“All right. It’s 4:45! Time to warm up! Today’s workout is everyone’s favorite! Fran!!! 21-15-9! Thrusters and pull-ups!”
Four days every week, a handful of staff and students report to Eagle Rock’s Human Performance Center for an intense hour of stretching, running, lifting, jumping — and whatever else the day’s workout calls for. They’re there because pain is good, and extreme pain is extremely good. They’re here for CrossFit ERS!
Eagle Rock School (ERS) has always engaged students in a range of physical fitness activities, including swimming, running, skiing, and dancing. Physical Fitness is written into our school’s eight themes and Developing Mind, Body and Spirit, as well as Making Healthy Personal Choices are part of Eagle Rock’s 10 Commitments. While these values were established in 1993, their true relevance hasn’t been more significant than in this era of virtual relationships, childhood obesity, and school curricula that is hyper-focused on using the mind, often at the expense of the whole person.
And now an exciting element has been added to our Human Performance curriculum in the form of our designation as an official school-based CrossFit Affiliate!
What does that affiliation mean? CrossFit is a different approach to working out, with the aim of forging a broad, general and inclusive fitness. To participate in CrossFit is to “Be prepared for the unknown and the unknowable.” Every workout is different and the intention is to prepare your body for all types of physical challenges.
In the end, CrossFitters are looking to increase fitness in a truly measurable way. The workouts challenge participants to perform “constantly varied functional movements at relatively high intensity.” But an even more important component of CrossFit is the communal aspect. The act of like-minded people working out together and supporting each other through the WOD’s (Workout of the Day) has created a worldwide CrossFit community that manifests itself in each Box (CrossFit gym) on a daily basis.
Three years ago, level 1 certified CrossFit trainers and ERS staffers Jeff Liddle and – yours truly, Jesse Beightol – started bringing CrossFit principles to the ERS curriculum through our Science of Strength, High Intensity Training, and Science of Fitness courses. While each of these courses was unique, students used CrossFit and their experiences in the workouts to take a deeper look at their personal fitness and make predictions about their own future health.
Our students would study posture, flexibility, and the musculoskeletal system in a classroom setting for a time, then participate in an intense CrossFit workout that would solidify that classroom learning. That, in turn would enable students to gather real life data that they could then analyze to make sense of the theory they had just been taught. Next, they were challenged to interpret this data and make predictions about their future health.
In addition to classroom experiences, we began offering these workouts after school to students and staff interested in a workout that challenged them both physically and emotionally. Each session starts with a warm-up, mobility work, a skills clinic, the WOD, and some stretching and more mobility work.
Vidal, an Eagle Rock School graduate, said CrossFit was almost a religion to him. “It was so monumental to me. CrossFit transformed my body to become what was essential for who I wanted to be — a firefighter. It is now one of the rituals that continues to help me maintain my sanity.”
Mimi Thu, another Eagle Rock grad, agrees, saying, “CrossFit was my sanctuary. I worked on my commitment, integrity and endurance during those workouts. I never went into a workout with any hesitation.”
Another huge benefit is witnessing students and staff working together — literally side by side, — increasing the bonds between those staff members and students.
Michael Soguero, our director of professional development, says, “There’s nothing I like better than finding ways to do things alongside students. When staff and students can do something shoulder to shoulder and the playing field is leveled, both group’s benefit.”
Eagle Rock is currently working with CrossFit Estes Park to develop a connection in the local community gym. Eric, the local gym owner, consults with our fitness classes and allows our classes to use his facility. In addition, we are hoping to co-host a CrossFit Games that will bring the athletes from ERS together with those from Estes Park.
Eagle Rock graduate Marwan summed up his CrossFit experience this way:
“For me, it comes down to three things: First, you get as much out of it as you put in. To me that means I know how much effort I need to put in to get the results I want. Second, it’s not about competing with others, it’s about competing with yourself. Third, I get to take my shirt off when I do deadlifts.”
That’s a good description of what CrossFit offers. But put your shirt back on, Marwan. You know the rules!