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Fitness trends Crossfit: ‘Program for the best, scale down for the rest’

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image António Barrias (left)

As fitness options spread around town, a new gym promises a sport combining Olympic lifting, running, swimming, all types of cardiovascular activity involved with heavy lifting, as well as body weight movements such as push ups and squats. Meet “CrossFit XVI.”
Head coach and owner António Barrias fell in love with crossfit a while ago, when he was in Hong Kong for a training course. Whilst he was there he saw this “workout that didn’t make much sense, but [he] that knew [he] had to try.” “I almost died,” he joked, adding after that experience “that was it; I fell in love with the sport.”
He tells us that often one of the first rules of crossfit is, “you always talk about crossfit.” “So we know that we never ask crossfitters what crossfit is, because we know we can go on for hours,” he told the Times.
António Barrias, alongside Amanda Ho and Samuel U, opened a crossfit gym near Victory Garden four months ago. He was initially planning on opening a personal training gym, as that would be closer to his background. He fell in love however, with this “new sport that is sweeping the world,” and moved forward to open the city’s first crossfit space.
He explained that since the gym opened four months ago, these have been busy times, as they were able to reach a faithful growing membership. “We have between 100 and 200 members. This is a small space, and I can say that we have so many members now that we need to expand,” he revealed, adding that a new space in Cotai should open soon.
As heavy lifting, cardiovascular activity and body weight movements sound very demanding, we wonder who can exactly accept the challenge of crossfit? António assures that only one word is enough to provide an appropriate answer: everybody.
“Everybody can do crossfit (…) we have this saying: program for the best, and you scale down for the rest. So the cool thing about crossfit is that you can be training in a gym, and to your left you might have the best athlete in the world and to your right you have your grandmother. Every age, every fitness level, everyone can do it. There’s even crossfit for kids,” he enthused.
But surely there are rules that those willing to practice crossfit must obey. After all, gym goers must put aside their desire to prove they’re the best. “[When I first tried crossfit] I had played professional soccer and I used to go to the gym a lot, so I thought my physical condition was up for anything. But then I saw crossfit and I didn’t respect it. I didn’t obey the rules. I was a newcomer to crossfit and I pushed over the limits this sport imposes on us,” he expressed.
Although one might think that crossfit is for men, António Barrias surprisingly reveals that 60 percent of his gym members are female. If in a gym setting, girls are usually doing cardio or heading for the treadmill, in a crossfit gym they’ll not be far away from the heavyweights.
“Girls should lift if they want to lift. That’s the cool thing about crossfit... is that empowerment of women, that’s why in every crossfit gym the girls have more confidence and show off more,” he stated.
At the same time, crossfit has also caught the attention of those in the law enforcement field. According to António Barrias, the sport prepares us for the unknown and, therefore, for our daily lives. “You’re moving your body, you’re running, you’re jumping, your brain and your body prepare themselves for any challenge, so that’s why the military love this kind of training, as you never know what is going to happen in the battle field.”

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