Although CrossFit seems like a relatively new fitness trend, it's actually been 17 years since it was developed by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai as a way for athletes to cross-train. There are now an estimated 13,000 CrossFit-affiliated gyms worldwide, with half of them in the U.S. One of these is CrossFit 781 which has been bringing the exercise program, as well as a sense of camaraderie and fun, to the South Shore area since 2013.
"CrossFit is a general physical preparedness strength and conditioning program," Eric Siegel, the facility's head coach, said. "We want athletes to be ready for the unknown and unknowable. We use a wide range of functional exercises and equipment including, but not limited to, push-ups, pull-ups, squatting, running, jumping, rowing, kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls and barbells. The movement selection changes every day. This variety performed at an appropriate level of high intensity creates a broad base of well rounded fitness."
CrossFit just isn't for aspiring Olympians, however. The gym's philosophy is that anyone, whether they're a couch potato or a marathon runner, will see results and get in shape with other like-minded people by joining.
"CrossFit is infinitely modifiable," Siegel said. "It can be used as a primary fitness program to help individuals be well-rounded athletes, ready for whatever challenges life my throw at them, or it may serve as cross training for athletes competing in other sports to bring up lagging areas."
To help get newbies acclimated to the routine, equipment, and terminology, CrossFit 781 offers an "On Ramp" program suitable for all levels. They also have classes just for women and can provide one-on-one training. Individual programming is also available specifically for individuals with special needs such as those recovering from an injury or training for a specific sport. No matter what class CrossFitters opt for, they usually end up making several friends in the people-oriented, supportive gym.
Because eating right is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, the gym also offers, at an additional cost, nutritional coaching. While other programs may try to sell supplements or protein shakes, CrossFit 781's teaches members how to eat real food and meals prepared with healthy ingredients, delivering an understanding of macro- and micro-nutrients and how they impact the body.
Based in East Weymouth, the gym encompasses 6,000 square feet of open space in its new building and features a bar, lounge area, and plenty of parking. The first class is free, and several flexible monthly memberships suit everyone's schedule and budget.
Siegel's fellow coaches share his enthusiasm not just for CrossFit, but for life and making a positive impact in other people's lives. Siegel himself admits that he loves his job so much that even a lottery win would not entice him to quit.
"I love helping people achieve things they never thought possible," he said. "CrossFit is the most fun way to get in the best shape of your life."