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CrossFit of Aces is Inspiring CrossFitters of All Ages

By Pamela Sosnowski

CrossFit is one of the nation's fastest growing fitness trends, with currently over 10,000 CrossFit-affiliated gyms in the U.S. alone. Considering the high intensity and fast pace of the workout, one may wonder what it is about the regimen that keeps its devotees coming back for more. For Scott Thompson, the co-owner of CrossFit of Aces in Oak Ridge North, the answer is simple: it never gets old.

"People who do it absolutely love it," he said. "Ask any CrossFitter you meet; they'll tell you all about it! If you don't love something you just won't do it; and as soon as the initial excitement dies down, it'll become drudgery. People love doing CrossFit, so it's easy for them to be consistent. Let's be honest; it's basically a giant playground for adults. For an hour a day you get to work your tail off and have a blast. What's not to love?"

Indeed, CrossFit gyms typically have an impressive array of equipment that will work every part of the body and prevent boredom. Some of the tools that CrossFit of Aces uses include medicine balls, kettle bells, conditioning ropes, gymnastic rings, and a whole lot more. The workouts build endurance, increase strength, or improve flexibility and more. While kickboxing burns calories and weight lifting creates muscles, CrossFit delivers the benefits of just about all types of workouts, according to Thompson.

"CrossFit endeavors to be a holistic system," he said. "It aims to help people increase their physical capacity in every single domain. It's hard to emphasize how important this truly is. "Every system has its worth, yoga is wonderful, powerlifting is amazing, [and] running is great. That's why CrossFit uses each of them to help create a balanced result. Instead of people being only strong, or only fast, or only flexible, you get to be everything."

The "giant playground" isn't just for grown-ups. CrossFit of Aces offers a kid's program that gets the whole family involved in CrossFit and also offers an outlet for kids to get fit while their parents are working out. A 35-minute Pre-K class is ideal for the youngest CrossFitters and focuses on balance, agility, coordination and gymnastics while the hour-long CrossFit Kids class includes a warm-up, running, gymnastics, skill work, and even a game. Another class, Athletic Performance, helps young athletes build strength and agility. No matter a kid's age, CrossFit can counteract time spent in front of a TV or mobile device by encouraging brain activity and preventing obesity.

For adults that are new to CrossFit, they must attend the gym's CrossFit 101 program to learn what proper form is and how to use the equipment before progressing into regular classes. This way the staff ensures that they'll be learning the workout in a safe, effective, fun environment. Once they've become old pros, there are classes that focus on specific training such as CrossFit Endurance and ongoing specialty seminars.

CrossFit of Aces is a gym for everyone and all ages. For Thompson, one of the best parts of his job is receiving emails from members whose lives have transformed from taking CrossFit.

"It's hard to explain how amazing it is to see the light of hope in people's eyes," he said. "But that's really what we do; we inspire hope in our members. We help them to understand that they don't have to play it small. They can be great. And what they find out in the gym helps them to understand that and embody that daily."

All photos used in this article were taken by Gina Gallagher.
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