Training trends: Crossfit

May 6, 2014 | 11 a.m.

Sports | Michael Urch

Ali Eickhoff and Matt Stock may not be on any of Bethel’s sport teams, but that doesn’t keep them from competing and staying in shape. In fact, they would probably have more success with handstand pushups, rope climbing and Olympic lifting than anyone else on campus, thanks to their involvement with CrossFit.

CrossFit is a fitness program designed to develop multiple areas of physical fitness, including balance, coordination, agility, accuracy, strength, flexibility, endurance, stamina, power and cardio. Attending a “workout of the day” only takes an hour.

Unlike sports-oriented training that focuses on preparing an athlete to peak at a specific time in his or her season, CrossFit is designed to prepare people to be more effective in everyday routines.

Many Bethel athletes use CrossFit workouts at the beginning of their off-season. “It doesn’t allow time for you to be specific for your sport,” said assistant football coach Rick Meyer. “Everything has its place, as long as it is structured correctly. As long as someone has excitement and energy for something, it’s right for them."

In seasonal training, he uses similar principles to CrossFit, but he varies the exercises less frequently, focusing on peaking athletes in specific skills for a specific season.

Stock and Eickhoff both played sports in high school and are big supporters of CrossFit. They're excited about the physical progress they have seen in themselves, as well as the improvement they have seen in their friends.

“I don’t have as much shoulder pain or knee pain as I used to,” Stock said. “You are fixing your technique because you have people there that are trained to help you.”

Stock doesn’t just do CrossFit for personal progress. He is also interested in CrossFit competitions like the CrossFit Games, which takes any competitor from anywhere. Stock recently competed in the CrossFit Open, the first round of the CrossFit Games, placing 286 out of more than 8,500 men in the north-central region.

“I gear more toward the competitive side,” Stock said.

CrossFit has benefits beyond physical fitness. It also helps to boost confidence, provide community and give people a positive feeling.

“Crossfit is different from other fitness programs, because you are in a community,” Eickhoff said. “The community is a huge part of it for me.”

Eickhoff and Stock both frequent Timberwolf CrossFit North, a gym on Cleveland Avenue in Roseville. Timberwolf opened its Roseville doors in October. It is less than 10 minutes from campus, and it offers student discounts.

Tony Koens, gym owner, also plans to offer additional student deals in the fall.

“I have been a personal trainer and sports performance coach for athletes ranging from high school to professionals and Olympians,” Koens said. “I think our coaching staff is one of the best in the state.”    

Although joining a gym is intimidating for many, CrossFit gyms strive for positive, welcoming atmospheres. According to Eickhoff, it does not matter who you are or what level you are at, everyone still wants to cheer for you to get a little bit better.

“Don’t be intimidated to come out. We work hard and we have fun,” Koen said.

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