Pushing the limits, a community spirit, loving those Murphs
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.