Gym starts fitness craze with extreme workouts

HOUSTON It tests your strength and stamina in ways you could only imagine.

If you're looking for a gym with all the bells and whistles, CrossFit Houston -- just south of downtown -- may not be the place for you.

There, you'll be catapulted out of your comfort zone.

"It's a fantastic workout. There's nothing like it. It's very addicting," participant Atish Gandhi said.

You'll experience extreme training that is real and raw. It will literally push you to the limit.

"Lifting, pulling, pushing. We don't isolate any muscle groups. We stay away from that," gym owner Carlos Ibarra said.

CrossFit has become big with professional athletes, like Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, who uses the high-intensity workout to boost his strength, speed, endurance and stamina.

More than just a fitness craze, CrossFit is now mainstream, and with CrossFit gyms opening all over Houston, it is growing in popularity.

Ibarra and his wife Lisa became certified trainers and opened their gym four years ago. At the gym, physique takes a backseat.

"How much more mobile they are, how they are moving, how they are able to flex their arms up in the air instead of stopping them here," Ibarra said.

CrossFit athletes exercise with dumbbells, bars and even sandbags. The workouts are grueling, and in some cases, last 45 minutes.

"My arms are shaking from the workout but I feel like that every time I workout," participant Sara Galvan said.

Participants often move large, heavy loads over long distances.

But CrossFit is not for everyone.

Fitness Expert Ken Richardson warns that overtraining could lead to injuries and believes only people who are already in shape should do it.

"Make sure you have your proper strength training first," Richardson said. "Go do something extreme to challenge yourself but do it for a certain amount of time and listen to your body."

Ibarra agrees. He says testing the limits of your strength and pushing yourself to the extreme should fun, but most importantly, safe.

You should always check with your doctor for before doing any type of rigorous exercise such as CrossFit.

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