By Brian Shaffer

Hundreds of motivated athletes from across the state are preparing to descend upon the Florida State Fairgrounds for two grueling days of athletic competition on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6, and one local business lies at the heart of the event.

Known as The Bay Area Beatdown, this event is just one of a growing number of competitions designed for participants from the world of CrossFit, an exercise methodology that is becoming increasingly more popular locally, nationally and across the globe.

CrossFit BNI in Riverview hosted the first annual Bay Area Beatdown last October, and the event was so well attended that it was forced to move sites from its facility at 2640 S. Falkenburg Rd. to the Fairground’s Charlie Lykes Arena.

“[Everyone] can expect to see what CrossFit is all about – a good mixture of all types of athletes showcasing their skills and giving their all,” said CrossFit BNI owner, Beth Caldwell. This year’s event is expected to feature more than 400 athletes competing in four different divisions, as well as more than a thousand spectators and industry vendors from across the country.

The driving force behind this and other similar competitions is the booming popularity of CrossFit itself. Created by Greg Glassman in 2000, this innovative way of exercising attempts to condition its athletes by engaging them in constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. In a one-hour session, groups of participants are guided through a warm-up routine, strength exercise instruction, and the “workout of the day.”

In addition to the physical benefits of the intense workouts, CrossFit encourages a community of support and inclusion. One of the ways the CrossFit community comes together is through competitions like The Bay Area Beatdown.

“I love competing because it feels great to see the work that I put in is paying off,” said Sheri Clark, who will be competing in the Bay Area Beatdown’s female over 40 division.”

The number of CrossFit gyms in the area has increased over the past few years, and that reflects what’s happening in the fitness world across the country. In 2005, there were 13 gyms who registered as official CrossFit affiliates. In 2013, that number has climbed to more than 6,000.

For more information on this year’s Bay Area Beatdown, contact Mike or Beth Caldwell at CrossFit BNI. Stop by their facility or call 671-9230.


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