MARSHALL - This past year or so, Karen Meister of Marshall, a runner and triathlete, was looking for an exercise regimen to improve her skills.
"I needed something more," she said.
A family friend introduced her to Mike Burgener, who is the "guru of CrossFit," she said.
Photo by Karin Elton
Fitness coach Karen Meister demonstrated a rowing machine recently at her new business, CrossFit Marshall. The workouts, which exercise the entire body, vary from session to session.
CrossFit aims to increase an athlete's strength, stamina, endurance, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, accuracy and coordination through a variety of exercises and tools such as medicine balls, jump ropes and barbells.
Meister liked the concept behind CrossFit so much she took training in Virginia to become a level 1 certified CrossFit trainer and bring the Crossfit model to the Marshall area.
"There aren't any CrossFit places around - the closest is in Mankato. There is one in Sioux Falls," she said.
CrossFit Marshall opened Jan. 6 and shares space at Lee's Tae Kwon Do on 10th Street. She hopes to grow so big that she will need to look for quarters of her own.
She is pleased with the amount of people who are interested in fitness in the Marshall area.
"I'm impressed," she said. "A lot of people have heard of CrossFit."
The training sessions are done as a group but individualized to fit the student's capabilities.
"You do the exercises at the fitness level you're at currently," Meister said.
For example, Meister said, if a student cannot do a box jump, he or she can modify the movement to stepping up onto the box or do a "high knee." Or maybe instead of 60 sit-ups, the person can start out with 30.
Meister said she does not perform the exercises with the class but walks among the students to make sure the mechanics are correct.
"You don't want to hurt the back or the knees," she said.
The session starts with a welcome, then a warm-up - "to get the blood pumping," she said, then an overview of CrossFit skills and movements, then the WOD or workout of the day, followed by a cool down. Students should then take the time to document the day's workout in their personal workout journal so they can keep track of their progress.
Team members cheer each other on and encourage each other.
"We like to make it fun," Meister said.
The athletes become a family and if a regular hasn't shown up at class, Meister will give the person a call to see if everything's all right.
"We make it a family atmosphere," she said.
In addition to overseeing the physical workout, Meister will also talk during a session about the importance of diet in a fitness regimen.
"We talk about how to fuel our bodies correctly," she said. "We talk about how hard it is to eat a proper diet."
Meister said CrossFit is for males and females of all ages. So far her training allows her to work with athletes ages 18 and older. She is heading to California this week to get further training so she can work with youngsters. Meister, who has her elementary education degree and college coaching degree as well as being a second degree black belt in tae kwon do, hopes to collaborate with Marshall Community Services or school districts to offer CrossFit training to children.
"There is an epidemic of childhood obesity," she said.
For more information, visit crossfitmarshallmn.com or her Facebook page or Twitter account.