- Associated Press - Sunday, November 9, 2014

MCHENRY, Ill. (AP) - Two McHenry County women each cite different reasons for starting CrossFit, a fast-growing worldwide fitness trend.

Katie Arnold, 27, of Crystal Lake was looking for a new way to work out in May, while 24-year-old Samantha Laufer of Harvard started in July to regain strength after a debilitating car crash.

The two have since developed a joint purpose: to use CrossFit as a base for a yearlong, cross-country charitable mission they call 50 States in a Year. They will be leaving Nov. 1.

“Basically, our mission is to go around the country and spread health, wellness and fitness, while hosting fundraising events at different CrossFit boxes (gyms) in each of the states,” Arnold said. “We’re raising money for CrossFit for Hope, which funds research for childhood cancer, as well as a few other causes.”

CrossFit, established as a company in 2000, is a fitness regimen, competitive fitness sport and philosophy, according to the company’s website. CrossFit for Hope is the official fundraising arm of the company.



Incorporating interval training, Olympic weightlifting and cardio activities, among other such methods in its workouts, CrossFit is summed up in one statement on the site: “A regimen of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity in a communal environment leads to health and fitness.”

Given its intensity, CrossFit in recent years has been associated with various safety concerns. However, Arnold and Laufer said their experiences at CrossFit AMRAP, 9114 S. Virginia Road, Lake in the Hills, have suggested otherwise. Along with requiring six introductory sessions, Arnold said the local box emphasizes a slow pace and a gradual progression of weights.

“It depends on the training you get and the precautions you take,” Laufer said, adding she’s still working her way up from 30-pound weights.

Apart from the fitness side of things, though, Arnold said one of the biggest draws of CrossFit was the community that comes with it.

“Everyone is so friendly, and they want to get to know you and want to support you,” she said, which she added has helped in planning their trip. Having worked as a campaign manager in the music industry, Arnold said 50 States in a Year has been planned in similar fashion to a band tour.

“We’ve been reaching out to different boxes, and they’re totally on board to host different fundraising events,” she said.

For the owner of the Lake in the Hills affiliate, Brittany Lohmann, it’s a point of pride that the 50 States in a Year trip is starting at her gym.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Lohmann said. “I think CrossFit is well known for its philanthropy work. I’m proud they’re doing such a wonderful thing.”

Arnold and Laufer have set up a gofundme page to help raise money to supplement their personal savings for travel expenses. The duo said they’re hoping to donate $200,000 to CrossFit for Hope at the end of their journey.

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Source: The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald, https://bit.ly/1EVjMkC

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Information from: The Northwest Herald, https://www.nwherald.com

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