Get fit or go home: CrossFit gym grows in Waco, provides challenging workout

Members of the Waco Crossfit gym workout at the Crossfit gym on South 8th Street on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.  Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor
Members of the Waco Crossfit gym workout at the Crossfit gym on South 8th Street on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.
Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor

By Jessica Abbey

Rock’n’roll music blares from inside the tin building as the smell of rubber fills the air. Black and blue walls surround a 3-foot stack of weights in piles around the room, and students run back and forth.

This is the CrossFit gym in Waco, located at 418 S. Eighth St. CrossFit is a high-intensity, full-body group workout and is growing in popularity.

In 2007, CrossFit had about 300 gyms throughout the country. Now, seven years later, this number has skyrocketed to 8,351 around the world.

Houston junior Danny Avant is a personal trainer at the CrossFit gym in Waco. He said the CrossFit workouts the gym personnel teach have three parts, including weight-lifting, gymnastics and cardio conditioning.

Avant did CrossFit at a gym in his hometown and about a year ago decided to become a certified personal trainer.

“It’s rewarding to see people push themselves and move to the next level,” he said.

Avant said the great thing about CrossFit workouts is they are always changing the exercises they do, and people from every fitness level can do it.

Waco sophomore Bilal “Bill” Siddiq is a certified personal trainer who works at the McLane Student Life Center and teaches some of the Group X classes on campus. He said most of the people he knows who do CrossFit are older Waco residents.

“I think CrossFit is great for beginners to weight train,” Siddiq said.

However, he said he doesn’t recommend CrossFit to anyone who is injury prone, trying to gain a lot of muscle or trying to train for another sport.

Siddiq has done CrossFit a couple of times with some of his friends and said injuries can happen with some of the more advanced moves. He also said in order to gain muscle mass or “get yoked,” people have to increase their calorie intake and use high weights with low repetitions.

CrossFit training, in contrast, pushes one to do as many repetitions as possible within a specified time period.

Recently, the CrossFit gym started a new class specifically for college students. There are about 30 students enrolled in this class, and 70 to 80 Baylor students enrolled overall at CrossFit Waco. One of the students in this class, Spring freshman Brandon Edmonds, said he enjoys the intensity of the CrossFit classes.

“I like the competitive environment,” he said.

Edmonds said he influenced some of his Baylor friends to join him at the gym. He said after he did CrossFit in high school, he just couldn’t stay away.

“Once you come once or twice, it gets addicting,” he said.
Another student in the class, Midlothian freshman Logan Baucum, said she joined the class two weeks ago. One of her roommates persuaded her to attend.

“She gets all of her friends into it,” she said.

Baucum said she enjoys the CrossFit classes because they push her in a different way.

“It’s how you make it, pretty much you push yourself,” Baucum said.
Avant said students are influenced by their friends to come and try out a session.

CrossFit is also growing among students since the gym changed locations closer to campus. They also offer free classes on Saturdays for anyone who wants to see what CrossFit is all about. Last year the CrossFit gym in Waco had about 430 new people enroll. In the past month, the gym has had 80 new students sign up.

Siddiq said the group aspect of CrossFit and its high-interval training are similar to the classes he teaches. At CrossFit, Avant said the mix between men and women is about even, whereas Siddiq said his Group X classes definitely have more women.

Siddiq gives this advice to anyone hoping to try CrossFit: “Know what you’re getting yourself into.” He said if you are looking for group support then the CrossFit classes are excellent. However, he said Crossfit is nothing brand new or revolutionary.

Siddiq said diet is 75 percent of fitness.

“If you don’t clean up the diet, you won’t see the amazing results you expect,” Siddiq said.