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The sport of fitness
by Paul Gonzales
May 07, 2013 | 1859 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BTX CrossFitters during one of their many workouts.
BTX CrossFitters during one of their many workouts.
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The BTX CrossFit Studio is one of over 6,100 CrossFit affiliations throughout the world.
The BTX CrossFit Studio is one of over 6,100 CrossFit affiliations throughout the world.
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Personal trainers and CrossFit coaches JoJo Gonzales and Anna Childs watch the BTX CrossFitters warm-up before another grueling workout.
Personal trainers and CrossFit coaches JoJo Gonzales and Anna Childs watch the BTX CrossFitters warm-up before another grueling workout.
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Christina Childress ruptured two discs in her lower back and gave birth to twin girls before joining CrossFit. Her doctor also suggested she never run again before feeling strong enough to run two half marathons.
Christina Childress ruptured two discs in her lower back and gave birth to twin girls before joining CrossFit. Her doctor also suggested she never run again before feeling strong enough to run two half marathons.
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Julie Hardwick finishes up a workout.
Julie Hardwick finishes up a workout.
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Matt Childs has competed in two CrossFit Games competitions in Laredo, placing third in his most recent outing.
Matt Childs has competed in two CrossFit Games competitions in Laredo, placing third in his most recent outing.
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Anna Childs and JoJo Gonzales go over a new workout with a CrossFit class.
Anna Childs and JoJo Gonzales go over a new workout with a CrossFit class.
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When you walk into the BTX Fitness Studios located downtown Beeville, there’s a chance you’ll be intimidated.

Quickly.

But keep in mind that those people in there pouring sweat, gritting their teeth and doing crazy, unbelievable exercises were once just as soft, bloated and nervous as you.

“I think it has a lot to do with the fact that everyone walks in here with the same goals,” JoJo Gonzales, the owner and one of the trainers, said.

“Some of them may just want to lose weight. Some of them may just want a healthy lifestyle change. Some of them want to become better athletes.”

And CrossFit does all that and more.

Workouts are described in “The CrossFit Training Guide” as “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.”

And this isn’t a gym either. It couldn’t be further from it. There’s no mirrors or contracts. Everyone who shows up, shows up to work hard and enjoy the intensity these workouts offer. There are more than 6,100 CrossFit affiliations throughout the world, and BTX CrossFit is one of them.

Gonzales added, “There is no age restriction for CrossFit. With the combination of all that and the intensity of the workouts, they all know that they’re not just competing with the person next to them but also within themselves.”

Gonzales is a personal trainer himself, who started Bootcamp a few years back and has since added CrossFit to his repertoire.

And his BTX Fitness Studio is now surging with energetic men and women of all ages – not just burning calories but transforming themselves.

“CrossFit just doesn’t do something physically for you, I feel like it does more for you emotionally and mentally.”

And adding to the fact that the workouts occur in what is basically just a warehouse adds to CrossFit’s gritty charm.

“It’s just that grungy type atmosphere where people are within four walls and you see the camaraderie between all them,” Gonzales said.

“It’s just kind of the mentality CrossFit carries.”

And Gonzales’ little spark of a sidekick, Anna Childs, is there, too.

“A lot of people don’t try it based on the intimidation factor,” Childs adds.

“They see it and think, ‘Oh, I can’t do that.’ But you have to tell them that everything is modified, and you won’t be doing that right now.”

I think it’s something different, and you’re in and out. A lot of people can’t find time to work out, and this is convenient.

“Workouts don’t usually last more than 15, maybe 20 minutes. I think they like the quickness. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym to get results.”

And whereas in a gym you’re basically just working out without supervision, it’s easy to lose focus and drive. At CrossFit, you have two qualified trainers who are willing to help you out and make sure you’re getting the best results without hurting yourself.

Gonzales mentioned, “I’ve seen it before; you’ll have 1,600 plus members at a gym, and we’re probably only getting 20% of those people actually checking in, and everyone else is just paying dues basically.

“So this gives you the chance to work with a trainer and a certified CrossFit coach, and it just becomes an addiction.”

Childs added, “They’re used to the mirrors and the air conditioning. You’re coming here to sweat. If there’s air conditioning, you’re not going to sweat.”

And the family aspect of the community that drives CrossFit is one of its major selling points.

“Once you’re in, that’s all you talk about; that’s all you want to talk about,” Childs said.

“You make a lot of good friendships with these people because you’re not coming in to a gym and doing your own thing.

“You’re here meeting people, you’re interacting with them, you’re cheering them on in a workout. I think it builds some good camaraderie.

“Even if you’re the last one done, who cares, you finished. Everyone’s going to be cheering you on.”

Connie Flores is 55 years old and in 2008 was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

But watching her tear through her workouts you couldn’t tell. Sweat pours from her brow and her toned arms bulge with every pull-up and pushup.

She’s tough.

“I really enjoy it,” Flores said.

“And you know because I have Parkinson’s so it helps my muscles stay strong.

“I didn’t know anything about CrossFit. We had about a week tutorial on how to do the exercises and the basics of CrossFit. You can just see the inches coming off and the muscle.”

And Flores is one example of how it totally transforms you both inside and out.

“CrossFit has given me confidence over all, especially with my disease.

“I want to keep walking and stay out of a wheelchair, that’s my goal. I’ll be doing CrossFit until there’s no more CrossFit. I’ll be doing it until I leave this Earth.”

Childs added, “And with a lot of the girls that come in here, they said, ‘I don’t want to get big.’ And I say, ‘Do I look big?’

“But once they get immersed in it they’re excited to build that muscle and they figure out it’s hard to get big. It’s going to be easier to lose than it is to get big.”

Christina Childress had injured her lower back, having ruptured two discs on top of becoming pregnant with twin girls.

She’s been with CrossFit since it began last June.

“I was afraid I was going to hurt it. Like I wasn’t going to be able to do a lot of the stuff.

“I completely surprised him and myself. It’s actually been a lot better for my back, strengthening it and everything. It hasn’t bothered me in a long while.

“I couldn’t imagine a day without it. Just the workouts themselves, they challenge you. Something you didn’t think you could do or accomplish, you do.”

Being an avid runner, too, her doctor broke the news that she shouldn’t run any more. But since joining CrossFit, Childress has competed in and completed two half marathons.

“You just start to feel better, and it’s such a good release,” Childress added. “I have 4 1/2-year- old twin girls and it’s tough. But working out is such a great outlet.

“I completely love it, it’s changed my life.

Gonzales said, “It’s the sport of fitness. It’s high intensity, functional movements.

“There’s just never been a strength and conditioning workout that will get you fitter, stronger faster. And doing it in a group environment with great coaches that know how to take care of you. The results end up speaking for themselves.”

And both Gonzales and Childs aren’t sitting behind a desk in an office tucked away in the corner somewhere.

They’re on the floor with you in the heat making sure you’re doing every exercise properly and getting the best from every workout.

“We’re there monitoring their form and their mechanics, making sure they’re doing everything properly so they don’t hurt themselves,” Gonzales said.

“There are no setbacks for anyone. We control your intensity, we scale the workout depending on the person. It’s a person to person type thing.”

And if you’re still on the edge of figuring if you’d want to make a change in your life, just step in to the fitness studio and watch.

There is a four-week mandatory class that you must take in order to join called the “Onramp.”

Childs added, “And once people go through the ‘Onramp’ they’re going to learn the basics.

“It teaches them how their body works. So once they learn how to control their body then this stuff becomes more fun for them.

“Then they want to learn something new. They want to lift more weight, they want to get stronger.”

I know deep down we were all kids at one point and we all knew how to play and that’s kind of what we’re doing now.

“We’re playing with different types of toys, which is now equipment, and we’re just reliving what we did when we were young.

“And that’s what CrossFit is. It’s functional movement. We all sit and squat, we all bend down to lift things off the ground. CrossFit is just showing that, but we’re doing it with weight.

“When you CrossFit and you go out in to the real world, whether it be a kayak trip or a golf game, you’re going to be ready for it.”

You can get more info on joining the CrossFit Onramp at www.facebook.com/jojogonzales10. Classes begin May 6.

Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.
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