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Saturday, May 15, 2021

A strong community

 Barbells dropping, music blaring and friends cheering each other on through the last few repetitions of a challenging workout. This is a scene commonly found in a crossfit gym.

Russ Hollingsworth, an athlete at CrossFit X, a gym in Bellingham, said community is one of the defining qualities of crossfit.

“There’s a culture that surrounds crossfit,” Hollingsworth said. “The gyms create a family-type environment. There are lots of gyms and there are lots of different ways to get in shape, but I think people stay because of the community.”

Sara Slipper recently started at CrossFit X in January of this year in the introductory classes.

“I’ve always been really into fitness and working out. I love going to the gym and being active,” Slipper said. “I figured crossfit would be something that would make it more organized for me and I can be around people who are also into it.”

After three months, Slipper said she is already noticing significant changes in aspects of her life outside of the gym. In addition to doing crossfit, Slipper has also cut out alcohol and started going to bed earlier to ensure she is feeling her best for her workout the next day.

“It’s helped me with stress a lot,” Slipper said.  “It’s actually starting to become my favorite part of my day.”

Fellow CrossFit X athlete Michael Creed said he has experienced noticeable differences since starting his weight-loss journey with crossfit.

Crossfit athletes working out at CrossFit X Monday, April 17. // Photo by Rachel Postlewait

“I learned that doing crossfit, or any type of weight training, changes your body composition,” Creed said.

Crossfit has helped him find the motivation he was lacking when working out in standard gyms, he said.

“My focus is on staying healthy, and crossfit, for me, is the only place to exercise where I can hold myself accountable,” Creed said.

Creed and his wife also have a young son and, because of crossfit, Creed said he is more adamant about getting outside and doing activities with his family.

“It keeps our minds on staying active and teaching our son a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Joshua O’Donnell is the owner and head coach at CrossFit Iron Industry in Bellingham.

“It was a cool way to train,” O’Donnell said. “You can use crossfit to increase your overall health and wellness. It can also be this very intensive training structure for competitive athletes.”

O’Donnell said he has been doing crossfit for five years now, and has made considerable lifestyle changes to get to where he is now. While he was involved in sports and fitness for many years, a stressful desk-job in which he worked with people in crisis led to unhealthy behaviors.

O’Donnell was introduced to crossfit by a friend. From there, he re-entered the fitness world, lost 70 pounds, earned his crossfit coaching certification and began his coaching career.

“I knew I wanted to help people through similar situations that I went through,” O’Donnell said. “I think crossfit is a great conduit to connect with individuals that have other trauma going on in their lives.”

CrossFit X will be hosting a Spring into BodyFit Boot Camp beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, April 24. The camp will meet three times a week until June 1.

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