Beads of sweat appear on their foreheads, their breathing quickens and their muscles pulse-but they swear it is worth it.

They are the members of the new “X-Fit” fitness group at Keene State College and have nothing but positive comments to make about the workout that has been challenging their endurance and stamina since they picked up the routine.

Enter the Spaulding Gymnasium and find them lifting, throwing, jump-roping and testing their physical abilities any way they can.

Nicole Morano, a junior at KSC who started the group, has been doing Crossfit for two years. Crossfit, she explained, is a workout series including all types of motions.

Brittany Ballantyne / Administrative Executive Editor: Ryan Heil performs an “X-fit” exercise in the Spaulding Gym.

Brittany Ballantyne / Administrative Executive Editor: Ryan Heil performs an “X-fit” exercise in the Spaulding Gym.

Senior Ryan Heil said the workout is not predictable, as there is something new or different to do every day. Heil performs Olympic bar work, uses rings for various types of pull-ups and throws in a bit of a rowing workout. “That’s the nice thing about Crossfit, it’s a little bit of everything,” Heil said. Morano said the “X-fit” group will follow a similar routine to Crossfit and complete workouts of the day, or WOD’s.

Morano explained these workouts last about 15 minutes and could be, for example, three rounds of 10 push-ups. At Crossfit gyms, there are timers for athletes to watch, “so once you’re done, you can see how long it took you and maybe a month later, if you still wish to do that work out you can, to see if you’ve improved,” Morano said.

She explained that she hopes to familiarize people with these workouts to “create a healthy environment.” She also hopes to encourage others to try the exercises.“I definitely want people to set goals for themselves and obviously with being a club on campus, I want to create a community,” Morano said.

Senior Marc Young said this club will help students not only get in shape, but put a few more dollars back in their pockets. Young said he had been doing Crossfit at home, but upon his arrival back at Keene, the Crossfit gyms in the area were too expensive. The student deal at the Keene Crossfit gym was $100 a month. “We can’t afford that, no one in college can afford that,” Young said. Caitlin Kelly, a KSC junior who is also part of the “X-fit” club, is thrilled to be a part of the group and save money while doing so.  “I can work out and not have to be poor,” she said with a giggle.

Kelly understands that Crossfit can seem intimidating, but said that “everyone can do the workout. You can always modify it to do it to your level, you don’t have to go in there and do just the big, heavy, weight lifting.” She encouraged people to not to be afraid of the idea, and Young agreed.

He explained that there is no experience necessary when getting into the routines. “Crossfit can be tailored to anyone and any ability,” Young said, and pointed out that regardless of what skills one may lack, that person can work towards achieving that skill.

“I don’t want people to be afraid of it,” said Morano.

She understands that some may be concerned with the shape they are in to even begin Crossfit style exercises, but stressed that the point is to get into the shape you want to be in. Heil said Crossfit has helped him learn mental toughness.

His favorite part of working out is seeing his results. Whether it be doing more sets or lifting heavier weights, he said “you learn to push through everything and overcome it.” When leaving the gym, Morano said she is tired, but that is how she knows she did her workout correctly. She, like the other “X-fit” members, admitted that she has her own struggles with workouts.

Though she faces some challenges, Morano said she “want[s] to feel like I accomplished something after.”

Young said each athlete has to put all of their physical effort into their routine for an extended period of time. Of course, Young said it is “very intense and that’s the hardest thing about it, but that’s the thing I  love about it. That’s the thing that everyone that does Crossfit loves about it,” he said.

Being a personal trainer back at home, Young explained that he works with various routines and different clients, but that Crossfit is so unique that it stands alone.

Though Young has not performed in any Crossfit competitions, he said that is not the point for him. Instead, he does it for his own personal fitness. Heil said he believes Crossfit is something that will progress even further and improve health nationally. Each of the “X-fit” members has one goal, however, and that is to start some of those improvements here at KSC.

Young said, “We’re a good bunch of people that are accepting, just trying to help all types of people get more physically active.”


Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at

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