CrossFit Villanova increases in popularity



Rachel Bleier

According to CrossFit Villanova’s affiliate manager, Izzy Hartner, CrossFit “is the thing your mind and body are missing, and an experience it is probably craving. CrossFit is not for everyone, and I can’t promise you’ll like it, but I would say have the [guts] to give it a shot.”

CrossFit is a workout regimen that combines Olympic weight lifting, gymnastics and cardio in a short, high-intensity workout. The whole point of CrossFit is to endure a breif workout at maximum working capacity. The sport pushes athletes to work as hard as they can for a short period of time, relying on both their physical and mental toughness to do so. 

Among those that put themselves through the rigors of CrossFit on a daily basis are a group of Villanova students just crazy enough to take on this insane activity in the name of fitness. CrossFit Villanova (CFV) is an official club at the University, and its members walk among you every day. They are nursing students, political science students, engineers, computer science majors, and they comprise one of the most inclusive and fittest groups on campus.

The members of CFV are all different, and if you saw them in a room together, you would probably wonder how such a random group of students came to know each other. Despite their differences, members suffer through WODs and succeed together.  

According to freshman Matt Karlson, every WOD ends with “your friends cheering you on and saying, ‘Come on you can do it!’” 

This is what makes CFV one of the tightest knit clubs on campus. Members learn a lot about themselves, and each other, during workouts. For freshman Lauren Winkler, one of the newest CFV members, CrossFit is more than just a good workout. “The dynamic of the whole club is [great]. Everyone is really supportive and nice,” Winkler said.

The sense of community that permeates CFV is typical of CrossFit boxes everywhere. Karlson described the CrossFit Villanova community as “awesome because everybody loves it.” He said “Once you are at the box, its just a bunch of friends doing a workout together. While you’re actually doing the workout, the community is there to support you.” 

“There is nothing that brings people together and that makes people so sincerely supportive of one another more than joint hardship. I am so lucky to be a part of that kind of community,” Hartner said. 

It is this sense of community that drives people away from the traditional gym environment and into a CrossFit box. 

For those people who feel they are incapable of doing CrossFit or worry that it is too dangerous, there is a community to watch out for you as well. Expert coaches teach the classes CFV members participate in. These coaches are there to ensure the safety of every member and to push athletes to achieve maximum performance during a workout. “The community, including the coaches, is there and is willing to get you to the point where CrossFit can be a real part of your life,” Karlson said.

In response to the criticism that CrossFit is an unsafe activity, Hartner said, “live a little and don’t be silly. It’s more dangerous for your health to sit on the coach all day than it is to pick heavy barbells up and jump up and down with a bunch of friends in a big box that is essentially a jungle gym. You do you, but I’d suggest coming with me to check out CrossFit.”

In addition to the sense of community, CrossFit Villanova has a special energy to it. In Karlson’s words, “Everyone is always excited and happy to be there, and people feed off each other’s good energy.”

If there is one thing CFV has, it’s a lot of energy. Its members participate in 7 a.m. WODs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and most members attend at least two classes per week. For the more dedicated members such as President Tiffany Holohan and Hartner, it is completely normal to workout at the box at least five times per week. 

CFV members don’t just work out to look good; they do it because it makes them feel good. For Hartner, CrossFit is a way to relieve stress and put life in perspective. 

“I know it is just exercise, but getting my a– kicked gives me perspective on real world things,” Hartner said. “Stress is less stressful because I’ve done hard before, even if it’s a different kind of hard.”

Finishing a WOD also gives members of CFV a certain swagger. They walk taller and exude confidence because they know they have worked hard to accomplish something special. When she first started CrossFit, Hartner noticed this difference immediately. 

“I showed up, I worked, I felt accomplished, I had people expecting me to show up every day, and I was put in uncomfortable positions to get stronger, get mobile, and challenge everything that I had previously experienced to be fitness,” she said.

While it is intense and most people find it intimidating, CrossFit is an experience that everyone should have. 

CFV’s sense of community and the sport’s ability to make people feel invincible, if only for 20 minutes a day, is more than enough to explain why anyone would want to try it.