalable and practical. The hardest part for anyone is walking through the front door,” notes Brent.
CrossFit is a place where people of all ages (from teens right up to seniors), fitness levels and personal conditions — from injuries to pregnancies — come together to support one another in sport and in life.
I owe credit to Brent for a few important things: first, he has effectively debunked any negative connotations I previously had about the sport; second, he is beyond tolerant of my endless string of questions, even when I am repeating myself; third, the man has whipped me into better shape than I could have ever anticipated being in my life.
CrossFit workouts are designed to be comprehensive and include high intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and strongman components.
The ten key physical qualities CrossFit contributes to are: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, power, speed, coordination, stamina, strength, flexibility, agility, balance and accuracy.
1) Find a good coach. I could never have started on this journey without the proficient instruction of Brent and the other coaches at Keating CrossFit.
2) Start slowly and respect the limits of your body. I am still the slowest and lightest lifter in every class I go to, but I know I’m working my hardest, and listening to my body (in and out of class).
3) Don’t be afraid to speak up. If something doesn’t feel right, or a movement is hurting you in any way, tell your coach; he or she can easily offer you tips or an alternative exercise.
– Story by Chelsea Forman