By Isabel Joyce
The lack of time in students’ increasingly busy lives causes many students to forsake exercise.
High school students in particular have trouble incorporating daily workouts into their routine, with athletics carrying late into the school day, hours of homework every night, and other extracurriculars.
CrossFit, an organization founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman, provides a solution to this time dilemma. The CrossFit trend aims to solve this problem by providing short, multi-muscle intensive workouts.
The sport has spread worldwide, with daily Workouts of the Day (WOD) posted on the website, along with inspirational pictures and posts from athletes relating to personal achievements.
The CrossFit Club, a new club founded this year at this school, allows students to get in an intense workout in a short amount of time. There are no tryouts, costs, or commitments for the club, which meets outside the fitness center during X-block on Mondays and Thursdays.
CrossFit offers a variety of athletic training compared to most sports, which typically target only a couple aspects of fitness. According to Baugher, CrossFit includes all components of health related fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.
According to junior Ming Kibel, the organizer of the WODs on the club’s Facebook page, the workouts are fast, but still effective, which is helpful in accommodating students’ time constraints. “You’re working out pretty much the same amount as someone who’s working for an hour within those 20 minutes because [the workouts] are very fast, and they use multiple muscle groups,” she said.
Club adviser and physical education healthy and wellness teacher Lauren Baugher thinks the accelerated pace of the sessions makes CrossFit an attractive option for students. “I think the biggest draw to [CrossFit] is that it’s a really short, intense workout. You can get a very good workout, and sometimes even a better workout, in a shorter amount of time by the exercises you do.”
Junior Kat Hansell, a frequent participant in the workouts, said, “It’s also a lot more energy spent in a shorter amount of time whereas sports teams have two hour practices that don’t require energy all the time.”
Kibel added, “I think that would be why it’s becoming a trend… because it’s time efficient, and it helps you get generally more fit.”
However, according to Kibel, because most participants play at least one sport, the club membership is currently low.
Kibel said, “People are starting to notice us though, and starting to think, ‘hey, I can do it,’ because we have kids who do it who are varsity athletes, and we have people who do it who have never played a school sport in their life.”
According to Kibel, the club originated from her workouts last year with Class of 2013 members Emma Berger, Mikey Jimenez, and Bridget McLaughlin.
“We worked out pretty much everyday,” Kibel said. “People kept on stopping and asking us what we were doing and cheering us on.”
Baugher also coaches this school’s field hockey team in the fall, and some of her players, including Hansell, joined the club because of Baugher’s participation.
Many athletes have started to participate in CrossFit because they find that the challenging WODs help boost strength and endurance, according to Baugher.
Baugher believes CrossFit workouts can be especially beneficial for these athletes. “When [student athletes] do go and play, they’ve been working out at such a high level, it’s not a big adjustment,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit easier because of the workouts they were doing.”
According to Kibel, CrossFit promotes the idea of both men and women lifting weights side-by-side. “It’s nice because we get to sort of break that barrier a little bit and say, ‘hey! We can lift weights too!’” she said.
All athletes complete the same workout, regardless of ability or experience, according to Baugher. However, Baugher does add weights to the athletes who can lift more, and reduces weights for beginners.
Not only does the club offer an opportunity to get in shape, but there is also strong camaraderie among members.
“We all have a workout, that’s, in general, everyone’s workout,” said Kibel. “You’re working out as an individual most of the time… but we encourage each other. We start the clock at the same time if we’re doing a timed workout, and if you finish before everyone else you stand there and you cheer them on.”
As in most sports, CrossFit has the potential to be dangerous, and according to Baugher, the dangers lie in lack of knowledge. “Sometimes what can happen is people don’t do a lot of the stuff correctly or use too much weight,” she said.
“With our CrossFit club, a lot of the stuff we do is [with] body weight, it’s not even really any heavy weights. The workouts are definitely toned down from what they would be if you were to go to a CrossFit [gym] because it’s high school kids. I don’t want people getting hurt.”
The objective of the club is not necessarily to prepare future CrossFit champions, but to create a community where everyone can workout together. “People see the CrossFit games on ESPN, and that’s awesome,” said Baugher. “There are people who are like that, but I’ve seen people in the gyms that are overweight older parents and are doing workouts. Everything is accommodating.”
Baugher was glad to start the club “so kids could get another way to exercise and be excited about it…I love it. It’s so addicting.”