By Sarah Mansheim
A new place to work out has opened in downtown Lewisburg, but don’t expect to see treadmills, elliptical machines or weight machines at Country Roads Crossfit.
According to Country Roads Crossfit coach Laura Lee, Crossfit workouts are a combination of gymnastic moves, Olympic weight lifting and aerobic exercise, all designed to get the body into peak shape. Country Roads Crossfit, formerly located at Greenbrier Valley Fitness, has moved into the building that recently housed The Spring on Rt. 219. The large, log structure provides a great space for the Crossfit “box,” a frame-like apparatus Crossfitters use in their workouts, large wooden cubes exercisers use for jumps, weightlifting bars and weights and several rowing machines. Large flat screen televisions line the walls displaying the WOD (Crossfit speak for “workout of the day”), where Lee’s partner, Bimbo Coles, can often be found, staring intently at one of the screens, entering information and statistics for all its members.
Crossfit came to Greenbrier County back in 2011, and Lee and Coles have been involved since the beginning. Coles founded Country Roads Crossfit in December 2011; earlier in the year Lee had started doing an earlier version of Crossfit with Coles called BAM (Bad A– Mamas) in order to train for a Spartan Race, an outdoor obstacle race, because she’d heard Crossfit would help her increase her cardio endurance.
“I saw results really quickly,” says Lee. Soon, she and Coles were doing little else but Crossfit at the gym, and they say anyone can do Crossfit.
“It is a constantly varied, intense workout, but any level (of athlete) can do it,” says Lee.
How does one start doing Crossfit?
“Just come,” says Coles. “You don’t have to be an elite athlete to do Crossfit.”
That can be a bit of an eye roller coming from a former NBA player, but Coles insists that members of all fitness levels work out at Country Roads Crossfit.
Coles was already in shape when he started doing Crossfit, but he says his gym workouts were leaving him unsatisfied. “I was working out by myself, and I was getting bored; I had always been part of a team. Then, I ran into a buddy of mine from Charleston, Lee Stanford, and he looked great, so I asked him what he was doing. He told me about Crossfit. I looked it up online and started doing the exercises on the side at the gym,” says Coles. Soon, he was hooked, and a year later, he got his Crossfit instructor certification.
“Crossfit is great,” he says. “You feel like you’re part of a team again. You want everybody to good and succeed and they want that for you, too.”
As Coles leads a group of women through some weight lifting warm ups in the morning class, he notes how the functionality of the class can be used in real life situations.
“When I was younger, and I had to move furniture, I’d do it like this,” he says, bending straight down to the floor, legs locked straight. “I’d end up hurting my back. Now, if I have to move a couch, I know how to position myself, like I’m going down to do a dead lift, and I don’t get hurt,” he says as he shows the proper, squatting lifting position. “Crossfit is useful because you use it in your everyday life.”
Country Roads Crossfit is open Monday through Saturday. Coles and Lee recommend beginning Crossfitters come to the 8:30 a.m. class, but emphasize that newcomers are welcome at any time.
Coles is especially excited to introduce the Wood McCue Scholarship Fund. He says McCue was a physical therapist who gave every student athlete in Greenbrier county his services for free.
“Wood McCue was so huge in my success, and I want to do the same thing for area kids,” says Coles. The scholarship fund will allow any child in Greenbrier County middle schools and high schools who play sports to work out at Country Roads Crossfit for $2 a session. The nominal fee will help cover the cost of WiFi in the building.
They also offer family memberships and discounts for military, police and fire department personnel.
Country Roads Crossfit’s location at The Spring is temporary–the nonprofit company that owns the building and the property is planning to build a structure behind The Spring, and upon completion, Country Roads Crossfit will move back there. Other plans for The Spring property include a farmers market and other health-friendly activities and shopping in the northeast end of downtown.
“Then,” Coles jokes, “When you’re finished being healthy, you can walk over to The Asylum (located next door) and have a beer and a burger.”
Class schedules are available online at www.countryroadscrossfit.com and on their Facebook page.