Photograph Essay: CrossFit
After photographing Tony working out at CrossFit Glen Burnie, a gym built into a section of a warehouse building featuring a super high ceiling with industrial sized fan, steel girders exposed in the walls and ceiling, four roll up style bay doors to let in light and air in warm weather, black rubber matting covering the cement floor, red light digital clock to show the ever important time factor, steel shelving supporting oversized kettle bells, he secured further permission from the owners for me to photograph the CrossFit open.
CrossFit announces the exercise routine, an initial qualifying series of events to move competitive athletes to the next stage of the contest, on Thursday evening, and CrossFit Glen Burnie throws a themed costume party on Friday afternoon where athletes gather to judge each other on performance measures, and enjoy a picnic style BBQ and corn hole after picking themselves up off the floor after a grueling workout.
Time is a significant factor in CrossFit workouts, elevating what could be simply muscular strength exercises and adding a serious component of cardio workout for the speed involved in getting the workout done as quickly as precision and the heart will allow, but is taken to a new level for the CrossFit games where a high degree of fitness the during the proceeding training year might be enough to complete minimum reputations of an event within time, but earning a competitive score is still another level up. Twenty minutes is a very, very long time when squatting with dumbbells, then pushing the weight over head four times; jump rope 24 times, then hang from a bar while lifting feet up to meet the bar overhead; all repeated at least fifteen times to declare the event completed. When time is up, many athletes collapse to the floor.
A comparison of the body outlines of the athletes featured in the documentary Fittest On Earth with the body outlines of Generation Iron illustrate the best in each sport become different body types on their way to achieving their goals. If I was photographing bodybuilders it would be a lot more tempting to anticipate the moment when a pair of impressive biceps are flexed in a mirror. No mirrors here; no hypertrophic lat muscles pushing arms outward to take up more space in the gym.