By: JOSEPH PIEPER
KENNESAW, Ga. — CrossFit has taken the world of fitness by storm in recent years with its specialized strength and conditioning programs. Local CrossFit gym owner, Shane Bonilla, credits his gym’s success to the growing group atmosphere.
“They’re calling it like the new church,” Bonilla said. “People get to know each other so well after they sweat together, endure pain together, and bleed together.
“You’ve got a lot of other group training stuff out there, but the thing with CrossFit is they just become so close, so tight-knit. I’ve done training for a long time and the key is sustainability.”
CrossFit has many participants who are very excited about it, like Nick Perez, a member of Bonilla’s CrossFit III gym. Perez has been doing CrossFit since 2013, after Bonilla asked him to join his gym, and he has improved not only his physical fitness, but as well as his confidence levels.
“When I started CrossFit, I was 300 pounds and completely out of shape,” Perez said. “But the lowest I’ve weighed was in February of 2015, I was at 248.”
“This was a month after we had done a gym weight loss challenge called ‘Whole-Thirty,’ which is a very strict diet plan for 30 days. Through doing this challenge, Perez was able to lose 16 pounds of body fat, and gain a few pounds of muscle.
Not only has Perez lost a lot of weight, but his strength has also greatly increased. He currently has the highest maximum dead lift weight at his gym. Perez finds it incredibly rewarding to set a goal and watch it be achieved over time with hard work and persistence. In the end, fitness goals are about becoming our best self, and being better than we were yesterday.
“My dead lift max used to be somewhere in the 200 range,” Perez said. “But my max after doing CrossFit for a while went up to 500 pounds.”
In addition to lifting weights, CrossFit workouts include a dynamic warm up, plyometric exercises and cardio.
“CrossFit’s mantra is constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,” Bonilla said. “So constantly varied means your body never gets used to it, high intensity is kind of the key and that’s relative — so when you come your intensity now is going to be different than even your intensity from three months from now.”
Bonilla explained that functional movements mean doing movements that one naturally does in the real world: push, pull, press, climb, and run. There might not always be machines in a CrossFit gym because their training methods and philosophies are designed to enhance each individual’s body structure while also enhancing response time, power and diet strategies.
Perez’s dedication and perseverance has impressed Bonilla over time. He has seen him come in consistently even when he is not feeling at his best.
“He is an awesome guy that has found his place with what we do,” Bonilla said. “He is strong as hell and he continues to work hard despite it not being the easiest thing for him naturally.” Bonilla admires his determination and stick-to-it-ness.
Like Bonilla, Perez enjoys the community aspect of CrossFit and how everyone cheers each other on in order to reach their ultimate capacity and individual goals.
“That was how I became friends with them,” Perez said. “We were all in it together, so that kind of bonded us.”
Perez finds it easier to do his personal best when he has people around him rooting and cheering him on.
This team atmosphere is what keeps many people coming back to CrossFit, but it still demands a high level of commitment.
“I would say anybody could do CrossFit but it’s not for everybody,” Bonilla said. “If you miss a day when you’re usually there, you’re going to get calls, you’re going to get texts, or we even video call people in the middle of class asking where they are sometimes.”