Get fit with CrossFit on Martha’s Vineyard

CrossFit utilizes simple movement exercises to build strength, endurance and mobility. Ryan Kurth is shown working up a sweat. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Vineyard opening of a CrossFit gym, or “box” as they are called, in January, is a sign of its growing popularity nation-wide, according to Keidy Toomey, coach/owner and certified CrossFit level 1 trainer.

CrossFit is a high intensity strength and conditioning workout program that utilizes a variety of functional movements. There is little in the way of physical movement that is not incorporated into the CrossFit program at one time or another.

Ms. Toomey has been an active athlete for many years. She grew up on the Vineyard and played soccer at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, graduating in 2005. She played a little soccer in college, and discovered CrossFit while working an office job in Houston, Texas. She found it so appealing that she trained as a CrossFit coach and has competed in CrossFit competitions.

When she moved back to the east coast, Ms. Toomey joined CrossFit Providence (CFP) as both an athlete and coach. She also worked with Fitness Together in Lincoln, R.I., as a personal trainer. Her progress at CFP led her to 35th place in the 2011 Northeast CrossFit Sectionals. Following this, she competed as a member of the CFP competition team, which placed ninth at the 2011 regionals. She said that she enjoys the competitive aspects of CrossFit, but has discovered that her real love is coaching. She returned to the Island to open her own box.

The programs are broken down into fairly short but intense exercises and are centered on a varied schedule of “workouts of the day,” or WODs. Exercises and goals are geared to the level of a person’s abilities. Running, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, moving large loads quickly over short distances, lifting weights, gymnastics, pull-ups, just about any type of physical activity can and will be part of a WOD.

There is a competitive component to CrossFit. Each WOD is scored, usually for time taken to complete the workout, the number of rounds completed in the allotted time, or the weight used during the workout. Each day the scores are recorded in a “WODbook.” The data allows for tracking progress at all levels. “Scoring also creates a friendly, supportive, and competitive environment, a major component of why CrossFit is effective and fun,” according to the CrossFit website,

The WODs are designed to offer constantly varying exercises. Ms. Toomey said that they try to avoid the routine nature of so many exercise programs and use compound, functional movements that mimic physical patterns found in everyday life, which are safe for athletes of all skill levels.

“We tailor the workouts to each person’s needs. We provide hands-on coaching and incremental load assignments that allow members to perform the same movements generally used by professional athletes,” Ms. Toomey elaborated.

The workouts are scheduled for one hour and are usually done in small groups. They usually begin with exercises to increase mobility with high intensity workouts that can last up to 20 minutes. Ms. Toomey said that high intensity training burns more fat and develops strength and conditioning better than traditional training programs.

The CrossFit program recommends a Paleolithic diet, “paleo” for short, also knows as the “caveman diet.” A paleo diet focuses on eating natural foods to help achieve health and a lean physique.

“The human body evolved for more than 2 million years with the food found in nature: game meat, fish, vegetables, wild fruits, eggs, and nuts,” says the CrossFit MV website,

CrossFit Martha’s Vineyard meets at the Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown every day of the week but Sunday. There are CrossFit classes that meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6 am, 12 noon, 5:30, and 6:30 pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 am, 12 noon, and 5:30 pm; and Saturdays at 10 am. An additional weekday class will be added for the summer at 9 am.

Rates: $120/month for unlimited sessions, $99/month for 3 sessions a week, $80/month for 2 sessions a week, drop-in rate is $20, and CrossFit offers a free 2-session trial.

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