POPLARVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Just about everyone at CrossFit 534 in Poplarville, including the owners, athletes and many members, all say the gym has changed their lives.
Roughly four years ago, CrossFit 534 owners Evan and Lauren Steil, who are Level 1, 2 and CrossFit Kids certified, decided to open their own gym. The couple has a passion for the fitness regimen due to its benefits in weight loss.
"I tried it all, but the one thing that actually helped me get the results I wanted, and fast, was CrossFit," Lauren Steil said. "Not only that, but CrossFit was fun and something I always looked forward to. Thanks to our friends at Yune CrossFit, I haven't looked back."
She then convinced her husband to help establish a place in Poplarville where people of all fitness levels could work with one another to achieve their weight loss goals.
It took four years for the Steils to find the perfect location for their gym, relocating from three previous locations until finally finding what Evan Steil said is "the perfect place that provides everything you need to Crossfit."
The 3,500 square foot gym they currently operate out of was named after an inspirational Bible verse, Romans 5:3-4.
The verse reads, "Not only so, be we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
The indoor/outdoor gym is tucked behind businesses off of S. Main Street, safe from traffic and ideal for the exercises CrossFit entails.
CrossFit 534 serves as a family-friendly business where members are allowed to bring their children, who can play in the ample safe space while their parents work out. Because the gym has multiple garage doors, adults can also keep an eye on their children while they play.
"With child obesity being a problem in Mississippi, we wanted to open a place where people can bring their children and just let them run around outside the facilities while the adults exercise," Lauren Steil said.
Evan Steil said he and his wife have another goal, debunking the negative misconceptions about CrossFit.
CrossFit is widely believed to be an elite training method, but Evan Steil said that although it does provide an intense workout, people do not have to be in shape to participate. In fact, he urges people who are new to fitness to start with CrossFit.
"CrossFit is functional training. In our training sessions, professional athletes do the same exercises as our first-timers. It might be with different weights, but we are all here for the same reason," Evan Steil said. "It's a different experience than just going to the gym. Here, you have a whole group encouraging each other to get better. It's just a great atmosphere and I believe that is why so many people see quick results."
CrossFit 534 members travel from as far as Hattiesburg to train with the Steils and range in age from age 3 to 60. Members can also benefit from the gym's health seminars that focus on topics like healthy eating to complement their training.
"As an athlete, I believe CrossFit is the best type of workout you can do. If you are just lifting weights, you are working on single muscles, but here, you work every single muscle the whole time while getting cardio," Pearl River Community College linebacker and CrossFit 534 member/trainer David Salser said.
CrossFit 534 holds training sessions at 5 and 8 a.m. as well as 4 and 5:30 p.m. Ladies boot camp sessions are held at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Lauren Steil said the business is in the process of offering CrossFit Kids to children ages 3-18 where they can learn the mechanics, consistency and intensity of CrossFit.
In January, CrossFit 534 will host a competition in the hopes of bringing in the best athletes from across the southeast.
Gym rates range from $50 for high school students to $100 for individuals. For more information call the Steils at 601-347-5655.