Updated with photos

At Belfast Bay CrossFit, shaping up means getting back to basics

By Tanya Mitchell | Feb 21, 2014
Photo by: Tanya Mitchell CrossFit trainer Justin Vinci assists student Melinda Hellum of Searsport as she completes a weighted squat Monday afternoon, Feb. 24.

Belfast — Justin Vinci described the CrossFit method of training as one that uses every day body movements as the foundation for a high intensity workout, and it's something that anyone can be successful at as long as they stick with it.

Vinci is the owner of Belfast Bay CrossFit, and he is also one of four trainers at the facility who are certified in this specific type of fitness program.

"The simplest and best way to describe CrossFit is, it's constantly varied functional movements that are done at a high intensity," said Vinci Thursday, Feb. 20.

Movements like squats and dead lifts come into play during the classes, and Vinci said while CrossFit is labeled as a strength and conditioning program, it entails much more.

"It's retraining your body to move as it should," he said.

When toddlers lower themselves to pick an object up off the floor, Vinci said, they execute the perfect squat form. As we age, Vinci said, we slowly move away from using proper form. The CrossFit program aims to reverse that trend.

"It will not only make you stronger, but it will hopefully allow you to continue to do things for a much longer period in your life," he said.

Vinci opened the Back Belmont Road gym last month after using space at Belfast Area High School to teach classes for just shy of a year. He also offered CrossFit training at the Waldo County YMCA for stint.

While attending college in Connecticut, Vinci was studying with the intent of opening a traditional gym and offering his services as a personal trainer. After his college baseball career came to an end, he said he started power lifting to stay fit.

Vinci eventually moved to Maine, met his wife Danielle and started his family, and all of those life changes moved him away from the gym. But one day, Vinci said, he decided he wanted to revisit his career goal and his wife suggested he look into CrossFit training.

"We started doing it at home and we fell in love with it," he said.

Then Vinci obtained the certifications he needed; the first allowed him to be a CrossFit instructor, and the second earned him the right to open an official CrossFit gym.

Vinci said Belfast Bay CrossFit differs from traditional gyms and fitness centers. Along with increasing the strength of those who attend the classes, which take place in a group setting, Vinci said the CrossFit model also focuses on improving other areas necessary for good physical health such as stamina, balance and coordination.

"We almost never do the same workout twice," said Vinci.

The CrossFit model means everyone benefits from the expertise of the trainers on staff, and Vinci said while the workouts are created with top athletes in mind, anyone of any fitness level can do it. A beginner program allows new students to learn the basic movements used in the classes, get them used to the kinds of workouts offered in the classes and assess strengths and weaknesses. From there, each student will build on those beginnings by tracking the areas in which they show improvement after each workout.

"We work on form before we work on speed and intensity," said Vinci.

The group setting can be competitive as people of varying fitness levels work together as a timer ticks away in the background, but Vinci said the clock is only used for the purposes of tracking progress because the idea is to compete against oneself and not fellow classmates. Each class is about an hour long, and includes a generous warm-up period that includes stretching and strength training before diving into the high intensity portion, which Vinci said typically spans between eight and 15 minutes.

Not everyone completes the workout at the same time due to the varying ability levels in each class, and Vinci said that sets the tone for a supportive environment for all, especially beginners.

"The last person to finish always gets the most cheers and support," he said.

Anyone interested in trying either of the three afternoon classes, which Vinci said begin at 3:30 p.m., can come by and see what the training is all about. Belfast Bay CrossFit will host an open house Saturday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Vinci invited anyone interested in the CrossFit program to attend.

Those interested in taking the classes or learning more can contact Vinci at 323-0966 or via Facebook.

 

 

 

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Tanya Mitchell
207-338-3333 ext. 109
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Tanya has been a general news reporter in Waldo County since 1997.

 

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