By Jason A. Smith
Ann Sims, of Hampton, vowed five months ago to begin exercising for just one month.
"When I started, I couldn't do three push-ups consecutively," said Sims, a 41-year-old, stay-at-home, mother of four. "Within a month, I was able to do 50 pushups in one workout ... I'm more fit now than I've ever been in my entire life."
Sims' workouts at CrossFit Pulse gym, at 860 Dailey Mill Road in McDonough, began on Aug. 20. Since then, she said, a variety of routines, and helpful trainers, have contributed to what she describes as "monumental" progress.
In the first four weeks, she said, she slimmed down by two dress sizes, from a 10/11, to an 8. "I don't care about the weight ... when I see my clothes fitting," she said. Sims explained that she dropped only six pounds -- from 164 to 158 -- but the program enabled her to tone her muscles and trim inches from her body.
"Our program is fun and never boring, and you have a trainer that pushes you and encourages you through every workout," said Bryan Shockley, who is a co-owner of the gym with his wife, Amy.
Shockley said the couple opened the gym in June, after he found success on a personal level through CrossFit.com, an online workout regimen with which the facility is now affiliated.
"I started doing the workouts 2 1/2 years ago, before opening the gym, and I found nothing else that compared," said Shockley, 44. "It trains the whole body in every aspect of fitness, whether you want to lose a few pounds, or become an elite athlete."
He said he believes the CrossFit program is effective because it can be adapted to any person's fitness level. Trainers employ a mixture of running, rowing machines, weight lifting, barbell training and gymnastics for patrons as young as eight, to as old as 60, or more, he explained.
He said cardiovascular training and nutrition information are incorporated into various aspects of the exercise regimens. "If you do our workout, you understand where the 'pulse' comes from, because when you exercise, your pulse goes through the roof," he said.
"We feel like we're a benefit to the community, because we're giving people the training they need to accomplish their fitness goals," he said. "I want real people doing real workouts, and getting huge results."
The gymn's workout sessions are about an hour long, and are designed to appeal to a wide range of physical abilities, said Amy Shockley, 41. "Within two weeks, you can see a significant difference," she said.
CrossFit Pulse members are required to keep a "success journal" to monitor their progress with each session. "It's a measurement guide for your improvement, your wellness and your overall fitness level," Amy Shockley said. She said the gym has a CrossFit Football program, which is geared toward athletes pursuing that sport.
The staff of trainers includes well-schooled workers, she said. Jason Bryant, a lieutenant with the Henry County Fire Department, and a football coach at Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (ELCA), is one of them.
The 11-year, fire-service veteran said he encourages his firemen at Station No. 3 in Stockbridge to go to the gym, to preserve their health. "The biggest problems firemen have are heart attacks and things like that," said Bryant, 36. "We can really see the benefits doing our jobs now," he said. "We don't get near as tired as we used to. We're in much better condition, physically and mentally."
Bryant, a coach at ELCA for the last eight years, said he wants to ensure his players are equipped with the tools they need to excel on the field. "Physically, they can do what they need to do," he added. "We're training them mentally. What that means is training your mind to overcome pain, that your body is showing by being tired. A 15-or 16-year-old kid can push himself a lot further than they think they can. What we want to do is to train their mind ... and train their body to be able to do even more."
More than 200 people have enrolled at CrossFit within the last six months, according to the Shockleys, and there are 75 training now.
John Selfe, 43, of McDonough, is receiving training, along with his 15-year-old son, Jonathan, who plays football at Union Grove High School. A real-estate appraiser, Selfe said the gym provides him with a "total body workout," while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
"Every day is a different adventure," he said. "The variety of what you're doing is what makes it easier to stay with it."
Exercise packages at CrossFit Pulse are available for individuals and families, as well as students and public-safety personnel. A free trial of the facility is also offered each Saturday at 9 a.m. For more details, call (678) 583-0704, or visit www.crossfitpulse.com.