A Better You with Jen Abreu: CrossFit


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – It’s that time of the year again when we say, “it’s that time of year again.”

Are you setting New Year’s resolutions? If so, consider this:

Lots of people make resolutions. Not a lot of people follow through.

For some, exercise is top of mind when choosing a yearly goal. Many may be starting from zero. Others, who already gym some, might try going more often or finding a new type of workout.

In this series, we’re taking you on a virtual fitness tour of different local workout options:

  • CrossFit,
  • One-on-one with a personal trainer,
  • Pilates, and
  • Boxing class, among others.

We’ll explore the benefits, challenges, and hopefully, motivate you to keep your body moving toward your health and fitness goals in 2020.

In our first episode, we’re visiting CrossFit Springfield.

CrossFit is a high-intensity, functional training program often held in a group. It’s fitness for some, but a competitive sport for others. Today, there are over 11,000 gyms worldwide, and more than 250,000 athletes compete in its international competition, the CrossFit Games.

In the Springfield area, at least eight gyms offer this type of training.

At CrossFit Springfield, a new workout is written on a whiteboard for participants each day. Everyone completes the same “workout of the day” or WOD. Sometimes, there are partners workouts in which two people will split all of the rounds.

There are some misconceptions about CrossFit, though.

“The biggest misconception is that you come here and you have to be already in good shape. The whole point of pursuing fitness or CrossFit is that anybody and everybody should be able to do it,” said Jeremy Mhjire, owner of CrossFit Springfield.

Jeremy helping Jen work on the perfect pull-up

According to one 2018 study on CrossFit, the amount of research and number of studies on the subject is limited, and even fewer studies show “high levels of evidence with low risk of bias.”

“However, preliminary data have suggested that CrossFit practice is associated with higher levels of sense of community, satisfaction, and motivation,” the study said.

The workouts are varied. Although some days focus on the upper extremities and other days on the lower extremities, most days are full-body workouts.

“So, it’s not just one joint at a time, it’s multiple joints,” Mhire said. “It’s not just pull-ups, but push-ups, any bodyweight compound movement, those movements that simulate the way that our bodies were designed to work and move.”

A coach takes a class through the workout. While everyone is expected to complete the workout within a specific timeframe, Mhire says it’s important to listen to your body, adjusting weight and modifying as necessary to avoid burning yourself out before the workout is complete or even injuring yourself.

“Take ownership of how you’re feeling and how you are moving, but the goal is not just to move fast but move well,” he said.

Katherine Metz is one of the coaches at the gym. And like many who walk into a CrossFit gym for the first time, she wasn’t sure she’d like it or stick with it. But, 11 years later, it’s a different story.

“I tell people all the time ‘enjoy the journey,” she said. “People want to come in, and they look at the whiteboard, and they say ‘it’s 125 lbs deadlifts for a girl, and it’s pull-ups, and I don’t know.’ Don’t worry about that. Do what you can do right now. Start off slow, and then everybody has a story,” she said. “11 years later, I have a story. I could not do one pull up, and now it’s my jam.”

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