Health & Science

Despite Injury Concerns, CrossFit Remains Popular Across Greater Houston

One expert worries that a breakdown in form can lead to serious injury. Devotees say that you just need to keep “an open mind.”

Nearly a thousand spectators paid to watch 400 people workout in Katy.

That’s right–fans gathered earlier this month to cheer on participants who competed in CrossFit — an exercise/training regimen that’s growing in popularity.

And now there’s a strong movement of enthusiasts in the Houston-area.

It’s high-intensity — packed with quick power-lifting, jumping over boxes, swinging above gymnastics bars – all part of a training workout known as, CrossFit.

The recent event at Katy’s Merrell Center featured ‘two-person’ teams competing in a multitude of heats, divided into skill-levels of “pro-intermediate-and scaled” for both men and women.

Pro competitor Chris Kvistad has done Crossfit for over three years.

“It all started just to kinda meet people,” says Kvistad. “It’s an environment where people aren’t running around with earbuds in, so you can actually have a conversation, build a community, get to know people – new to the city, so it was an opportunity for me just to get involved.”

And that concept of building a community resonates throughout CrossFit.

Leah Kay is the co-owner of gym that helped host the event. She says it’s more than just ‘a workout.’

“What CrossFit means to most people is a community,” Kay says. “It’s a gym, generally/obviously – a place where they can go and be around like-minded people and set goals and accomplish them in a really nice environment.”

The intense regimen also creates an environment that can pose potential risks, because CrossFit involves performing vigorous exercises at a very rapid pace without much recovery time.

Dr. Melissa Markofski is a health and human performance professor at the University of Houston.

“This is why I think it is important that people find a gym or a ‘box,’ as they’re known, when it’s a CrossFit-specific location that they’re comfortable with,” Dr. Markofski says. “People should be pushed to improve of course, but not pushed to the point of a breakdown in form, because this is where risk of injury is extremely great.”

A new study published in Frontiers in Physiology found that consecutive CrossFit workouts suppressed part of the body’s immune system.

Gym owner Kay defends the training.

“Keep an open mind. Don’t be scared, you’re going to have coaches who are going to lead you through things and teach you how to do it, ” Kay says. “Also you’ll have to take care of your body. So you need to eat well. You need to drink plenty of water. You need to treat your body the way it should be treated – just like you would with any other sport or physical endeavor.”

Besides the toll these workouts can take on a person’s body, it can also take a toll on the wallet – with some training packages costing upwards of $200 a month.

But CrossFitter Kvistad has no concern with the price.

“I could be going out, spending just as much money downtown in the city,” admits Kvistad. “Or I can really put it in myself to make myself better mentally, physically, emotionally – so that’s the way I think of it as: it’s an investment in me.”

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

Morning News Anchor

A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While the state's governor nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy, Eddie had an extreme passion for broadcast media, particularly...

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