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Valrico CrossFit Studio Is For 'Average Joes'

By Kelly Church

CrossFit FTM is one of many CrossFit studios across the nation. The fitness phenomenon swept the country a few years ago and Valrico, FL was no different. CrossFit FTM owner Casey Schmidt said she had a front row seat to seeing more CrossFit gyms, called boxes, pop up over the years.

"I've been fortunate enough to have watched it grow from 700 [to] 800 boxes to over 15,000 and being one of those boxes who's been around for a while," Schmidt said. "The biggest factor [to its growth] is the community and the family that people become part of."

Schmidt said that members workout with the same group multiple times per week, and often they begin to feel like family. She said members sweat, suffer, bleed and fail together, and it builds a supportive community that members thrive in. Schmidt said she likes to describe her gym as one for average Joes who just want to build a healthier lifestyle and improve their fitness.

Schmidt described the experience of one of the CrossFit FTM members who joined the studio on September 11, 2016. Schmidt said within a week of adopting the studio's fitness and nutrition program, the woman had lost 20 pounds. She discovered that her body held a significant amount of water weight from certain foods she was regularly eating. Now, she eats a paleo diet.

"We specifically want to focus on the group of athletes (members) who specifically just want to be healthy, fit and look good," Schmidt said. "CrossFit has the stigma of being dangerous, expensive and cult-like. Many people's first exposure to what CrossFit is they see on ESPN in The CrossFit Games. This is the highest level of CrossFit competition that there is."

Schmidt insisted that CrossFit FTM doesn't focus on matching The CrossFit Games in her studio. There are many levels of CrossFit, and members don't need to be at the level of The CrossFit Games or even train to be at that level if they don't want to. Schmidt said that when CrossFit FTM members compete, they're mostly competing against themselves, trying to outperform their personal previous times or weights.

"I've worked with kids as young as three, professional athletes and the oldest I ever worked with was 84 years young," Schmidt said. "Anyone can do CrossFit. Finding the right culture to fit what your goals are is the challenging part of finding a great box."

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