First Posted: 6/3/2013
In a building tucked behind a complex on Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, everyday people come to lift, run, sweat, push themselves to the limit, and whip their bodies into the healthiest shape they possibly can be.
Some call it crazy. Some don’t get it. But step one foot inside the NEPA CrossFit gym and the reason people put themselves through it becomes a no-brainer.
CrossFit, a method of exercise that combines aerobic exercise, body weight exercise, gymnastics, and Olympic weight lifting, is also a lot of hard work. Just ask any of the team members who are going to find themselves at the CrossFit Mid Atlantic Regionals in Maryland this weekend.
Those competing against teams from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina are: NEPA CrossFit Coaches Kyle Monaghan, Mike Hurley, and Kevin Evans and clients Kevin Eovitch, Sarah Plaviak, Jacki Lukas, Julie Grilz, and Catie Royko, as well as CrossFit coach and owner Brennan Morton. They will be assisted by their teammate Brent Homcha, who qualified during competition but is unable to compete.
“It’s a really big accomplishment for our gym because we are one of the smaller gyms,” said Lukas, who has been doing CrossFit for two and a half years.
The local team competed in a Crossfit Open recently to see where they ranked among the CrossFits in the nation. They soon found themselves in 10th place, beating out the majority of the over 200 teams that are in the region. To qualify for regionals, the athletes had to do one workout per week over five weeks, never knowing what they would be doing until the last minute.
“It was a pretty high-pressure situation,” Lukas said. “We were ready for it to be over.”
This is the second go-round for Morton, who captured 28th place out of 6,000 men in his last regional run. Afterwards, he advanced on to finish 429th out of an incredible 73,000 men who competed worldwide.
Among the group is also Kevin “Prodigy” Evans, a 16-year-old who is the youngest coach at NEPA CrossFit, currently ranked as the fittest teen in the world.
If they are one of the top three out of the 30 teams they’ll compete against at regionals, they’ll move on to the final competition in California in July.
No matter how far the NEPA CrossFit members, who have never sent a team until this year, go, they’re just happy for the opportunity.
“It’s amazing to even be able to compete with the best of the best,” Lukas said. “We’re going to be competing with teams that train solely for this purpose and here we are, just regular people with jobs who found a lifestyle they love and are really pushing ourselves. It’s great to just be there and have everyone cheering each other on.”
And that’s just one appeal of the exercise method: the support it brings.
“That’s the one thing with our gym – we are seriously a family,” Lukas said. “I depend on these people for everything, for motivation during my workout, for life advice; they’re some of the greatest friends I ever met.”
There are plenty more perks to CrossFit, a program where workouts are explained every single day and athletes almost never do the same one twice.
“It’s a time-effective, convenient workout program,” Morton said. “It seems that people who would normally never go to a gym love CrossFit.”
“We’re a community for healthy living and good fitness, and people really respond to that.”
Common CrossFit terms
Getting into CrossFit can be a little overwhelming at first, as the exercise has its own language, but don’t get discourged. Here we explain some common terms you’ll hear in the box.
WOD: Workout of the Day
Box: Term used to describe the gym itself.
Rack position: Bar resting on your collar bone and front shoulder, supported by your hands.
Double unders: A jump roping skill where the rope makes two revolutions during one jump.
Burpee: A move in which you drop to the ground, do a pushup, jump into a squat, and then jump up.
Power clean: Barbell begins on the ground and ends in the rack position.
Box jump: A vertical jump up onto a box.