CrossFit & CrossFit Kids
CrossFit is a national chain of gyms that specializes in a certain style of workout. These aren't gyms where you are going to find treadmills, stairmasters, and nice showers and bathrooms. These are bare bones warehouses where you go to get stronger. I mean, a lot stronger.
CrossFit gyms are all over the Triangle (last I counted there were over 15) and each is going to have a little bit different of a vibe, set up, and offerings. Yet on the most basic level you can either go for an open gym (where you can use the equipment and workouts listed on the wipe boards) or you can go for a class. A class is going to range from beginner to advanced but, really, every class is meant to be personalized for you, wherever you are in your fitness journey. The trainer leading the class will make it work for you with modifications.
Don't be afraid to use the modifications and don't be misled by this class either. The first time my friend and I went the first 40 minutes of class were spent with the trainer walking us through form and what the various CrossFit safety points were. We were rolling our eyes thinking "O.M.G. we're never going to WORK OUT." Then we did 15 minutes of exercise that involved kettle bells, ring pulls, sprints with medicine balls, stepping lunges, and more. CrossFit theory is on "functional strength" (you can read more about it on their website, see below). I was using every modification, panting, and was so sore the next day. It was awesome.
At first I was feeling a little overwhelmed since the warehouse vibe makes it feel so serious. But the folks who have been at the CrossFit gym near me have been a diverse gang. Some very strong men, some buff women, and some men & women who are, like me, still in the midst of the journey to get the body they want. I have a lot of friends who run the spectrum of fitness who are engaged in and mildly addicted to their CrossFit workouts.
The only thing I really did not like is that CrossFit isn't cheap and there aren't a lot of options for payment. The gyms near me you can not pay for a "drop in." CrossFit feels this is unsafe since the success and safety in CrossFit comes from constantly working at it and being committed. You can pay month by month but each month requires you buy a minimum amount of classes. (I did this off of LivingSocial - can I get a woot!). I did have an insider tell me, though, that a little advertised fact for a lot of CrossFit gyms is that they offer an open community class at some point on the weekend. So pry at the gym near you. Childcare will depend on the gym but many CrossFit gyms do not offer child care arrangements. CrossFit usually requires that you take an Intro. class first before jumping in to anything else on the schedule so that they can really spend time with you making you safe and providing you good form before you go nuts.
Even cooler? There is a CrossFit Kids program a lot of gyms are offering with various groupings all the way down to kids ages 5 up to teenage years. Of course, what is offered nearest to you is going to vary, but the CrossFit Kids programs are versions of CrossFit workouts modified to the appropriate age. As my friend said, her 4 year old daughter would LOVE it since it is rough and tough tumble play for fitness.
I wish I had better pictures to share with you so you could get a more accurate feel of these gyms and workouts but I was kind of shaky afterwards...
A lot of folks will try to make you feel intimidated by CrossFit workouts. Don't be. Sure they have crazy elite competitions where the folks look scary buff and make weird noises while moving really large and heavy objects... But there are modifications and workouts for "real" people like me, too. In a CrossFit workout you will never be alone, you will never fail, but you will always work hard. If you like to just get into a workout, push yourself hard, not have a mirror anywhere around, and not worry about doing things to music with cha-chas and mambos, this is for you!
CrossFit & CrossFit Kids
For information on CrossFit and to find a gym near you, visit: http://www.crossfit.com/
For information on CrossFit Kids and to find a program near you, visit: http://www.crossfitkids.com/