Doug Parker, Director of Engineering with Uniti Fiber and co-owner of CrossFit Fairhope, loves to geek out with computers and get under the hood of classic muscle cars. Yet, his passion is helping others improve their mental and physical health through fitness.
Physical activity is in Doug’s blood from his Division 1 basketball days at Liberty University. With his glory days behind him, he needed to connect to a fitness community that challenged him with that all too familiar flare of sport.
His competitive fire was rekindled when Doug was introduced to Crossfit in 2010. Crossfit offered both motivation from group collaboration and the professional instruction from a “coach.” Crossfit has a reputation for making its members suffer mentally and physically. Doug says, “The hardest part about Crossfit is walking through the door.” The reality is that many people give up on working out due to a lack of results. If more pain led to more gains, they would be more inclined to make the trade.
Running a couple miles may help you burn off that appetizer but it won’t make a dent in the calories deposited from the remainder of the meal. Yet, that little physical activity is enough to energize our hunger and often gives us undeserving permission to overeat, make bad food choices, or both. Doug noted during lunch that the body improves from adaptation. Crossfit is designed to shock the body with a new stimulus, so that the body can adapt and improve. Yet, the intensity of the WOD’s (Workout of the Day) also binds the community. Crossfitters bond through mentally stressful and physically challenging physical activity.
In the crossfit gym, it’s the small steps forward that will get you over the big hurdles. Moving weight at a high rate of speed produces stronger individuals, who are prepared for both the unknown and the unthinkable. Athletes that surrender to the transformational power of suffering report feedback rooted in emotional gratification and boosted confidence. They experience a revitalization of mind, body, and soul.
The two biggest myths about Crossfit are that it’s too expensive and that their athletes are too prone to injury. Doug is quick to point out that compared to personal training, Crossfit is a bargain. The cost also produces a community that believes strongly in investing in their long term health. To avoid injury, Doug advises checking your ego at the door. The goal is not to rack the heaviest weight on the bar. The goal is for each individual member being able to consistently improve on the time it takes them to successfully complete the WOD.