Fitness — The gym has grown to more than 150 members and will send about 20 athletes to Summer Games

As Tonya Allen and Bethany Quist take turns carrying each other down the 2400 block of Hancock Street in Newberg, there are smiles on their faces even as they cry, “Why am I doing this?”

The duo is close to completing its workout at the Newberg CrossFit gym, which has gotten Allen, Quist and about 150 other members hooked on the intense, functional and group-based exercise SETH GORDON - Fit is as fit does - Newberg CrossFit members AnnaLissa Amaya (left) and Bethany Quist push sleds as part of their workout Monday.

They smile because the support and encouragement they get by working out in a group makes it fun. They push through the difficult exercises because the harder they are, the better they feel when they’re finished.

“I joined in October by myself,” Quist said. “I was 17 years old and had never done any sort of weightlifting at all. When I first came to a 5:30 a.m. class, everybody was so inviting, wanting to get to know you and helping you. Even that early in the morning, everyone is awake, laughing and having a good time. For me it was the people that drew me in.”

Because people’s times, weights and results are recorded in CrossFit, there is a sense of competition built into every workout and when practitioners formally compete to determine who is the most fit, it more resembles a sport. That’s what drew Maria Acosta, a former Newberg High School athlete, who picked up the sport about 18 months ago when Newberg CrossFit first opened and is now a trainer there.

“I’ve never known how to move weight like that and it’s thrilling,” Acosta said. “I know for women and especially for me, being able to do movements like that, move weight and hit PRs is such a huge confidence boost, aside from getting fit or losing weight.”

Dundee resident AnnaLissa Amaya said she has never been athletic and never thought she would be, but the confidence boost she’s received from doing CrossFit has translated into every part of her life.

Newberg CrossFit owners Doug and Abby Hildreth founded the gym to share the benefits of CrossFit with others and have been thrilled with its growth in just 18 months.

“We run, we jump, we throw, we lift weights, we do gymnastics,” Doug Hildreth said. “Essentially, the idea is we try to do things different all the time and do things that relate to everyday life. We do a lot of stuff that’s functional. The point is that it makes people’s fitness applicable.”

Along with the Hildreths, Acosta is one of about 20 athletes from Newberg CrossFit who will compete at the Oregon CrossFit Summer Games Aug. 24-25 in Bend. Acosta competed for the first time at the Summer Games a year ago and placed second in her division.

Doug Hildreth picked up the sport three or four years ago and now competes in the Rx division, which features heavier weights and tasks so difficult only the best competitors can complete the workouts, which are not disclosed until the competition.

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