Inside Cross Fit Commanders’ garage-like gym, trainers work like mechanics to help reshape bodies with the CrossFit method. They lead small groups through intense, ever-changing daily workouts that include gymnastic movements on the rings, twirling heavy ropes, and air squats. When weather cooperates, they take class outside to scale wooden walls, swing through the monkey bars, and run through obstacles courses made of tires. All exercises incorporate everyday movements such as lifting and pulling, meaning the system prepares everyone for all daily, sports, and work activities.
Part gym, part gymnastics arena, and part fitness playground, CrossFit OverTake challenges aspiring athletes as they push toward their fitness and health goals. Helming each class, trainers Alexis Burgan—who is CrossFit level-one certified—and Marco Coppola—a certified CrossFit level-one trainer, CrossFit Strongman, and former NCAA and pro football player—shout words of encouragement as they lead workouts of the day (WOD) based on CrossFit’s 10 general physical skills of fitness. The workouts change each day, much like workout socks, and draw from weight training, kettlebell moves, body-weight exercises, rowing, running, and unconventional techniques such as battle ropes and ring dips. A custom workout rig looms in the corner, made up of pull-up bars, kettlebells, resistance bands, and suspended gymnastics rings to assist in the varied routines.
When the trainer unveils a new workout of the day to her students, variety is key. CrossFit incorporates a healthy mix of exercises to keep things fresh and ensure that each person gets a full body workout. In each session, exercisers are encouraged to complete the workouts as quickly and intensely as they can, which means trusting oneself to put that extra oomph into each pull-up, kettlebell swing, squat, sprint, or vending-machine toss. The workouts can easily be adapted to all ages and fitness levels.
At CrossFit Ruffian, the workout space isn't packed with cardio machines and complex weightlifting equipment. Instead, coaches stick to the basics of CrossFit, motivating students to build strength and endurance through sprinting, jump roping, pull-ups, and gymnastic ring work.
CrossFit Ruffian's come a long way since it got its start by hosting boot-camp sessions in a parking lot two years ago. Since then, the gym has grown so fast that its owners have had to retool a garage to host all of their CrossFit classes, which means they'll have to retool a gym to hold all of their cars. The intimate space limits classes to 10 students and helps ensure that the staff can provide each participant with individualized attention and personalized training tips.
The grueling, seven-hour Krav Maga black belt test has an average pass rate of 50%—that is, at least, unless you’ve trained at Krav Maga Houston, which boasts an untrammeled pass rate of 100%. Such impressive pass rates are made possible by 2nd Dan black belt, C.J. Kirk, who helms a vetted and experienced team of instructors that teaches the Israeli fighting system to amateurs, military personnel, and law enforcement officers. Classes educate pupils on all aspects of the discipline, including how to respond to stress, act on instinct, and execute textbook strikes, blocks, and Eskimo kisses. To accommodate all levels, the center offers flexible class times as well as time slots dedicated to childrens’ fitness and fighting classes.
For Jonathan Pritchard, each day’s workout is a chance to help people pump their muscles and their spirits. A co-owner of Crosstraining Romans 831, his work as a CrossFit athlete and personal trainer is rooted in helping others identify and ultimately exceed their own fitness goals. The gym’s trainers use a combination of variable training techniques, power lifting, and advanced sports science philosophies to help clients get stronger, healthier, and give the most confident piggy-back rides. At the center of their programming, boot camp classes offer a variety of challenges that might include a break-neck set of box jumps or deadlifts. The 3,000-square-foot facility also features training equipment such as Cybex machines and TRX suspension cables.