The Zachary CrossFit training facility was opened by Fabian Herrera with his wife Beth, a first-grade teacher at Brusly Elementary, in 2010.
"I've always had an avid interest in fitness, and I had worked in the health club industry for several years when a friend introduced me (to CrossFit)," said Herrera, "and I was hooked. I love the sense of community we have here. I see people transform in here - everyone taps into their competitive side."
At CrossFit Zachary there are no weight machines or Stairmasters, and everything is done in group settings but with each person training at his or her own fitness level and pace. "CrossFit is all about group classes," Herrera said.
"That’s where the fun, competitiveness and camaraderie come from."
CrossFit's previous location at 2060 Church Street could accommodate a 12-1 athletes to coach ratio but the new training center now features a 15-1 ratio of training and is located at 5041 La. Hwy. 19, Unit C.
There are an estimated 4,000 CrossFit affiliates worldwide - not franchises - and Herrera said each owner caters their CrossFit center to fit the city or community in which it is located.
"In Zachary, it's all about community, and CrossFit Zachary echoes that community atmosphere," Herrera said. "This is a place where adults and kids can all feel comfortable attending. Just the other day I trained a class while holding the child of a member. I don't want lack of childcare to be the reason someone cannot work out."
Herrera considers his training center as a school of fitness. "It's personal training on a different level, but what people get out of it is much, much more. They become accountable to themselves," he said.
The former personal trainer says CrossFit is also about making friends.
Everyone who attends is required to introduce themselves within the first five minutes or they will get penalized with burpees (squat thrust exercises). "I know some gyms can be intimidating but our introduction rule removes the intimidation factor," said Herrera. "Our youngest member is 13 and our oldest is 64."
Herrera, his wife and one other coach all say that the mission of CrossFit Zachary is to get athletes to commit to physical excellence every day and to eliminate "I can't" excuses.
At CrossFit Zachary workouts are never the same, so there's no danger of getting complacent or falling into a workout rut.
"We like to call it drinking the kool-aid because you'll discover things about yourself that you never knew or achieve things you never thought possible," Herrera says of his workout philosophy. "Everyone encourages each other here, we're a team, and we're here to motivate each other. I like to think of it more in terms of a coach-team relationship and we're working out to win the game."
Expect the unexpected when working out at CrossFit. "You have to be prepared for what life throws at you, and we teach that here," Herrera says. "Some people say it's too intense, but I feel that there's intensity in all things and at every level...you can be really intense about jumping jacks. It's not designed to make you puke, it's designed to make you realize where you are and where you want to be."
CrossFit offers six classes every day, six days a week and features free WODs (workouts of the day) twice a month. WODs benefit anyone wishing to check out what CrossFit is all about and they can work out for free. The last WOD was held Aug. 25.
Herrera says he believes in the CrossFit program immensely, and if his client base is any indication, then he's right for believing in it. CrossFit Zachary has grown from 45 people to 65+ in less than two months and was the catalyst for moving to a bigger training facility.
CrossFit is a place where military and ex-military, firefighters, police officers, professional athletes, housewives and students can all train side by side.
"Increased power, strength, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, stamina, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy are all important to the world’s best athletes and to our grandparents," Herrera explains. "The camaraderie and friendships built here are one thing, but it's also pretty amazing to have someone pushing you or cheering you on when you need it most.
It's not a matter of 'Can I?' but rather 'Yes, I can, and how often?'"
Herrera believes the coach-team mentality works because someone is there to teach and train you and ultimately put the ball in your court. "If you don't practice then you won't play," he said. "The workout is the game...the workout is the sport you're training for to use in your everyday life."
Next up for the CrossFit affiliate is CrossFit Kids, coming soon, Herrera hopes, in November.
Ideally, CrossFit Kids will be an after-school program for kids of all ages. They will attend after school to work out for about 30-40 minutes followed by an hour of homework or study time.
In studies on brain function after exercise, executive function, creativity and memory all improve. While exercise alone won’t make you smarter, it improves “the processing power of your brain,” a CrossFit Journal archive states.
A grand re-opening of CrossFit Zachary will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, and more details will be posted soon on www.crossfitzachary.com, where you can also find out more information about the program, how it works and ask questions, as well as watch videos, read the CrossFit journal and get your WOD.
You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Fabian Herrera at 225-505-1766.
All athletes, no matter their fitness level, are required to take two or three Foundation Classes, which are vital to the program. "Everyone is taught proper technique and about the program's format, plus it gives me an opportunity to gage the fitness level of each client," Herrera said.
There are no contracts at CrossFit, only agreements from month-to-month. However, those clients who know they would like to be here for 3-6 months at a time are offered a discount on the program, said Herrera.