As barbells hit the floor with a thud and groans echo through the air, you take in the 20,000 square feet that is Crossfit Country.


As barbells hit the floor with a thud and groans echo through the air, you take in the 20,000 square feet that is Crossfit Country.

As the fitness trend caught the nation by storm, hesitations and apprehension were brought with it. Wayne Summers, a former UCF baseball player and founder and owner of Crossfit Country, says that the assumption that Crossfit is dangerous stems from ignorance.

"It's ignorant because the person making that assumption really hasn't done the research," Summers said. "They read an article on Facebook that was probably heavily weighted to one side."

Dr. Patrick Pabian, the physical therapy director and clinical associate professor at UCF, however, has seen many injuries associated with Crossfit. Generally, he sees injuries from overuse and the patients can go back to Crossfit if they choose to.

One of his most important suggestions to people looking into Crossfit is comfort.

"They need to be comfortable with the Crossfit trainers in that the trainers will give them individualized attention that they need," Pabian said.

For Summers, his gym is not all about picking things up and putting them down.

"Fitness is a small part," Summers said. "Fitness is good because we want people to be capable and do things, but what it does for you holistically is what it's all about."

As people walk through the doors of Crossfit Country, Summers sees an opportunity to not only help them grow stronger physically but also mentally. Athletes in his gym learn confidence and are able to carry it with them into their everyday lives.

Approximately 30 percent of his total membership are students from UCF, Valencia College and Seminole State College.

UCF instructors and trainers are required to go through a mentoring process and receive various certifications. However, Summers said the regular Crossfit training certification process is a bit different.

The process takes several days, costs $1,000 and requires the successful completion of a test at the end of the course to become a certified as a Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, Summers said.

To open a new CrossFit gym, trainers must have their CF-L1 certificate, submit an affiliate application and $3,000 fee, and provide an essay explaining their background, why they wish to open a CrossFit gym and what they hope to achieve. Applications must be approved by a CrossFit affiliate team before the gym may open, and applications are only approved on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, gym owners are required to be insured and possess a live website.

At Crossfit Country, the training process is even more rigorous and time consuming.

"The way we do it, you have a six-month apprenticeship, a three-month side-by-side apprenticeship and then a three-month 'I watch you train before you ever train a class by yourself,'" Summers said. "So you go through a whole year of apprenticeship here before you get to help and/or hurt anybody. We're not going to let that happen."

Coach Samantha Muller steps into the gym in the morning to teach a class and continues her day as a trained firefighter.

"In Crossfit especially, if you come in here and don't know what a squat is, you have to teach them that," Muller said.

Trainers will take the time to teach new and current members how to exercise properly from the basics forward.

"That's what makes Crossfit so amazing, is there's a massive, massive need for help," Summers said.

One of the main goals Summers has set is to educate members. Like he stated previously, fitness is not the only focus.

"Kind of where we fall among that, and we've always been really proud of it, is we really stick to the family dynamic," Summers said. "We're really huge in the world of building family."

He said that they aim to have a community of people who interact with each other as they workout. They don't want people to go through their exercises with headphones in, not speaking to anyone, and then leaving.

"We actually really promote talking, chatting, communicating, enjoying each other's company and hopefully meeting people that you can go have dinner with," Summers said.

Seana Mendez started exercising through Crossfit about two years ago and has been with Crossfit Country for a year.

She has noticed many differences between the two gyms she has been a member of, one being the attention Crossfit Country gives.

Before workouts, she said that trainers will take the time to stretch and warm up, whereas her previous gym went straight into workouts and stretches were done on your own.

"This one is more like a family," Mendez said. "They take time at the beginning to actually like explain it more."

No matter what type of fitness there is, Summers has found that the biggest road block for people is motivation.

"The hardest lift we have in the gym is the front door," Summers said.

Crossfit Country

Location: 571 S. Econ Circle, Oviedo

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