A place for personal progress, not preening 

click to enlarge CrossFit-Margaret-Ankele-4041mh.jpg

Kevin Schuetz sits, knees bent, back against the wall. He’s talking with his hands, explaining how, in just four years, his attitude about CrossFit changed.

There’s a class going on to the left of him. Athletes in gym clothes are taking instruction from coach Brice Collier. That’s what Koda CrossFit calls its clients — athletes.

There are no mirrors in the gym. It’s no place for preening.

But it is by no means what most people think of as a traditional gym. It’s a place built for finding joy in progression.

“I’m not so worried about trying to beat the person next to me,” Schuetz said. “I’m trying to beat the person I was a month ago or a year ago or three years ago.”
It wasn’t until he ran across the CrossFit Games on TV that he started to think that perhaps training the CrossFit way would be fun, even healthy. So he tried a class.

“I loved it right away,” he said. Confidence Schuetz is one of the owners of Koda CrossFit Norman, 1337 N. Lindsey St., one of more than 10,000 CrossFit affiliates around the world. (There’s also an Oklahoma City location at 228 NW Broadway Ave.)

If traditional gyms are classic rock, CrossFit is Seattle grunge, and it’s popular. According to Google, “CrossFit” is searched more than “Gold’s Gym,” “Life Time Fitness,” “24 Hour Fitness” and “Planet Fitness.”

The interest U.S. servicemen and women showed in CrossFit prompted a special report by the U.S. Army to find out if it was worthwhile for soldiers.

“In this study, after only six weeks of training using the CrossFit program, on average, the athletes increased their level of physical fitness by 20 percent,” the study concluded. “Moreover, the athletes in this study experienced relatively equal increases across all of the four assessments, each of which required a different type of conditioning and skill set.”
The Army found that CrossFit is good training for the kind of soldier it wants. The training techniques and concepts best prepared soldiers for a wide array of challenges.

CrossFit workouts leave athletes taxed, sweating and constantly catching their breath. Certified coaches lead Koda CrossFit Norman classes so they can keep an eye on participants and prevent injury.

This attention to health and progress also is why Schuetz owns a gym and coaches. “We try to instill confidence, and I think that’s a good thing,” he said. Obstacles Many folks just want to challenge themselves like Schuetz. Others want to lose weight. Still others want to gain weight. CrossFit training allows for individual scaling and periodization, which are not new concepts.

But there are no treadmills at CrossFit gyms. There’s lots of grunting.

There’s no air conditioning in many CrossFit gyms, and there aren’t any of the latest exercise machines, which can put some people off. So can the rates.

“Our, rates, yeah they’re not $10 a month, but they’re not $100 an hour either,” said CrossFit 405 owner Aaron O’Neil, referencing what some personal trainers are paid. “Having expertise in your training staff not only to teach you what you’re doing but make sure you’re doing it right, giving you motivation, answering your questions — all those things are built into that monthly price.”

It doesn’t take much to open a CrossFit gym, though. You don’t necessarily need a fitness background or degree in exercise science or physical education.

If you’ve got the money, the space and a CrossFit Level 1 certified trainer, you’re in business. The course takes two days to complete and costs $1,000. Each gym is an entity unto itself, and each has its own philosophy within in the overall concept of CrossFit.

click to enlarge Patrons get into lifting barbells at all different weight levels at 405 CrossFit recently.  mh
  • Patrons get into lifting barbells at all different weight levels at 405 CrossFit recently. mh

Certified trainers It’s one thing for the owner of a company to believe the rates are fair in relation to the product, but it’s quite another for client to think that. Zack Hedrick is a multimedia journalist for KTEN News in Ardmore and an avid CrossFit athlete.

Hedrick, 24, had done some of the nontraditional strength and conditioning movements CrossFit has become famous for in high school while working out with his baseball team.

He saw the benefits of performing exercises like burpees, kettlebell swings and all-out sprints.

He still trains at a local CrossFit-style gym today because he likes being able to compete with himself. Not knowing what the day’s workout is until he steps in the gym excites him. In that way, it’s a lot like life; you never know what’s coming your way.

“You go at it full bore with all you can,” Hedrick said, “and you kind of figure out what you’re made of.”

Print headline: Fit to bear, Maybe its the on-site trainers and coaches or the results the patrons see; either way, CrossFit’s popularity continues to increase.

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RJ Young

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