Columbia gets ‘CrossFit’


Kaitlin Hetterscheidt

Columbia has partnered with South Loop Strength & Conditioning to offer CrossFit, a hybrid exercise program.

By Sports & Health Reporter

CrossFit is in the running to be offered as a new fitness program for Columbia students this semester.

The college is entering a trial partnership with the South Loop Strength & Conditioning CrossFit facility, located at 645 S. Clark St. CrossFit is a fitness program developed to offer a complete full-body workout that incorporates fitness elements of weightlifting, cardio and core training.

According to the South Loop Strength & Conditioning website, the CrossFit exercise program is very challenging, and while the staff firmly believes in appropriate programming that is individualized for each participant, students will be asked to safely push themselves to uncomfortable places as they progress with the help of the coaching staff.

Mark Brticevich, Columbia’s coordinator of Fitness, Athletics and Recreation, said the college is very excited to offer CrossFit as a new program that will provide students with another way to be active.

“When you look at CrossFit as a whole, it’s not meant for the absolute beginner,” Brticevich said. “But kids who have been exercising who want to increase their aerobic capacity, endurance, strength or explosiveness—or are just bored—the more variety you can put into a routine, the more likely you are to stick to it and the more likely your body is going to respond.” 

Although CrossFit is meant to be fun, the intense regimen is geared toward people seeking to go beyond their comfort zones in order to achieve noticeable results. 

South Loop Strength & Conditioning lists four CrossFit philosophies on its website: the challenge level needs to be modifiable to the participants’ current level of fitness, the program needs to be based upon full body movements and also needs to be fun and engaging, as well as open to regular testing.

“It’s really a mental game,” said Stephanie Burda, a junior television major and student manager for Fitness, Athletics and Recreation at Columbia. “It addresses a need for personal transformation that I think a lot of our students will be able to focus in on. Our students are very dedicated, especially with their careers and concentrations, so to be able to apply [that dedication] toward fitness and self-care is a really important philosophy that students will be able to relate to.”

Burda said one exciting aspect of Columbia’s partnership with South Loop Strength & Conditioning is that it is the first collaboration that the Fitness, Athletics and Recreation faculty have organized outside of on-campus facilities. 

Columbia hosted its first CrossFit event at South Loop Strength & Conditioning’s facility on Feb. 20 in hopes that the turnout would be successful and students would enjoy the intense workout. 

“We want to see what the interest is all about [and] what kind of rates we can get,” Brticevich said.“They are looking to expand business and we are looking to give other types of programming options to students, so it may grow.”

Summer Diab, a sophomore journalism major, said it is nice to have more programming options and places to work out. 

 “I have always liked exercising with a group and it makes me want to work out better and to exercise daily,” Diab said. “I think students would benefit if we [implemented] this because more students would exercise and be motivated to work out.”

Although CrossFit seems to be aimed toward those who are more physically active, Diab said that should not deter students from taking on a new, challenging option. 

“I think if people are up for a challenge and think they can do it and want to try it out [even though] it’s intense, it is OK to try and see if they like it,” Diab said. 

Burda said she wanted to cater the event toward athletes and fitness enthusiasts, which resulted in the introductory CrossFit class being a little more specialized than future events will be. However, Burda said she wanted to stress the importance of building a community because Columbia is not known for athletics. One component of this community building will be the Fitness, Athletics and Recreation facility focusing on providing expanded opportunities for students to stay active, like the CrossFit program and a Fight Club stage combat event to come later in the semester.

“We are not going to ever be a school that is [primarily focused on] athletics, but we do want to stress that everyone can participate in self-care and fitness,” Burda said. “It doesn’t matter what your concentration is, what your age is. Even though CrossFit is challenging and takes a lot of mental stress and awareness, people of all ages do this activity.”