When former lacrosse goalie Matt Brewster moved to South Florida in 2007 to court the woman who would become his fiancé, he didn’t know it would be the end of his lacrosse days and the start of his career in CrossFit.
“Lacrosse was all I did, every day, year-round,” said Brewster, 24, a native Virginian who started playing lacrosse at 14. “There was no lacrosse at FAU. That’s where I was going, so I began competing in submission grappling, the jujitsu portion of Mixed Martial Arts, and I used CrossFit to train for that.”
Brewster, who taught his first CrossFit classes out of the trunk of his car in an open field, opened CrossFit CityPlace in the winter of 2011.
CrossFit CityPlace started with about 100 members, and in one year relocated to 2400 South Dixie Highway, where it is today, because of increasing membership and the need for more space.
Today, CrossFit CityPlace has four coaches and about 220 members.
CrossFit CityPlace trains a diversity of people, from 12-year-olds to 73-year-olds, first-time gym goers to the baseball team at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Brewster describes it as “one size fits all.”
Matt Behm, 29, a Palm Beach resident, began working out at CrossFit CityPlace because he was looking for a more inclusive workout.
“You’re not just building muscle mass, but it’s giving you better cardio as well,” said Behm. “And he [Brewster] enforces diet, which is important, too.”
CrossFit consists of movements that have practical applications, such as pushing, pulling, running, jumping, lifting and climbing, all performed at relatively high intensity.
Although Brewster attributes much of CrossFit CityPlace’s success to the results of the workout, he said the community that grows from CrossFit’s group format adds to its effectiveness.
Miki Carey, 31, owner of Gardens CrossFit in Palm Beach Gardens, agrees and said she’s even heard the terms “CrossFit friends and other friends.”
“It’s almost like an adult high school group all over again,” said Carey. “If you’re the last one going in a workout and everyone’s done, we’re still there cheering you on.”
While group support is important at CrossFit CityPlace, workout safety is Brewster’s priority.
Before members begin training, they complete a three-day foundations course to scale their level of difficulty and learn the workout’s basic movements.
If they have a background in sports and training, they can test-out for competency in the skill sets.
Dana Lynch, 41, the head coach at CrossFit BGI, one of the first 150 CrossFit affiliates to open, said she hasn’t seen a workout-caused injury in nearly five years because of her focus on form and consistency.
“Before every workout, we’re going over the movements and nit-picking form,” said Lynch. “I tell every person to leave their ego at the door.”
Lynch said CrossFit is something anybody who is willing to learn can do.
“There’s a universal intimidation about doing CrossFit and it’s completely false,” said Brewster. “It’s not blood and guts, go as hard as you can. It’s we’re going to figure out where you’re at, and we’re going to develop you from there.”
Selected CrossFit gyms
2400 South Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach
Phone – (561) 366-9348
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
4098 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens
7231 Haverhill Road North
West Palm Beach