Crossfitters get an intense workout

Crossfitters get an intense workout
Tadeh Mardirosian, left, and Seda Tadevosyan learn how to do squat clean jerks during a workout class at CrossFit 818 in Glendale on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)

Before his CrossFit 818 class began, Zareh Amirian called on his students to run two laps around the block for a half-mile warm-up.

Amirian's CrossFit 818 is one of two CrossFit gyms in Glendale and is part of a gym franchise company based in Santa Cruz.

The people who work out with CrossFit are dubbed "crossfitters." Their workouts are timed, intense, completed in a group, and done in one hour.

In Amirian's gym, a sign on the wall highlights the "10 Components of Fitness" as cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy — in that order.

"You come in here and everything is basically presented to you," Amirian said. "There's no wandering around in the gym. There are no machines, no mirrors. We don't do bicep curls. It's not a vanity work out. It's motivational."

After stretching and coaching the team on how to best lift heavy weights, Amirian directed the team to the of Workout of the Day — the "WoD," in CrossFit parlance, which called for each participant to complete 45 "double-unders" with a jump rope, 45 squat cleans by lifting either 135 or 95 pounds, and performing 45 push-ups.

They were each timed, and as they finished, Amirian wrote their times next to their names. Those who finished first encouraged the others.

This community aspect of the gym is what led Amirian to the Santa Monica CrossFit five years ago after a brief stint of focusing his attention on his studies and his career over exercise.

After being exposed to CrossFit in Santa Monica, Amirian — a member of the city's Audit Committee — began studying biomechanics and started coaching people on the side.

"The community aspect is so big for us. I think it's one of the most important aspects because it turns this from just working out regularly to making it a lifestyle," he said. "This is how it's going to stick, which is how it's going to positively affect your life when you need it most in the future."

Glendale High assistant basketball coach Tadeh Margirosian joined CrossFit after learning about it through friends. After the first free workout, which includes a preliminary test, Margirosian was sore for 48 hours.

"I thought I was in shape until I did that test. That's when I decided to come and sign up," he said.