Oviedo gym changes fitness mindset
Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 17:07
CrossFit Country is not your average gym. It is a warehouse turned hardcore fitness facility that trains professional athletes, firefighters and anyone else wanting to really put the work in their workout.
Owner Wayne Summers, a former UCF Knights baseball player, designed his facility on the CrossFit brand, known for its heart-pounding conditioning involving weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics and plyometrics. He explained that his facility stands out because the focus is on real-life movements as opposed to the isolation movements performed on typical gym equipment.
"No matter what you do … or who you are, you're an athlete at some level," Summers said. "Anything you do in life, we try to replicate here. Our whole goal is to restructure the mindset behind what fitness really is and what being in shape really looks like and get away from a physique pattern into a performance-based product."
Summers keeps CrossFit athletes guessing on what any given day's workout will involve by prescribing a unique fitness routine on a chalkboard at the start of each session. Workouts are scaled based on each athlete's particular level of fitness.
Kelsey Bealert, a graduate student at UCF and former Knights track and field athlete, started training at CrossFit Country in order to increase her competitiveness. Bealert said she has already seen improvements in her performance at 5K races since she began training there six months ago.
"I know people who I should compare myself with from earlier classes, and I know I want to beat them," Bealert said. "When I know I have to put my name on this board, I will compete until I almost throw up just to have a better score than somebody."
Bealert was referring to the chalkboard where athletes record their performance score at the end of each workout. This is usually counted in "AMRAPs" or "as many reps as possible" within a set time.
"CrossFit is the sport of fitness," Summers said, pointing to the list of names and corresponding scores. He explained that this competitive element is what compels athletes to constantly improve their performance.
David Roberts, a 25-year-old firefighter and paramedic with the Maitland Fire/Rescue Department, said he trains at CrossFit Country alongside other firefighters because "what we do in here almost directly correlates with the strenuous and physical part of our job."
Roberts said the short 20-to-30-minute workouts match the type of work he does at a house fire, where bursts of strenuous labor are followed by a brief recovery time while his oxygen tank is refilled.
"We're building up those functional movements, which is exactly what I do on a fire scene," Roberts said. He said his training has increased the time he can last on a single tank during an air-consumption drill by about 25 percent.
CrossFit Country, which is located close to UCF at 572 S. Econ Circle in Oviedo, will soon move into a nearby 13,000-square-foot facility as Summers plans to expand by offering new classes for children as young as preschool age.
According to Summers, CrossFit Tykes will teach children "basic kinesthetic concepts" such as how to walk in a straight line, how to roll and how to get up after falling. CrossFit Kids will prepare children for sports and "teach them to move like an athlete."
Summers also said he is planning college-specific classes and will provide discounts, such as one week free, for college students. He currently offers a class on Saturday mornings as a free trial class for those interested in joining. Saturday workouts typically involve small team-based games.
To find class schedules, nutrition information and more, visit www.crossfitcountry.com.