Crossfit instructor Debbie Jarrold puts reporter Emily Prain through her paces at a fitness class at Crossfit in Collins Street East Bundaberg.
Crossfit instructor Debbie Jarrold puts reporter Emily Prain through her paces at a fitness class at Crossfit in Collins Street East Bundaberg. Mike Knott

IT IS a place where egos are left at the door, fitness is the common goal, pain is inevitable, and the thought of vomiting or crying is not uncommon - but quitting is not negotiable.

Bundaberg, welcome to CrossFit.

From what started as a strength and conditioning program for training the United States armed forces has grown in popularity and evolved into a wide-spread fitness culture which pushes even the elite to their limits.

"CrossFit is functional movement performed at high intensity," CrossFit Bundaberg co-owner Debbie Jarrold said.

"Everything we do is functional - we lift things, pull things, push things, we jump, we run."

Miss Jarrold and her partner, Alec Munn, have been running the classes for almost three years on Collins St, in East Bundaberg, at a place known as "the box", which is a universal term given for a CrossFit gym.

"We are the only CrossFit affiliate in Bundaberg," Miss Jarrold said.

Unlike what you might find in your average gym, you will not see mirrors or machines in "the box"- instead you will be met with basic equipment including barbells, medicine balls, boxes and a pull-up press.

CrossFitters arrive each class to be met with a WOD, a CrossFit term for "workout of the day".

"Every single day there is a new WOD," Miss Jarrold said.

The workouts are not for the faint hearted, but the WODs are inclusive for all ages and abilities.

"We've got 70 year olds that come and do the WODs, and we've got 16 year olds," she said.

"Everything can be scaled right back.

"Anybody can do CrossFit - it's only as intense as you make it."

Some have likened the CrossFit revolution as similar to that of a cult, a labelling Miss Jarrold isn't too quick to dismiss.

"If it's a cult, it's a good one to belong to," she said with a laugh.

"It's very friendly. It's a great community full of fit and healthy people.

"It is like a cult but without the creepy leader."

But Miss Jarrold said it's the extraordinary mental toughness and sense of achievement which had CrossFitters coming back.

"It's really the only sport where the last person to finish gets the biggest cheer," Miss Jarrold said.

"The mental toughness to get through the WODs is so transferable to life."

Self-confessed CrossFit addict, Melinda Bradford, says the fitness regimen is more than just a high intensity workout.

"It's about the community. Everyone supports and encourages each other to push themselves to be stronger, fitter and healthier," she said.

"You leave the box feeling sore, exhausted, relieved, but proud and accomplished. It's invigorating and becomes addictive."

CrossFit Bundaberg will be launching a new beginners program on Monday. For more information on the program or class times, call 0414 723 614. Alternatively, visit www.crossfitbundaberg.com.au.

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NewsMail reporter gets a taste of CrossFit

When I first heard about the latest fitness craze which seems to have turned most of my friends into kettlebell pulling, perfectly squatting goddesses, I really wanted to know what this CrossFit business was all about.

I'll be the first to admit, I had my suspicions.

They seemed to have their own language and I could never understand why those who went along came back with this seemingly instant addiction to pain.

Turning up to "the box" yesterday morning, it was fair to say I was a little apprehensive.

Just listening to the pre-workout chatter about the poor CrossFitter who lost the contents of her stomach during a session the night before didn't do much to settle my nerves - or my belly.

But, before I knew it, we were off on a 25 minute, as-many-rounds-as-possible workout doing box jumps, kettlebell pulls, chin-ups, push-ups and lunges.

I'm not going to lie, there were times I could feel my breakfast granola swimming around my stomach.

There was also a time when I thought pre-existing muscle tightness was enough to get me out of doing what felt like a marathon of lunges.

But then, as if the CrossFit gods were giving me a sign, I saw the words "tantrum penalty - 600m run" scribbled on the whiteboard.

Needless to say I shut my mouth and kept on CrossFitting.

And am I glad I did.

As my instructor Debbie said to me, your mind gives up long before your body needs to.

The enormous feeling of pride and accomplishment when you collapse with exhaustion at the end, and knowing you are one step closer to achieving your fitness goals, is worth every single one of those lunges.

The beginners program starts next week - see you all there.



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