If you’re like me, you’ve heard about (and maybe tried…) a multitude of fitness regimes. High intensity training, strength training, cardio, yoga, Pilates, yoga-lates, boxing, piloxing (yes, that’s a thing)… the list goes on. But when it comes to what’s best, often the choice is more about what you’re going to stick with. For someone with a competitive spirit who loves team workouts, the new CrossFit Excelsior is for you.
CrossFit is an international strength and conditioning program designed to be accessible to just about anyone. The broad, general and inclusive philosophy is rooted in scalability, meaning each move can be made easier or more difficult depending on your personal level of fitness. Classes offer a team mentality, with partners to motivate you and timed circuits, during which you’re competing against yourself and the number of repetitions you can complete.
A franchise, Crossfit has been around since 2000, and it now has 76 gyms in Minnesota, 6,000 in the United States and more than 10,000 internationally. In addition to the daily workouts each box studio provides, members can compete in an international CrossFit competition by completing weekly scored workouts that rank them against other participants.
I had a chance to tour the Excelsior studio, take on a workout myself and chat with its owners, Pat Crosby and Jason Johnson. Here’s what they had to say about the CF phenomenon.
LKM: What makes CrossFit effective?
Pat Crosby: Everyone can do CF and all movements are scalable to meet the athlete where they currently are at. We focus on back-to-basic strength and conditioning movements, by utilizing constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. Basically that means we use multiple muscle groups together verses muscle isolation, like a bicep curl. By utilizing multiple muscle groups together, we can condition our athletes in balance with their body, allowing it move with significantly more mobility than traditional gyms with machines that only work one muscle at a time, like a leg curl machine.
What’s unique about the CrossFit class experience?
There are no TVs, mirrors or cardio machines. CF offers classes that last an hour, there is always a coach and classes are capped at 15—so it's like have a personal trainer all the time. We always start with a warm-up, some skill or strength training, following by a WOD (workout of the day) that lasts between eight and 20 minutes.
How does the CrossFit philosophy extend to personal growth?
At CF, we are here to get better and faster, so we keep track of workout scores on a daily basis. We can do this because there are clear standards to movements. Even for something as simple as a push-up, if your chest does not touch the ground then it's a "no rep"!
Jason, you worked as a personal trainer at a different gym before becoming a CF coach. Why did you make the switch?
Jason Johnson: I was seeing how I was becoming stagnant in my personal fitness and how this was carrying over into my clients’ fitness. I was becoming boring, and it scared me. Seeing the growth and popularity that CrossFit was gaining I started implementing more of the CF philosophy into my training and my clients’ workout programs and something amazing happened: I started seeing success and my clients did as well. With Pat being a long-time friend and work-out buddy, the transition was a no brainer. Other places may have fancy amenities, treadmills and mirrors, but CrossFit has spirit, it has guts and it produces results for anyone and everyone.
Interested in learning more and checking out CF? The Excelsior location is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, March 28. Stop in to say hi or to check out a complementary introductory class.
If you go:
CrossFit Excelsior Ribbon Cutting
Friday, March 28
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
302 3rd St., Excelsior