Like thousands of CrossFitters around the country, Rodgers, who has two grown sons involved in the activity, can go to www.crossfit.com for a free daily WOD. These boot-camp-style workouts can be done at home or in a gym.
A common WOD is easy to follow. “Kelly,” one workout, is five rounds of each of these activities: running 400 meters; 30 box jumps (on and off a 24-inch box); and 30 medicine ball shots with a 20-pound ball. Rodgers and her sons — one in Pittsburgh, one in Seattle — compare times and splits. “It’s fun to try and beat them,” she said.
Sweating on a rubber mat, I did sit-ups alongside Rodgers. Hirtz held a clipboard and kept score. “Sally, how many’d you get?” he shouted, scrawling a number on a sheet.
After class, participants compare scores. “It turns the whole routine into a kind of game,” explained Rodgers. She jumped up and ran to the next station. Medicine balls on the floor were to be tossed at a line painted high on the wall, an excruciating feat.
Hirtz yelled “go.” Rodgers began to toss, heaving a weighted ball 10 feet high, catching it, and tossing again.
I grabbed a ball beside Rodgers and tried to keep up. Clock ticking, muscles burning, I pushed the ball from my hands. It flew up and fell. A thud. A lift. A heave, again and again, until I could go no more.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.