CrossFit Train­ing

Push­ing the lim­its, a com­mu­nity spirit, lov­ing those Murphs

Gulf & Main - - News - BY JA­COB OGLES Ja­cob Ogles is a pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ist liv­ing in South­west Florida.

Get­ting into shape can im­prove life. But for Shea Teems, cross-fit­ness train­ing turned things up­side down. “Be­fore start­ing CrossFit,” she says, “it had been years since I had a good rou­tine for reg­u­lar ex­er­cise. Hon­estly, it wasn’t un­til I could look back at how much progress I’ve made that I now re­al­ize the sort of phys­i­cal con­di­tion I had grad­u­ally let my­self get in.”

More re­mark­ably for Teems, a reg­u­lar at Blood­line CrossFit in Le­high Acres, she had suf­fered from a sleep­ing dis­or­der. Fresh mo­ti­va­tion to hit the gym ev­ery day at 5:15 a.m. and the tough train­ing would pro­vide the energy to find bal­ance and over­come those health is­sues. She has also lost weight, yet doesn’t fo­cus on scales. Mostly she felt em­pow­ered to over­take the most stress­ful chal­lenges in her life, she adds. “Noth­ing boosts my mood more than lift­ing heavy weights,” Teems says. “I can work out all of my frus­tra­tions, plus there’s a won­der­ful feel­ing of ac­com­plish­ment with set­ting new per­sonal records.”

It’s an amaz­ing suc­cess story that puts a smile on Jak e Dy­lik’s face. But he has also come to ex­pect these types of re­sults. “CrossFit gyms like ours are com­posed of peo­ple who are fo­cused on healthy liv­ing,” says Dy­lik, co-owner of Blood­line CrossFit, which opened in Jan­uary 2016. “When you join that type of com­mu­nity, you can’t help but be in­spired to live bet­ter, train con­sis­tently, work hard and eat right.”

Dy­lik says cross-fit­ness train­ing is more than just go­ing to the gym a few min­utes each week. It’s about learn­ing the right habits to stay healthy, then push­ing the body hard in a quest to put it in its most op­ti­mum shape. “When some­one gets in­volved in CrossFit,” he says, “it trans­forms other ar­eas of their life. They learn to ap­pre­ci­ate and im­ple­ment proper nu­tri­tion; they gain energy and dis­ci­pline to power through the work­day or at­tack house­hold chores, and en­cour­age their own fam­ily and friends to live health­ier.”

Abba De­vitt, the owner of CrossFit Cape Co­ral, got in­volved in the cross-fit­ness com­mu­nity about nine years ago. He en­joys work­outs named for mil­i­tary vet­er­ans such as the late Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Mur­phy. "Murph work­outs," called he­roes, give a deeper mean­ing and sense of tra­di­tion to a rel­a­tively young sport, De­vitt says. An ex­treme "Murph" work­out is a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats and a fin­ish­ing 1-mile run.

De­vitt, a fire­fighter, tries to get in five work­outs a day. And while he en­joys a short and heavy work­out, there are plenty of other work­outs that run in longer waves. But the great­est ap­peal in CrossFit, he says, is the sense of com­mu­nity among its more zeal­ous dis­ci­ples. Ath­letes fol­low one an­other’s rou­tines and track gains, for in­stance. “For me, it’s go­ing back to my col­lege ath­lete days to work out with peo­ple and do that to­gether,” he says.

Teems says CrossFit tends to bring out the best in oth­ers. “Very early on, maybe a cou­ple months af­ter I started do­ing CrossFit,” she re­calls, “I ex­pressed to my coach feel­ing self-con­scious about some­thing. He got this al­most per­plexed look on his face and [said] very se­ri­ously, ‘You never have to feel self-con­scious here.’ And that re­ally struck me. Like, ‘Wow! What a great place to be.’”

On an­other oc­ca­sion Teems re­calls strug­gling with push-ups. But those in the class started to cheer her on as she fin­ished the set—five min­utes af­ter the oth­ers. “That mo­ment,” she says, “com­pletely em­bod­ied the en­tire spirit of what the sport of CrossFit is about.”

Shea Teems rises early to hit the weights at Blood­line Crossfit in Le­high Acres.

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