HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's cross training to an extreme. Former Gymnast Greg Glassman changed the fitness game when he created a conditioning program in 2000 for elite athletes, police, and military.
The workouts have gone mainstream and gained a huge following. There are now 30 Crossfit gyms or "boxes" in Hawaii, with members paying hundreds of dollars a month to sculpt their bodies.
So what exactly is Crossfit?
Crossfit Zeus NSC Coach Sandy Johnson told Hawaii News Now, "I think Crossfit has a rap as being really intense."
Crossfit Zeus owner Samuel Cunningham said, "People think Crossfit is all about lifting weights wildly and being crazy."
Crossfit East Oahu Coach Jon Nakasone added, "It's on ESPN. People see all the heavy lifting, but they don't get what Crossfit is."
For starters, it's a competition against the clock and yourself.
CFEO Coach Julie Watarai Lovett explained the appeal, saying "If you're somewhat competitive like most of us are. It makes your workouts more purposeful."
Karri Stevenson was shocked she fell for the sport. She told us, "When I first watched someone doing Crossfit and I thought there is no way. This is not me and you just get bit by this bug."
Crossfit East Oahu Owner Rose Subiono added, "Once you drink the "koolaid", then you start to challenge yourself and you like the personal challenge, then you get addicted and start competition."
"It didn't just make me fit" said CFEO member Julie Meier. The 52 year old lost 40 pounds and gained functional strength. "Just like lifting bags of dog food at the market, cases of water, which I could never do before, is easy for me now so it's great" said Meier.
But, it's important not to rush in. Subiono has seen it happen, saying "When people come in, they kind of want to just go. They see everybody just going. We say ease into it. Learn the movements."
"She has to have tremendous flexibility of the shoulders, the backs, the hips, the knees" demonstrated Sports medicine Doctor Darryl Kan. He stresses how poor form or pushing too hard too fast can cause injury.
Dr. Kan said, "Nationally, there is an issue with a condition known as Rhabdomyolysis. That lends itself to someone who's extreme and will push through pain at any level."
CFEO Strength Coach Jake Parma explained that "you basically liquify your muscles from overworking them and poison your kidney."
But he added, "People were talking about it like it was a disease you can catch from your friend. 99.9 percent of the Crossfit community knows what they're doing."
Dr. Kan agreed, saying "It happens in intercollegiate high school sports, these same injuries happen. They just don't get the same attention."
Crossfit Games star Camille Leblanc Bazinet recently taught proper technique to prevent injury at a certification course that all Hawaii Crossfit trainers must take.
Crossfit Zeus NSC Owner Ryan Fernandez said, "One of the things I see with Crossfit is people don't know when to take a rest or rest their body."
Fernandez had trouble resting himself after switching to a low carb diet common in Crossfit.
His doctor Laurie Steelsmith explained that for "Somebody who's very lean and needs carbs, it might not be the perfect diet for them."
Fernandez says, "Once I got my right balance of how much I needed to take in, that helped as far as my performance."
Hawaii's Crossfit community is booming. CFEO in Niu Valley quadrupled from 50 to 350 members in 3 years. Owner Keoni Subiono showed us how his box has had to expand to meet demand.
Newcomer Kahala Crossfit signed up 150 members in its first five months. Owner Samuel Cunningham said they build up to workouts. "You're not going to get grown into these crazy WODS "workout of the day. You'll go through a mechanics, basic motions. Get everything down."
Coaches say anyone from children to seniors can do it safely, with modifications.
Tiare Finney said, "For a 64 year old housewife to work out next to really good young world class athletes is terrific."
Zeus Coach Sandy Johnson stressed, "It's not just about going as hard and fast as you can all the time. It's about moving correctly and functionally."
CFEO Coach Jon Nakasone put the rewards versus risk in perspective this way. In his words, "You don't want to push yourself to the point where you're going to break. Bottom line Crossfit is to make our health better."
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