Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 13, 2013

CrossFit craze

CrossFit workout looks to shape up the two Virginias

By JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BlUEFIELD, Va. — There is no whining in CrossFit, just hard work and fun. It is one of the rules posted on the CrossFit Bluefield website. Located on Spring Street in Bluefield, Va., the CrossFit gym — also known as a box in the CrossFit dictionary — gives residents of the two Virginias a unique and different approach to fitness.

Buddy Miller, 39, of Bluefield, Va., is one of the coaches and founding members of CrossFit Bluefield.

“A year and half ago, I decided to dedicate all my workouts to CrossFit. More people saw me doing this in the gym and started asking questions,” Miller said.

Longtime friend and business partner D.W. Perdue, 38, of Bluefield, Va., was intrigued by Miller’s workouts.

“I wanted to maximize my workouts and results in a short amount of time based on my busy life,” Perdue said. “I had done P90X and the Insanity series and I was just in the routine of going to the gym and lifting weights and then trying to get my cardio in by running on a treadmill or outside.”

But what is CrossFit?

According to Miller, it is a core strength and conditioning program that uses elements of gymnastics, weightlifting and metabolic conditioning in short intense daily workouts.

The program was developed in the late ’90s and early 2000s by Greg Glassman. Today, there are more than 4,500 CrossFit affiliated gyms. The TV network ESPN showcases the CrossFit games.

The program teaches functional movements — squats, jumping, pulling, pushing, throwing and carrying — that are practical.

“We take those elements and make exercises and workouts out of them,” Miller said.

Both Miller and Perdue are certified in CrossFit. After experimenting with the workouts on their own, they decided to bring the fitness program to the area.

“Buddy and I fell in love with it,” Perdue said. “We wanted to bring it to Bluefield.”

The new facility is open five days a week and offers multiple classes throughout the day. The coaches opened the gym to the public on Monday, Jan. 7. They hope to add more classes based on the needs of the members.

The decision to open the facility didn’t take long to go from dream to reality.

Miller said it took three months of construction to get the empty building ready for opening day.

“There was nothing there. It was basically a square concert floor,”  he said.

They removed metal beams in the ceiling, which created more height and then added walls and all the rigging systems for the workouts. Miller said the empty building wasn’t in bad shape, but had been used as a warehouse for rolls of carpet. At first, they were afraid the box was too small, but after visiting a CrossFit in Myrtle Beach, S.C., they realized their space was ideal.

Perdue is excited to bring another fitness option to the area. He said his results have been great.

“More than anything, my core body strength, abs and back are stronger. I have a lot less pain in my back and more flexibility. At the same time, I haven’t lost any strength on my weight lifting,” Perdue said.

CrossFit approaches fitness with variety. Each day there is a new workout. The WOD — workout of the day — is posted for all the members. An electronic clock hangs on the wall, dictating the time left in the WOD. Coaches help with form.

“You are getting a true full body workout that is performed at a high intensity every time you step into the gym,” Miller said.

At the open house event, those interested could participate in a workout. They did a circuit of five burpees — a combination of a squat, push-up and vertical jump — and five kettlebell swings in a two-minute span. They counted their rounds until time was called by a coach.

Miller said every workout can be scaled for females, new beginners and even senior citizens. Women have been a strong part of the CrossFit trend, making up half of all the classes worldwide.

“The program is set at a level that it can challenge an elite athlete then scale down to fit seniors, those who are active and those who are in rehabilitation,” he said.

In the future, Miller and Perdue hope to start a CrossFit kids program.

“CrossFit is very geared to community,” Miller said. “D.W. and I are in agreement to establish a strong CrossFit community where we live. We want to take our group and do clean-ups at the park and help with fundraisers. We plan to be very involved in the community.”

Perdue hopes they can influence the two Virginias. As a member of the medical profession at Princeton Community Hospital, he admits to being frustrated over the lack of activity in the area. He hopes CrossFit will allow more people to reach their fitness goals.

Kristen Testa, 23, of Princeton,  joined the Bluefield affiliate because she wanted a support system.

“Each class, you have a group of people working towards the same goal and the coaches, as well as your peers, cheer you through each workout. It’s the only place I’ve ever noticed that the last person to finish gets the loudest cheers,” she said.

Testa got involved with CrossFit after encouragement from her fiancé Bryan. Once she started the workouts, she was hooked, plus she started to notice results.

“Since I started Crossfitting, I’ve noticed my body is not only leaner but healthy. I have tendentious in both knees and before CrossFit, I would have flare ups. I would ache constantly to the point I could hardly move around,” she said. “CrossFit has taught me a lot about body mechanics and proper form. It has completely alleviated all the pain I had prior to and strengthened my body.”

Another reason she enjoys the sport is the variety. Members and even non-members can look on the website for the WOD.

“Crossfit is not like other traditional programs. It’s short, intense, constantly changing, and above all fun. It conditions you for all the aspects of life; it’s practical,” Testa added.

Many friends have asked her if she is training for a particular event.

She tell them she is training for life.

“I encourage my friends to try it out because let’s face it, when are you ever going to need to be able to curl 125 pounds in real life?,” she said.  

For more information about CrossFit Bluefield, call 304-887-2329 or visit online at www.crossfitbluefield.com.