CHARLES TOWN— Travis “The Beast” Bagent, winner of more than 15 world championship titles in arm wrestling, now has a new fitness trend in his grip.
The Jefferson County native, a left-handed arm-wrestling champion whose story is recounted in the documentary, “Pulling John,” has opened CrossFit 304 in the East Washington Street space formerly occupied by the Energy Fitness gym.
A favorite of a growing number of police academies in North America, the CrossFit regime relies on calisthenics, free weights, gymnastic rings, kettle bells and pull-up bars to create a core strength and conditioning program. By working on 10 fitness domains – cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy – a “quintessential” athlete emerges.
Greg Glassman founded the program in California in 2000. Bagent, 36, became familiar with CrossFit when Glassman and other CrossFitters recruited him to announce at the CrossFit Games in 2010. Once he became a CrossFit employee, it wasn’t long before he became a believer in its workouts.
“The program speaks to people,” Bagent said. “It’s not just the physical results — which are amazing — but the connection people get with their bodies through the process. They realize they are stronger than they thought, and can do things they never thought possible. It’s a powerful response.”
Head trainer Sean Leonard agrees, explaining that CrossFit is far different from the typical gym workout. “CrossFit by definition is constantly varied functional movement done at a high intensity,” he said. “What that means is we do something different every day so the body doesn’t adapt. Today’s workout might not be done for another year.”
Leonard notes that the high intensity part of the CrossFit model is key. “We keep the exercises short, intense and fun. Some workouts may take up to 45 minutes on the high end or 5 minutes on the low end,” he said.
CrossFit 304 has offerings geared toward adults and kids. Adult classes are one hour, typically split into segments. The first is a warm-up, the second is a WOD, the CrossFit acronym for “Workout Of the Day,” and the third focuses on skill work.
CrossFit’s classes for young people break the group into sections based on grade level. Coaches help the young athletes with performance-enhancing skills for the next season coming up. This spring, the youngsters are learning skills for
fall sports such as football and soccer.
Before opening CrossFit 304, Bagent renovated the 3,700-square-foot space to install CrossFit equipment such as pull-up bars, rings, kettle bells, rowers, medicine balls, ab mats and more. He plans to add a 110-meter track and an outdoor facility.
Leonard stressed that anyone of any age or ability can get a great workout at CrossFit 304.
“Since the workouts are scalable, we use that technique to help people accomplish the goals within their limitations,” he said. “Some people are worried that means they won’t get a workout, but they will. There’s no doubt about that.”
Want to go?
What: CrossFit 304
Where: 835 E. Washington St. in Charles Town
Details: CrossFit 304 offers one- or three-month memberships that include use of the gym and the pool. Teachers, military personnel and First Responders get discounts. Anyone can try a week of classes at no charge. For more info, call the gym at 304-728-3002 or go online to www.cf304.com or to www.crossfit.com.