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Center for Health & Fitness Offering New Fitness Class That Caters To All Ages

| Date Posted: 2/1/2012


CrossFit instructor Jeff Moody II helps a participant with a CrossFit routine at the FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness-Pinehurst.

PINEHURST- It is well into the new year; resolutions have either been stuck with or broken. Lines at the gym have grown shorter, and you find yourself wondering what it will take to regain your motivation.

The FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness-Pinehurst is now offering CrossFit, a new fitness class that may help you regain your motivation while participating in a challenging and fun workout, all in around 30 minutes.

Introduced shortly after Christmas, CrossFit, a workout program originally created for police and military training, is offered at the fitness center for individuals with all different backgrounds, all ages, all sizes and all abilities. Because of its unique workout routines that change daily, CrossFit has already become popular at the center.

According to Chris Garbark, a FirstHealth personal trainer and certified CrossFit coach, CrossFit delivers a fitness routine that specializes in not specializing.

“We use the analogy of how runners specialize in running as their fitness routine,” Garbark says. “CrossFit doesn’t specialize in anything. It isn’t geared to a specific certification. CrossFit works for all types.”

And that is exactly how CrossFit participants see it. “You don’t have to be an athlete or a fitness buff,” says Cindy Laton, health educator for FirstHealth’s Community Health Services program. “CrossFit is just another way for people to become active and stay active.”

CrossFit incorporates kettlebells and TRX, two of the most popular strength-training classes at FirstHealth, into the constantly changing CrossFit routine. It also uses techniques such as Olympic lifting, gymnastics and cardio to provide a full workout in just 30 minutes.

A new workout routine is scheduled daily. Or, as Garbark explains, one day participants will complete box jumps and pull-ups, one day they will row or complete sumo dead lifts, and one day they will take a day off.  

“Your body won’t know what is happening, but that is a good thing, because in 30 minutes or after you have completed your five sets, you are done,” he says.

Laton chose to participate in CrossFit because it was something new and different for her that would push her beyond her normal comfort zone. “That first class was tough,” she says, “I was humbled by it, but I really challenged myself.”

For Laton, who is a runner, CrossFit is a nice alternative to running. Participation in CrossFit helps build her speed in a short amount of time.

“Anybody, any level can do this class,” she says. “It is a high-intensity workout, but it doesn’t take a lot of time, so if someone is short on time, CrossFit will be a perfect fit for them.”

Laton describes the class as “child-like fun” which is why she has chosen to incorporate CrossFit into her normal routine. “It’s very fun,” she says. “The workouts are like the activities we participated in when we were children. You are swinging, lifting and jumping which makes me feel like I’m not working out.”

Garbark calls the routines of CrossFit functional. “It uses movement patterns designed for how we, as humans, function every day,” he says.

Ron Bryce, a Center for Health & Fitness member and retired veteran recommends CrossFit to anyone. “The key is to pace yourself, always trying to improve,” says the 70-year-old.

Trainers at FirstHealth can scale the workouts down to help individuals safely work out which helps make CrossFit a tool that anyone can use. “FirstHealth offers as many options as possible in order to help our members,” Garbark says.

Lauren Williams, Jeff Moody II, Randy Ballard and Garbark, the four FirstHealth trainers who conduct the CrossFit classes, experienced what Garbark calls “two days of torture” during their certification training at the CrossFit Charlotte facility. Each has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, are nationally accredited certified personal trainers and, in addition, have each earned their CrossFit Level 1 certification.

The FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness is a medical fitness center, where all programs offered are medically based, which separates the center from other facilities in the area explains John Caliri, director of the Center for Health & Fitness. “While other CrossFit gyms utilize staff who may have no certification or education, the only individuals instructing CrossFit classes at FirstHealth are our highly educated and certified trainers,” he says.

Garbark suggests that anyone interested in CrossFit try a free 30-minute introduction class to ensure that they can learn certain movements on which to build. He emphasizes that the trainers can modify exercises to meet an individual’s needs.

The FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness-Pinehurst offers CrossFit classes for all ages. To participate, members must sign up for the class in advance for a $5 fee or purchase a four-session monthly punch card for $20. Non-members can also participate by paying the required guest fee and the $5 CrossFit fee. For a complete CrossFit schedule check the FirstHealth website at

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