Exercise programs suffer from fad status. Once the novelty runs its course, people go looking for the next big thing. It’s rare to find a program that makes it more than a couple of years. And the No. 1 reason these programs don’t have staying power comes down to one thing — enjoyment.
“The main secret is you have to like what you’re doing or you won’t stay with it,” said Terry Gruel, owner of Indiana Pit. Gruel has been offering CrossPit fitness training at his facility for nearly two years, and there is no indication that it’s slowing down. In fact, it’s warming up for the holidays.
CrossPit is one of a handful of “extreme” or “hardcore” workouts that led the latest trend in fitness. But unlike some of its siblings, CrossPit thrives on variety. It’s rare to perform the same workout twice in a month.
“We try to keep things fresh,” said Gruel. “All of the instructors work at finding new things to do. I encourage everyone to think on their own. Our advantage is that the workout is constantly changing. We don’t have ‘arms Monday,’ or ‘legs Wednesday’ or ‘shoulders Friday.’ My only rule is just make sure its safe.”
Safety is paramount in any exercise program. Those seeking to get fit should consult their physician first if regular exercise has not been a part of their lifestyle. And once they hit the mat, it pays to work at a reasonable pace. That is another part of CrossPit that makes the program attractive for people of all backgrounds and levels of physical fitness. It is not a high-pressure environment.
“Even though it’s an extreme class, we don’t yell at you or push you with intimidation,” said Gruel. “People could have any number of physical problems or limitations, and they need to be able to work at their pace, safely. If we don’t take that into consideration, we’re not looking out for their well-being.
“What happens is people, once they’ve been here a little while, start to get competitive with themselves. People come back for the challenge. Just when you think you have something mastered, we add something to it.”
I started working out with the crew at Indiana Pit a year ago in response to a challenge from a good friend. I had quit smoking seven months earlier, and as can be expected, I gained some weight. I was out of shape. Even the thought of doing 10 consecutive push-ups was daunting.
CrossPit was a great choice for me. Even though I haven’t been able to work out nearly as often as I’d like, my fitness level has exceeded my expectations. Now, doing 80 consecutive push-ups is a reasonable goal (I can even manage a one-armed push-up or two). My physical endurance is greater. And I feel better about myself every time I attend a class.
What particularly attracts me to CrossPit is how it works for people at all levels of physical fitness. There are people of all ages in the classes, and everyone is working at a level that they can handle and enjoy. Gruel and his instructors are excellent at developing camaraderie among the students.
And it really is different every time. There is no rut to fall into. I’ve never been bored or frustrated. One night might feature a lot of work with a punching bag. The next might push you to the limit with a variety of calisthenics. And another workout might have you flipping tractor tires or lugging around a wheelbarrow full of sandbags. You don’t know until you hit the door. And that’s part of the fun.
So, why not join me at Indiana Pit? Gruel is offering a special rate now through the end of the year for those looking to get fit for the holidays or even to get a jump-start on some new year’s resolutions. Anyone who signs up for classes between now and Dec. 31 can get two months for the price of one.
Classes are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:15 p.m.-8:15 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:45 p.m.-6:45 p.m. There also are morning classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. The cost is $69 a month for two classes a week or $89 a month for unlimited classes.
Indiana Pit is located at 2140 N. Plate St. For additional information, visit www.indianapit.com.