Semper Fidelis. Translating from Latin to “Always Faithful” and often shortened to “Semper Fi,” it is the motto of the United States Marine Corps. In addition to their faithful service to our country, Marines are often known for their strength, determination and sense of broth­erhood, leaving no man behind. We can all take a page out of the Marine handbook and embrace this mental­ity when it comes to improving our own physical fitness.

Elizabeth Herrera prepares for bar pull ups with her coaches nearby.

The CrossFit craze has been popping up in gyms across the world since the early 2000s. The workouts are done in a group setting with people of all ages and abilities completing them at their own pace and capability, creating a family of participants who show up to improve themselves and support each other. Scott Hen­drix, owner of Crash City CrossFit in Roswell, explains, “It’s funny with CrossFit, the ones that finish last get the most cheers, because those that have finished before them go back over to them and offer encouragement. They’ll help push them so they can finish it. Working out in a group builds a bond within our community here.” No man left behind.

Hendrix and his wife, Ivey, opened their Cross­Fit affiliate gym, Crash City CrossFit, after they discovered their love for the workout. Hendrix, a Roswell native, spent 9 years in the Marine Corp, meeting Ivey when he was stationed in California. Ivey credits CrossFit with saving her husband’s life by keeping his sanity and provid­ing an outlet for him while on the job. Hendrix deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 where he was a sergeant. While in Afghanistan he met Sergeant L.J. Durbin who was in the same platoon and first introduced him to CrossFit. Hendrix explains, “He [the other sergeant] told me about CrossFit, so I tried it out. After the first workout I was thinking, ‘I’m not so sure,’ but he said, ‘give it a week, just keep coming back,’ and after a week I was hooked. It’s an amazing, amazing workout in a short period of time.”

A typical CrossFit workout totals one hour and consists of a combination of exercises. “One of the mantras of CrossFit is ‘Constantly Varied Functional Movement Performed at High In­tensity.’ With the ‘Constantly Varied,’ you’re not going to do the same workout today that you do tomorrow or the same one that you did yester­day,” shares Hendrix. Hendrix trains people at his gym of all ages, and elaborates, “You can do CrossFit as long as you are able to be physically active, and that’s the beauty of it, we can scale any movement to anybody’s ability levels.”

Hendrix shares the mentality of CrossFit is unique, explaining, “Everybody does the same workout. Some of our top athletes are in here working out with people that just began, so we’re able to scale the movements to make it safe, yet effective for the person who has just joined or who has never done CrossFit. They’re going to get just as good of a workout as my top athletes, and we do that by changing [weight] load and changing how many reps they do.” As part of its membership, Crash City CrossFit uses a program that charts everyone’s workouts and progress that they can access from home or on their smartphone. The program even shows you how participants that attended a different class time did in the workout that day. Hendrix says this pushes people to perform their best, elaborating, “I think humans, by nature, are competitive, and if you’re in there working out with somebody, even though you might not necessarily feel it that day, you see your buddy, somebody that’s close to your fitness level… you don’t want them to beat you. That competi­tive part comes in.”

While Hendrix shares that he doesn’t believe in diets, rather in lifestyle changes, he con­firms that nutrition is extremely important in transforming your whole body. “With any good physical fitness program, your foundation is going to be nutrition. If you get your nutrition under control, you consistently come to do the workouts, that’s going to improve your mental attitude,” explains Hendrix, sharing, “We’ll have a lot of people that will get done with a workout, and of course it’s a hard workout so they are huffing and puffing at the end of it, but 5-10 mins later, they’re just giddy and smiling. That’s the endorphins that are being released by the body which just makes you feel better. I think if we can get the nutrition under control, we can take care of the physical, now the mental comes into play. It just makes you a better overall person.” Hendrix adds that lots of people turn to CrossFit as a weight loss solution and plans to incorporate a program for monitoring nutrition­al intake for members in the future.

Hendrix believes it is important to bring Cross­Fit to people in Roswell and tailors the program to individuals to create “better general physical preparedness.” Hendrix explains, “You’ve got to be prepared for anything, I mean it stood true with me in my military and law enforcement careers, but even as an average person, you’ve got to train for everything…If you’ve got kids, you’ve got to be able to pick them up, carry them around. If you’re a senior, you want to stay healthy, you want to stay active. You want to be able to go to the store and not be winded by the time that you’re ready to check out. You want to be able to go out with your grandchil­dren and play.” Hendrix recalls spending his childhood summers with his grandparents that were physically active and could take him out hunting, fishing and camping because they kept themselves in shape, sharing, “If I can pass that on and be able to help people spend the time with their families the way that they want to, that’s what we’re here for.”

Hendrix understands that the hardest part for most people about getting started with CrossFit is just getting them through the door for the first time, adding, “The biggest thing that we have is people are scared to try it, and there’s nothing to be scared of. I have a coach here every class, at least one, if not two, that are going to keep them safe. We are not going to allow them to do anything that is unsafe.” “If we can keep them safe, we can keep them coming, and if we can keep them coming, they can keep improving.” Hendrix adds that when someone walks in to a regular gym they are often lost as to where to start, and end up leaving without getting in a real workout. He explains that at Crash City CrossFit, members just need to come in and put forth the effort instead of thinking about what they are going to do that day, adding, “It’s kind of like having a personal trainer without having to pay those personal trainer prices.”

Hendrix aims to help citizens of Roswell improve their overall physical fitness, whatever their goal may be. He offers that it’s best to leave any preconceived notions of what CrossFit is at the door and not to be intimidated by what you see on YouTube or The CrossFit games on ESPN. “That’s not us,” Hendrix points out, “We are what the CrossFit community calls ‘the other 95%.’ We are the normal, everyday people that just want to live a healthy lifestyle.” You are only given one body, and choosing to take care of it through nutrition and physical fitness is one of the best investments you can make to ensure a high quality of life. After all, isn’t that what we are all striving for?