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A community of fitness
Kris Johanson of Hinesville dead-lifts more than 500 pounds Wednesday during a workout at Crossfit Hinesville. Johanson said he has lost 37 pounds since starting the program in January. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

When Tina and Rowdy Carson moved to Hinesville from Springfield, Mo., about a year and a half ago, one of the things they missed was their crossfit training facility.
Tina Carson, a former Olympic weightlifter, was training in Savannah for Team U.S.A. and later worked at the Liberty County YMCA. Rowdy Carson, a Marine, returned from deployment and got a job with the city of Hinesville Fire Department. But Tina Carson still longed for the crossfit training she had grown accustomed to.
“We noticed that Hinesville did not have a crossfit, and it was always our dream to open a crossfit,” Tina Carson said. “Once he got back from deployment about a year ago, we found this location and opportunity and we jumped on it. We started our facility with maybe 15 members … and we are approaching 150 members right now.”
Crossfit Hinesville, 1875 E.G. Miles Parkway, offers an alternative to traditional gym workouts based on its methodology. Carson said it correlates to what people experience in their day to day lives.
Initially used as training for firefighters, police officers and special-forces personnel, Crossfit has grown nationally as a method of exercise for all ages and abilities. An elite athlete can train next to a novice and complete the same program in the same amount of time.
Tina Carson said based on the person’s ability, the program can be modified so every athlete “still works that muscle group … that makes them feel involved … nobody is ever left behind.”
She said her athletes are trained to produce decent 5K runs, lift heavy weights, complete pull-ups and pushups, leap, climb ropes, do squats and dead-lifts and engage every muscle.
“We want to be very powerful, and we want to be good under pressure,” she said adding that the program builds confidence and helps with the routine work folks do around the house or while running errands.
“We use kettle bells, tires, ropes, free weights, sand bags, barbells and anything possible in a real-life scenario that we can use we will use,” she said. “Anything that we think will help you outside the gym we will use. We want you to potentially train to be better at life. Crossfit is huge in functional movements, which is using more than one muscle group at a time.”
And that is the main reason there are few if any typical gym machines there.
“Machines are single-modality movements,” she said. “Machines hinder us in real-life scenarios. For instance, the Smith machine, we are pinned in that machine, supporting us so we don’t have to work on balance. Same with the sled press. That is a lever method so we are pushing against the sled, and the lever that I’m talking about would be our back pushing against the pad. That is what is helping the sled go up, so you do not have to activate your core in a machine. You are only working on that one muscle group, which is absolutely nonsense.”
Hinesville Fire Department firefighter and public affairs officer Kris Johanson said the changes he has experienced since he joined crossfit the last week in January have made him a believer.
“I’ve lost 37 pounds since I started,” Johanson said. “I have come off of my blood-pressure medicine and cholesterol medicine. All my blood work is back down to within range. My cardio is building up, so I’m back to where I was when I was 20 years old.”
There is a free orientation at 9 a.m. Saturday. The orientation, a requirement before obtaining a membership, will explain the principles of crossfit, offer a tour of the facility and explain the diets trainers use. Participants will complete a 10-minute assessment on pushups, pull-ups and squats.
Membership fees are $85 a month.
“We have seven classes a day and that is including our advance class,” Carson explained. “The first class starts in the morning at 6, 7, and 8 a.m. We open back up at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. then we have an advanced class at 7 p.m. We also have kids camp at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that is just $20 a month for ages 5-12. We teach them everything we teach the adults.”
Carson said the athletes at crossfit often encourage others to finish their routines and succeed.
“This is definitely a family,” Carson said. “You have people that you have never met in your life before and you are struggling trying to finish your last run and they are done with their workout and completely exhausted. They will run with you to encourage you to finish your run. That is everybody here. You walk in the door and you have a community.”
For more information, call 912-385-3837.

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