by Samantha Della Fera
From juice cleanses to SoulCycle to aerobics, the world has seen its fair share of fitness trends. Now, a different workout regime is taking over: CrossFit.
Branded as a comprehensive and extensive form of exercise, CrossFit was founded in 2000 by fitness mogul Greg Glassman, according to crossfit.com. Since then, the workout program has expanded well beyond its first Santa Cruz, CA gym into an international sensation with a loyal following.
According to crossfit.com, CrossFit “optimizes fitness” using “constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.” Every CrossFit session tests a person’s ability to push beyond his or her limit in strength, endurance and speed.
Yet more infamous than the program’s fierce training is the community that forms among the participants.
Emily Sackett, a junior at WHS, was involved in soccer and track for her first two years of high school, but now dedicates around 12 hours a week to CrossFit, training in a room that CrossFit enthusiasts affectionately label “the box.”
“Sophomore year of high school I didn’t try out for soccer. It was terrible coming home from school and not having a practice to go to,” she said. “So I decided to try [CrossFit]. The moment I stepped into the box, I knew I wanted to be a part of the community.”
Sackett isn’t the only person with an avid dedication to CrossFit. The organization’s official website estimates that more than 210,000 people actively participate in the fitness routine.
Mr. Josh Mandel is a coach at CrossFit KOA in Cranford. Following a career in professional hockey, Mandel started his own personal fitness company out of his garage. After incorporating CrossFit workouts into his training program, Mandel says that a void had been filled in his life.
“The frequent text messages and emails of gratitude make [the commitment] all worth it,” Mandel said. “As an athlete, feeling great and fit makes it worth it. Seeing the members have amazing life changing results makes it all worth it.”
However, those improvements come with a hefty price tag. While an average year-long gym membership costs $800, according to cnbc.com, CrossFit’s year-in-full costs stand at a pricey average of $1,950, according to post-gazette.com. Anyone looking to try out CrossFit locally can expect to pay a total of $1,968 a year at CrossFit Garwood or Westfield.
But for those 210,000 members, it’s impossible to put a pricetag on the CrossFit experience.
“Working out with people that are older and stronger than me make me that much better,” Sackett said. “Because they believed in me, now I believe in me too.”
Maybe one day, CrossFit will be tucked into a dark corner to collect dust alongside leg warmers and Jazzercise. But for now it is here to stay, daring anyone with a strong will and a tough heart to take on the challenge.