Students jump on Crossfit band wagon leaving FIU’s gym behind

Jorge Mendez/Contributing Writer

Photo Courtesy of Gabriel Sanchez

What’s the big deal about Crossfit? You run, you lift weights and (hopefully) lose some weight, nothing new. However, in recent years, Crossfit has become increasingly popular, transitioning from an underground guerilla workout system, to a household name.

Fitness fads normally come and go within a few years, yet Crossfit seems to only be getting bigger. Even more importantly, unlike other fads, Crossfit really seems to be penetrating the college market. It is not uncommon to see students wearing a shirt from their gym, or box, as “crossfiters” call them, around FIU’s campus.

But with memberships starting anywhere from $75 to $125 a month and there being a state of the art fitness facility right on campus, just what type of students are really opting to jump on the Crossfit bandwagon?

To many, paying extra money for a gym membership doesn’t make much sense, especially when FIU’s Recreation Center facilities are on par with just about any other private gym. With a wide array of cardio and resistance machines, free weights, basketball and racquetball courts, as well as a full schedule of instructor led classes, such as spinning and aerobics, every member of the FIU family has something to keep them fit.

Nevertheless, it is becoming more and more apparent that something is missing. When asked about why they would rather pay for a Crossfit membership rather than use the FIU gym, the answer was simple: “I don’t necessarily dislike anything about the REC Center, I’d just rather have really loud music and a coach screaming in my face while I workout for some reason,” answered sophomore Greyceli Marin-Dragonetti, 19.

The “in your face” nature of Crossfit is evident from the moment one steps foot into a Crossfit box. There are no mirrors, no fancy equipment and in many cases, no air conditioning. What you will find is a room full of sweaty people smiling and talking about their new PR (personal record), comparing bloody hands and acting very differently than one would expect to see at a normal gym.

Because of the way the workouts are structured, those working out are also competing with those around them. “I may not be speaking for everyone when I say this, but it’s made me really competitive.

If I ever feel like I didn’t do so well on a workout, I’m just really hard on myself about it. Crossfit has created the inevitable, almost obsessive, drive to do better,” added Marin-Dragonetti. This competition also seems to have another benefit. Apart from creating rivalries, it also brings the participants closer together.

“I feel that Crossfit is a much more personal experience than a regular gym. Everyone knows each other, while in the FIU gym, especially if you have to go by yourself, you can feel out of place. Crossfit is more like family,” said junior Maggie Ycazza Sevilla. When it comes down to it, it is the “Crossfit atmosphere” that seems to be making FIU students, and people in general, make the switch.

There are those students, however, who feel it unnecessary to leave FIU’s campus in order to stay fit.

“Between classes, work and everything else going on, I really don’t have time to join a Crossfit gym. I can find good workouts online and I can do them by myself, either at home or the FIU gym,” says Dimitri Alexander, a sophomore business major.

The issue of convenience, be it financial or otherwise, seems to be a pivotal role in the decision process.

Sophomore Juliana Morales says, “The only reason I think I actually decided to join was because I got a discount for signing up with my boyfriend.” However, when asked if she would have used the FIU REC Center had she not joined her box, she answered, “probably not, I guess I’d have a hard time knowing what to do.”

In the end, there is no real answer as to what type of student would rather join a Crossfit box. For some, it offers the guided challenge that a regular gym fails to deliver, and for others, it is just another fad.

However, only one thing is for certain, choice is something that never hurt anyone, especially when dealing with something as difficult as staying fit during the college years.

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