Most CrossFitters know their Fran time. "Having a sub 2 minute and 30 second Fran is amazing, like running under a 4-minute mile," Piccolino said. Froio said his best Fran is 4:37, "kind of mediocre."
But there are risks with CrossFit. In 2005, Glassman began warning his followers about exertional rhabdomyolysis, which he described in a CrossFit journal entry as a "potentially lethal systemic meltdown initiated by the kidneys in response to the presence of shed muscle-fiber debris and exhaust in the bloodstream."
CrossFit now requires training certification through the American National Standards Institute. Trainers learn how to properly demonstrate exercises and movements, and how to work with individual participants to ensure they are doing the workouts with proper intensity and the right amount of weights for their fitness level -- for both results and safety.
Marcus St. John, a 39-year-old cardiologist at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, works out regularly at Peak360 CrossFit. He said while there is risk of different types of injury, workouts are generally safe if done correctly and without ego.
"I'm OK lifting the same weight as the women," said St. John, who stands at six feet eight but is thin at 205 pounds.
Vidal Lazo turned a Tire Kingdom in Miami into a CrossFit Kingdom nearly three years ago. He said it offers something for everybody.
"CrossFit on YouTube looks intimidating," Lazo said. "But the majority of people in CrossFit are regular people. ... There is CrossFit for kids, teens, masters over 45, disabled veterans and women who are pregnant. It's adaptable."
CrossFit makes money on trainings for certification and specialty seminars, most of which are sold out months in advance now. It also licenses its name to gyms for an annual fee. Pizanelli pays just $500 per year since he was among the early CrossFit affiliates. Shondelle Soloman-Miles, who transformed her Synergize gym in Hollywood into CrossFit 954 in 2009, pays $2,000 per year. Now the license fee is about $3,000 per year and expected to rise, she said.
"It's still way less than a franchise with no independence," she said. "I like that you can run your box the way you want to."
In South Florida, most CrossFit gyms charge an average of $125 per month. While it's more expensive than most traditional gym memberships, it comes with trainers who work with you at every session.
Surprisingly, women make up the majority of CrossFitters at many South Florida gyms. Many also work out at home.
"When I turned 41, everything started heading south," said Helen Mopsick, a mother of three young boys. Her husband, Adam, trains her, as well as her sister and friend, at 5:30 a.m.
"In just three weeks, it changes your body," Mopsick said. "And it's exciting to do a pull-up. I'm doing things I wasn't able to do as a child."
Soloman-Miles recently led a class with her workout of the day that included 10 bar-facing burpees, which she had a college student demonstrate. "You jump down, kick your legs back, let your chest touch the ground, kick your legs in and jump up. Then you jump over the barbell lying on the ground," she said.
A few yards away, Nadine Laurent, 37, was doing 215-pound dead lifts. A year ago she could only do 110 pounds.
"Right now, CrossFit is growing so rapidly; maybe at some point it will fizzle out," said Solomon-Miles, 37. "But I still think there will always be a CrossFit population of people passionate about it. I'll be doing this until I'm 90 with a walking stick."
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