Last updated: December 31. 2013 12:26AM - 2361 Views
By Sara Pokorny Weekender Staff Writer

Photos by Michele Kordek PhotographyCrossFit is a fitness methodology that employs constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement, such as the various types of exercises pictured here.
Photos by Michele Kordek PhotographyCrossFit is a fitness methodology that employs constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement, such as the various types of exercises pictured here.
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NEPA CrossFit: 180 Courtright St., Wilkes-Barre. 570.579.3544, nepacrossfit.com. NEPA CrossFit is offering a free month in January to new clients.

Interested in CrossFit but not sure what to expect? Here are some sample workouts:

• Workout No. 1: As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) in 15 mins: 5 kettlebell swings, 10 box jumps, 15 wallballs

• Workout No. 2: 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats, 100 pullups, broken up in any way, for time

• Workout No. 3: 21-15-9 reps, for time: ground to overhead with barbell, burpees

* All weights and movements are scaled for the individual.

As the days go on, people have been hearing about it more and more. Some love it, some hate it, most don’t seem to quite understand it, but whether you’re on CrossFit’s side or not, there’s no denying that the workout program is gaining steam and gathering more and more attention. One local gym, NEPA CrossFit, has been around since 2010, and it just recently took a step towards what owner Brennan Morton calls revolutionizing the fitness methodology.

NEPA CrossFit recently moved from an area of 1,800 square feet to one of 24,000 square feet of usable space, bringing with it a fitness program that allows clients to do something few, if any, other CrossFit gyms have available.

“We’ve now blended a traditional gym setting with CrossFit,” Morton said. “Our clients can come in, do the workout of the day in a class, but then after that hang around and work on whatever they like.”

Typically, those who CrossFit spend about an hour at the gym, doing the WOD, or workout of the day, in an organized class. NEPA CrossFit offers 10 such classes per day, but from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., the other parts of the gym are open to clients to do what they please.

Thanks to the generous space the gym now inhabits, there is plenty of new equipment to facilitate this. There’s now 124 feet of gymnastics rigging that over 40 people can work out on at the same time, and for use any time there’s a practice rig with gymnastics rings, ropes, and pull-up bars, as well as kettlebells, medicine balls, rowers, tires, treadmills, and Airdyne bikes.

There’s also quite a bit for those who are into powerlifting or Olympic lifting. In the Yard Barbell Club, a separate area on an upper deck of the gym, there are three heavy duty squat racks with adjustable safeties, two deadlift platforms with band pegs, a trap bar, dumbbells in increments from five to 125 pounds, a football bar, a safety squat bar, a reverse hyper, and four competition Olympic lifting platforms with competition plates.

It’s absolutely a dream come true for Morton and the other coaches at NEPA CrossFit, one that’s been two years in the making.

“The coaches had a dream about what this place should look like; 1,800 square feet simply wasn’t enough,” Morton said. “We could do a great class with a client, but then we’d ask them to go above and beyond, to practice certain skills, but where were they going to do it? We wanted to be sure that everyone could take their fitness to the next level if they wanted to.”

After looking at a dozen spaces over the course of a year and a half, the facility on Courtright Street in Wilkes-Barre fell into their laps, as a CrossFit client knew the groundskeeper there and suggested the building as a possible space.

They opened up in the new space earlier this month and are offering new clients a free month in January so they can come in and see what CrossFit is all about.

“Like anything, you should be able to shop around and try things out to see what you’re comfortable with, and we want people to come in here and give it a shot,” Morton said. “We have a lot more to offer now, and we’re excited to do it.”

Morton acknowledged the bad press CrossFit as a whole has been getting, and he said he’s not entirely surprised, pointing out that, though few, there are some gyms out there that aren’t getting it quite right.

“The thing about CrossFit is that it’s not a franchise, like McDonald’s, where at every one you go to you’re getting the same thing,” Morton noted. “I’ve been to CrossFits all over the country, and no one does it the exact same way. It’s cool, because it’s an affiliation. It’s a bunch of independent business owners just sharing a common name.

“That being said, you hear reports like, ‘CrossFit is dangerous, CrossFit is this and that,’ and, yes, inherently every system is dangerous when someone takes advantage of it, when someone’s not highly certified or not putting the priorities where it should be,” Morton continued.

“People get this misconception that CrossFit is this psychotic, weird, throw your body around in reckless abandon thing. It’s not like that at all, not when you do it properly, and that’s what we do here. We have the most highly certified coaches on the East Coast, honestly. If you look at our accolades… we sent a team to regionals, I went to regionals as an athlete. One of our coaches, Kevin Evans, is going to junior nationals in February to basically try out for the Olympics. We have enough training between the coaches, and now more than ever the best equipment, to send people on to that higher level. We travel all around the country and go to certifications every year. That for us is the priority, and it always has been.”

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