Sandy Gay has always been proactive when it comes to her health. Combining nutritious eating habits with an active lifestyle always worked to keep her body and mind at a healthy balance.
But recently she began noticing her efforts weren't working as well. Now in her early 50s, she found her regular treadmill routine was no longer effective at toning the areas age was targeting.
"I just wanted to get into my old jeans," Sandy admitted.
She and her husband began looking for a fitness alternative they could do together, and visited several local gyms to find the right fit. Sandy was instantly impressed with CrossFit Spring Hill and Jesse Durrum, an owner and professional trainer, who gave her a rundown of their system.
"It was definitely out of our comfort zone," Sandy said. "We decided to give it a try."
After two private sessions to build their understanding of the system, the Gays were ready to join the classes. Customizing their plan to their individual needs, they started working out three times a week.
Sandy was a bit apprehensive in the beginning because of the perceived intensity of the program.
"Many were younger than us," Sandy remembered. But soon they were completing the workouts alongside the rest of the group.
After six months, Sandy is fitting into her old clothes and her self-esteem is at an all-time high. Her husband lost 20 pounds.
Jesse Durrum is quick to point out that if you don't take control of your own health, no one will.
He and his wife, Natalie, became believers in CrossFit, a fitness system that blends Olympic training, powerlifting and gymnastics with all body workouts. It focuses on a balance of fitness in a healthy lifestyle.
The Durrums opened Crossfit Spring Hill off Mariner Boulevard more two years ago after becoming convinced the system works. Different from a traditional gym environment, Crossfit centers on working specific areas of the body to build strength, endurance, and stamina.
"You won't walk into Crossfit and see fitness machines lining the walls," Durrum said. The facility resembles a gymnastics training gym, with rings hanging from the ceiling, two climbing ropes and a supply of dumbbells, Olympic barbells, tires and steps.
A whiteboard tracks each member's progress, not to intimidate but to motivate. A lack of intimidation is the foundation of this fitness system.
Everyone completes the warm-up and Workout of the Day - or WOD - at their own pace.
"The scaling of the workout happens on a day to day basis," said CrossFit trainer and co-owner John Sivon. "Working in a group allows for a certain amount of accountability."
Jesse and Natalie Durrum became hooked on CrossFit, turning their garage into a personal workout space.
They eventually got the idea to open a CrossFit in Spring Hill, which moved recently from Hearth Road to Cambord Street, inside the Sunshine Grove Road Industrial Park.
The new facility is much bigger, Jesse Durrum explained, with an enclosed room for the children who accompany their parents during group sessions. CrossFit Spring Hill offers scheduled classes seven days a week that combine warm-ups and WODs that change daily.
The WODs combine weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettleball training, plyometrics, rowing and medicine ball training.
Several trainers are available during each session, giving each client the security of a personal trainer without the financial investment.
Each WOD can be customized to the individual. Clients come into the Box, the term of the gym, and complete the prescribed workout.
"They can either do everything that is prescribed or scale it to their ability," Durrum said.
For example, a 25-year-old athlete and a 70-year-old retiree do the same workouts, just customized to their ability level.
Few would argue with the fact that taking control of one's health should be at the top of every priority list. Yet muddling through unending information about miracle diets and accelerated fitness plans can be overwhelming and counterproductive.
CrossFit offers a well-rounded system, adaptable to any age or fitness level.
"It offers something for everyone," Durrum said.
CrossFit Spring Hill will be supporting Barbells for Boobs, a nonprofit organization that provides funding to pay for breast cancer detection services for those who don't qualitfy for other assistance, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 26.