Get Smart about CrossFit

by Cyle Talley

Already regretting the over-indulgence(s) of the past few weeks? Worried about the effects on your waistline of those still yet to come? Let certified CrossFit trainer, Dustin Sargent of CrossFit Catacombs, tell you about the culture of CrossFit and why you need to consider it when making your New Year’s resolutions.

The stereotype of CrossFit is a bunch of shirtless meatheads jumping onto tall boxes and shouting really loudly. Set the record straight.

[Laughs] CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.

Say it again, but less nerdy this time.

All we’re doing is taking movements that you do every day and teaching you how to do them better. For example, many people bend over to pick something up off of the floor – a backpack, say – in a way that is slowly driving them toward back problems when they’re older, because they’re bending over, well, wrong. We teach people to use the right muscles so that they’re able to be physically active and stay physically active. Rather than doing bicep curls in front of a mirror for an hour, we’re going to do exercises and functional movements that incorporate the entire body so that you can be fitter in general, instead of just jacked.

So no meatheads?

The people who do get really jacked usually have a weight-lifting bias. Most of the people I train and know just end up looking like better versions of themselves.

CrossFit is for everyone: True or false?

Totally true. Our youngest member is 11, our oldest is 75. We vary the exercises and movements depending on a host of factors: a person’s weight, natural athleticism, any previous injuries. I’ve even heard of paraplegics in CrossFit. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who shouldn’t do it.


Everyone deserves the opportunity to live life, with all of its movements and activity, at their best.

Say I’ve been terribly indulgent over the past month, and have very little physical fitness in general. How would I get started in CrossFit?

There’d be a free intro class to show you the gym, the movements, and tell you about the philosophy of why we do what we do. After that, if we didn’t scare you too badly, you’d go through four one-on-one classes with a trainer who’d go in-depth through every movement you’d need to know for our group classes. They’d critique and help you as you learn body awareness. Then you’d join our group classes …

Whoa, whoa, whoa. You mean I don’t just show up and do whatever I want?

There’s so much more value in camaraderie and even competition of working out in group classes. Having other people makes you move a little faster and holds you more accountable to showing up, rather than plopping down $100 for a gym membership that you use once before going right back to your old habits of sitting around and playing Battlefront or whatever. The group classes are the glue of CrossFit. They’re why it works – that accountability, that support from people who are enduring the same suck you are. It’s vital. Catacombs has open gym hours on Saturday, but the 10 or 12 people that show up usually end up working out together anyway.

Is that why I hear that it’s a lifestyle as much as working out?

Totally. I mean, you drink the Kool-Aid. Gym buddies become real buddies. Your kids become friends, you go to one another’s houses. Movies, barbecues, shopping at the grocery store. It’s crazy. There are bonds forged through these crazy workouts that just translate into other pockets of people’s lives. Again, that sense of camaraderie – that’s probably the best thing about CrossFit.

Why do you do CrossFit?

Because when I’m older, I want to be able to pick up my grandkids and toss them around. A long life is only good if you can enjoy it.

What do you love about being a trainer?

Every day I get to watch people do more than they think they can do. Every class, someone is breaking through a barrier that they’ve been struggling with. There’s this guy who hasn’t been able to get a handstand pushup down. He’s had to lean against the wall to finish them. The other day, he’s just goofing off before class and he tries one and suddenly busts out a set of 10. Stuff like that happens all the time and it’s so great to get to support people as they learn and grown and excel.

Did you say handstand pushup?

Yep. Handstand pushup.

Cyle TalleyCyle Talley, normally an unrepentant Scrooge would like to wish you a Happy Festivus (Holiday, etc.). May your days be merry and bright, you bastards.


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