“We love people,” said Lourdes. “Our desire is to help them regardless of age or ability to reach their goals. CrossFit is a vehicle that God has used to impact my family and friends.”
She added that it’s taught her to set her own limitation and help her to embrace what she loves: community.
Their desire to help others is the main reason Gus and Lourdes started their own CrossFit business, Fit 4 Life Farm.
“I had three knee surgeries and CrossFit really helped me get back into being able to play sports, primarily soccer,” said Gus. “So, I decided that it works, and I wanted to help others get in shape and work through their injuries or whatever situations they’ve got.”
Fit 4 Life Farm is a 20-acre converted hay farm in Limestone. The family’s home is on the hill above the barn. A dirt track and obstacle course are behind the barn, a playground and soccer field are across from it. The barn was remodeled and now has concrete and rubber floors, bathrooms and showers. An obstacle course, volleyball field, soccer field and off-road bike course are on the property.
Each CrossFit affiliation has a name. The Florez family chose CrossFit Glorified.
“The names we wanted weren’t available, and this one happened to be one that fit what our faith is and what we believe from a spiritual perspective,” said Gus.
Fit 4 Life represents the concept that the Florez family lives by: “being fit for everyday life.” They each participate in CrossFit workouts daily.
CrossFit is a fitness regimen and business developed and branded by Greg Glassman and his ex-wife Lauren Jenai in 2000 in Santa Cruz, California.
It is a combination of physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport. The workouts incorporate elements from seven types of fitness training regimens: high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, jump training, gymnastics, kettlebell lifting, calisthenics and strongman.
According to the CrossFit website, there are over 13,000 affiliates worldwide.
“The methodology of CrossFit is the same for all the affiliates,” said Gus. “If you’ve got your certifications, your methodology is not going to change. What changes is the space itself and how you design it and the atmosphere that you create, from the music, to the way the box flows and the people that go to the box.”
The barn, like all fitness buildings in CrossFit, is known as the box. It’s the building where many of the workouts take place. The walls of the barn are covered from floor to ceiling with objects used for training. Some of the items used are kettlebells, jump ropes, hula-hoops, barbells, bands, pullup rigs, treadmills and rings.
Gus and his three certified coaches start athletes out on polyvinyl chloride pipes, to judge their technique and to measure their level of fitness. Then, they determine what workouts would be best for them. From there they help that person work their way up to higher levels of fitness.
CrossFit has a competitive element. Every summer athletes compete against one another at Aromas, California, in an event called the CrossFit Games.
The Florez family also hosts competitions at the farm. The nearest upcoming event is the Turkey Throwdown on Nov. 18.
“It’s called a throwdown because before CrossFit became so big, one or two boxes would get together and compete for bragging rights as the fittest athletes,” said Gus. Now that so many people participate and there are more boxes, a larger number of people can get involved.
Another event is called Spring Obstacle Course Run.
They use it as a fundraiser for an organization called Mountain Vision. It’s part of Benevolence Ministries in Greeneville, Tennessee.
“We did it in May last year, and plan to do it in April this year,” said Lourdes.
“I’ve seen people overcome injuries through CrossFit. I myself came through a significant shoulder injury by doing it. Gus and the coaches at CrossFit Glorified actually rehabbed me through my injury.”
— Zac Bennett
Zac Bennett, a 32-year-old Veteran Affairs medical coder, has been an athlete at CrossFit Glorified for two years.
Before starting CrossFit, Bennett was doing ordinary workouts at a regular gym. His wife, Kayla began going to Fit 4 Life Farm before he did. She and the Florezes talked him into giving it a try. He knew after the first workout that it was something that he would enjoy. He liked the challenge, competitive spirit, the camaraderie and fellowship.
Bennett suggests CrossFit to people every chance he gets.
“I’ve seen people overcome injuries through CrossFit,” said Bennett. “I myself came through a significant shoulder injury by doing it. Gus and the coaches at CrossFit Glorified actually rehabbed me through my injury.”
Bennett has also seen people come through mental anguish, not only physical ailments, with the help of CrossFit.
Bennett has been to other affiliates, but he said that there is something special about CrossFit Glorified: a sense of community.
Those at the farm are not just a group of people coming together for fitness; it’s a family atmosphere.
“We cut up with each other, have a good time sweat together. I consider those at CrossFit Glorified as brothers and sisters,” said Bennett.
At the farm, some of the classes do regular workouts and others cater to a specific group of people.
One of these groups is called S.W.E.A.T. It’s an all-woman group that incorporates activities that aren’t done in the regular classes. For example, women do dances for warmups before their workout of the day.
CrossFit Glorified does not just offer activities for adults.
The farm provides a soccer program for children ages 2-13. The goal is to help the children build skills, balance and coordination. Lourdes Florez said it helps the younger ones learn to socialize in a group environment. The children have an extra sense of comfort because they start out with a parent. As they start to get more comfortable the parent will slowly move back, and let them play on their own.
“It’s my favorite thing to teach,” said Lourdes. “We do it twice a week. It’s a lot of fun.”
CrossFit Glorified also offers the option of field day for group field trips, and provides party venues.
“CrossFit’s doable for anyone,“ said Gus. “There are no limitations.”
Top left: Husband and wife, Gus and Lourdes Florez, live for God and fitness. Middle left: Gus' Friday 5 o'clock class is growing in strength. Above right: The box, where the action happens. Bottom left: Lourdes and children are excited about Tots Soccer.