However, when Edison native Jim Kupko became fed up with the rules and culture of “globo-gyms” after he was asked to leave during a workout while performing medicine ball slams, his garage is where he turned to.
"The CrossFit program started 12 years ago in California and it's essentially defined by using varied functional movements performed with high intensity," Kupko said. "It takes movements that have been around since the dawn of man, like squats or running, and uses them to make a more efficient human being. We're not reinventing the wheel."
As he began using the program in the garage at his home, Kupko soon noticed better results than he had achieved with normal weightlifting. For Kupko, who has a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education from Kean University, the program was exactly suited to his needs as a firefighter in Newark.
"I've been involved with athletics my whole life. I played three sports in high school," he said. "My job requires me to be in top physical condition. I did bodybuilding for a long time until I came across (CrossFit). I thought I was in shape before I tried it, but this gave me a whole new perspective."Starting slowly, Kupko began with one client referral and soon began training others at his home. From there word of mouth about the success others were having with the program spread, and Kupko found himself training dozens of people at his home gym.
"I never put too much into it, until the last couple of years it's really snowballed into something big time," he said. "So it's time to get out of this space."
What began in his garage will soon become a physical reality in the township, as CrossFit Barbending will soon open its first location at 44 West Ferris Drive, Suite D in East Brusnwick.
Kupko said what sets CrossFit apart from other facilities is the sense of camaraderie among clients.
"The main thing we have is a strong sense of community. It's not a typical gym setting where you're standing around waiting for something to open up in an anti-social atmosphere," he said. "We encourage members to interact because everyone is performing the same workout in a structured class. You're getting direct instruction everyday so you don't just aimlessly wander around.
"We're going to work your whole body every day. We want you to be prepared for life and what comes your way, to be prepared for the unexpected."
Kupko said each client goes through a comprehensive evaluation prior to training to determine the right fitness program and intensity. While the program may sound daunting to those who are out of shape or with a significant amount of weight to lose, Kupko said CrossFit caters the workouts to every age group and fitness level.
"This program is universal for everyone of any physical and psychological tolerance level. What works for a pro athlete and what works for grandma are the same thing, we just vary the intensity level for everyone who comes in," Kupko said. "We teach you the nine basic movements that are the foundation of CrossFit and target the appropriate moves and intensity for each person."
Kupko, who is majority owner and head trainer for CrossFit, said the workout offers increased cardio while building muscle to address every physical element.
"The workouts vary to force your body to adapt to a new stimulus and create muscle confusion," he said. "With something like a P-90X, you repeat the same workout over the course of a month. Here you don't repeat the same workout for years."In addition to the workout, CrossFit also adds a nutrition plan for clients to follow, as Kupko noted so many people are lost when it comes to proper eating habits.
"Most people are horribly misinformed about nutrition, so we try to simplify things," he said. "We don't try to get people to do a total 180 in one shot, we ease them into it. Food is very important, so we want people to make gradual changes so they're not overwhelmed."
Kupko noted that 90 percent of food that comes in a bag or a box is not healthy, so they preach shopping the perimeter of the market for items like meat, fish, fresh produce, and other healthy food.
As Kupko's dream of owning his own gym is about to be realized with what he calls his "first baby," members of the community are invited to CrossFit's grand opening celebration on Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 44 West Ferris Drive Suite D in East Brunswick.
Th event will feature prizes, a raffle for a free one month membership, free workouts throughout the day, plus music, food and drinks. Click here for more information on CrossFit Barbending.