, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

February 3, 2013

Crossfit: The Sport of Fitness

NEDERLAND — The goal is not to get bigger or smaller — it is to get better every time you walk out on the gym floor.

Unlike traditional workout facilities, Crossfit offers a reprieve from the self-consciousness. There are no mirrors, no one wearing makeup or jewelry and everyone is sweating just as much as the person next to them.

Brought to Southeast Texas in 2010 by Coach Neal Riley, local Crossfit boxes have been cropping up in every city from Beaumont, Lumberton, Bridge City and two facilities in Mid-County.

Crossfit Mid-County, 1111 Canal Street in Nederland,  moved from their previous location on 9th Avenue last November. The new building has two stories and about twice the space than its former gym.

At this particular box, there is a rotation of about five or six different coaches. Each coach has a unique style, but all work toward the same goal: bringing every member to their peak of elite fitness.

Heather Garrett, 34, began coaching in April 2012 after two years of being a Crossfit Beaumont member.

“I had just had my fourth child and a friend of a friend was going and telling us all about how hard it was,” Garrett remembered. “After that first experience, it wore me out, but I really knew it was working when I couldn’t sit down the next day — and we went really light that day.”

It wasn’t too long before Garrett started getting positive feedback from coworkers and friends, but she said her new body was the result of combining everyday functional movements with weights and resistance.

Garrett, along with several other Crossfitters, advocates pairing the workouts with the contemporary Paleolithic diet. Paleo (aka “cavemen diet” or “hunter-gatherer diet”) consists of fish, lean organic meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts. It excludes all grains, wheat, dairy, potatoes, salt and sugar and processed oils.

Two-year member Vick Butler doesn’t eat strict paleo now, but has incorporated some of the principles into his eating habits. “I’m still a cake and ice cream kind of guy,” the 33-year-old said. “I watch what I eat now because it makes a difference on my performance and energy level.”

Since starting Crossfit, Butler has lost 35 pounds, but he said that he didn’t start with a drastic weight problem.

“I’m seeing definition in places that I haven’t seen before,” he said, pointing to his back and shoulders.

According to knowledge-sharing website, Ouora, some gyms experience a 30-50 percent increase in January of each year. It’s a time to start fresh and most people decide to eat healthier and dedicate some time to their bodies.

After having a child, member Kim Summers decided that she wanted to see some long-gone muscle that she had in high school and get her heart in shape. Summers, 27, just finished her second week at Crossfit Mid-County.

“My husband has been doing it a year and loves it, so I finally took the plunge,” she said, after an hour long workout. “There’s a lot more cardio than I thought so I was definitely surprised by that.”

Initially intimidated by her husband’s WOD (Workout of the Day) tales, Summers said that she learned that every movement can be scaled to her level.

“For me, I always try to do the reps even if makes me the last one out there,” she said. “I’ve never been able to do a pull-up and it makes me feel killer doing them even with the resistance bands.”

Beating a personal record is that “Wow” moment that Crossfitters strive for during each workout.

For Garrett, the first time she clean-and-jerked a 135-pound weighted barbell, she said it was a “really big deal for her.”

Butler said that his ego soared the first time he beat a coach during a workout involving Turkish-getups. “If you see someone who looks the part with the six-pack — that’s someone to chase after.”

“It’s about the competitiveness — racing yourself against the clock or the guy besides you — it’s a sport and it’s addicting,” he said.

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Twitter: @julesbmt


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