Many people wonder what is Crossfit? They may have heard it’s exercise, torture, craziness, even a cult.
To Sonny Norton, owner of Crossfit Fire Ant, it is the start of a new lifestyle.
You see, Sonny was not always fit, not always an athlete. Suffering from childhood asthma and severe allergies, Sonny was not able to run and play as other children. This began a sedentary lifestyle and led to him weighing over 300 pounds as a freshman in high school. “I was your typical overweight high school guy-friend. Goofy with a great personality, but not datable.” As a sophomore in college, he decided it was time for action and started unhealthy dieting and extreme exercise regiments. He lost weight, but was unsuccessful in keeping it off. Sonny jokes, “It didn’t help that Little Debbie was my mistress, but I finally decided to get a catch I had to be a catch.”
In 2012, he had been successful in maintaining an approximate weight of 240, and married his college crush, Beth Short Norton. While at a local event, they were invited to Crossfit by a college friend. They went and were hooked. “If someone had told me how simple being healthy really is, I could have saved myself tons of money and belly ache. Crossfit is constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity, while eating meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar-keeping intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat. That I can do. That is a lifestyle, not a diet, not a gimmick.” Constantly varied means everyday is different, every workout unique. Functional movements are exactly what they sound like, movements that translate into everyday life and make you stronger for what you need to do on a daily basis. High intensity is relative to the person, which is what makes Crossfit for everyone.
Greg Glassman, founder of Crossfit states, “The needs of an Olympic lifter and a grandmother differ by degree, not kind.” The lifter needs to squat and return to standing with the most weight, the grandmother needs to be able to stand up from her chair without falling. Crossfit can and does train both. “This is a lifestyle for us. Mississippi is ground zero for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, you name the bad stuff and we’ve got it. We can change that. We can make Mississippi healthy.”
Sonny’s wife, a physical therapist and former college athlete, always adds, “Not getting hurt is big in my book. Crossfit is the only workout I’ve found that has a coach training you, where you are simultaneously cheering for and wanting to beat the person beside you. Fun and competitive with a coach making sure I don’t kill myself, that’s what I love about Crossfit.”
So why Crossfit Fire Ant? Crossfit is not only about being strong, but also about community and resilience. “We wanted something southern, but also that signified Crossfit, so we came up with Fire Ant.” Sonny and Beth would love to share their experience and lifestyle with New Albany.
They invite you to join a class, your first week is free. “We will try not to pressure anyone, but we are a little biased, we feel like the CrossFit methodology is by far the best.”
You can find more information at www.crossfitfireant.com.