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Cigar City Crossfit Gets People Fit For Life

By Jake Levin

In the internet age, Michael Verdi is setting out to reestablish connections.

The owner of Cigar City CrossFit in Tampa, Fla. has his theories on why CrossFit has exploded so quickly, but believes that even though CrossFit is about as polar opposite as it gets from sitting next to a computer it has everything to do with just that.

"I believe its growth has been fueled by internet isolationism," Verdi said. "It's ironic that as communication and connectivity have increased exponentially, many people lack regular human connection on a regular basis."

Sometimes, Verdi said, you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.

"You can make, and hang out with, friends," Verdi said. "Everyone knows your name and cheers you on during a workout. You get to make real human connections in the physical world."

Beyond the communicative aspect, Verdi said that the convenience life affords us today has contributed to a slow decline in overall health. CrossFit kills two birds with one stone in that regard.

No one pops in headphones during CrossFit, a full body workout that is constantly varied.

"We work strength development and conditioning concurrently, so unlike a boot camp class, for example, which just focuses on conditioning, athletes are also able to build lean muscle mass," Verdi said.

Verdi believes Cigar City accomplishes this by investing in the community, its athletes and its coaches.

"We're a family of like-minded people dedicated to pushing ourselves to be better," Verdi said

Cigar City trains the University of Tampa's ROTC program, as well as Team RWB, a nonprofit dedicated to re-assimilating veterans into their communities, for free once a week.

Verdi said that Cigar City has also partnered with other nonprofits in the area to promote fitness and lifestyle improvements.

There are plenty of activities for both novices and masters alike at Cigar City, where the CrossFit revolution continues to help people transform their bodies.

"For beginners, the focus is on building aerobic capacity and strength development," Verdi said. "For advanced athletes, it varies based on the individual. For those that are serious about training for the sport of CrossFit, we offer individualized programming that attacks their weaknesses and builds their overall capacity."

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