The were no suits and ties or high heels at a recent ribbon cutting ceremony at Ross Middle School.
Instead, dozens of students, staff members and parents donned shorts and a RossFit t-shirt to officially inaugurate the workout area that includes an outdoor training rig that will be used by students in the after school club.
Participants in the ribbon-cutting ceremony put the equipment to good use in the final RossFit workout of the day (WOD), which included a 400 meter run, 40 squats, 30 sit ups, 20 push ups and 10 pull ups.
“The most important thing is the inspiration Coach (Bobby) Macias gives the students here at Ross,” said principal Jason Yturralde. “These kids come out here everyday. They don’t complain, and they work out everyday. This isn’t just about the workout the kids get, which is great. It’s more about the self-esteem that it builds and more about the character building they get.”
The ceremony celebrated the success of RossFit, a CrossFit-inspired after school workout club funded through the Army Youth Program in Your Neighborhood. The new equipment included an outdoor training rig set in the grass in front of the campus â€” a red ribbon wrapped around it signified the growth of the program.
Macias started RossFit six years ago and has seen it grow every year. He recognized a need on his campus to help students with issues like childhood obesity, diabetes and lack of interest in healthful living.
“We have to start promoting a healthy body and mind starting at a young age,” Macias said. “I decided I wanted to do something about it.”
Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting included Burges feeder pattern principals, soldiers, UTEP cheerleaders, the Ross band and cheerleaders who came to get a glimpse of RossFit and help cut the ribbon. A group of CrossFit veterans and fitness experts judged the friendly competition, which was broken up into three categories: Ross boys, Ross girls and a third group made up of parents, teachers, EPISD staff and Yturralde.
“We decided to involve our community and invited in our own teachers, staff and members of our Armed Services who also are parents of our athletes,” Macias said. “My vision is to grow the program and foresee a day in the future where more schools will join together with their community to celebrate fitness and sweat together.”
A CrossFitter himself, Macias designed workouts based on exercises used in the popular fitness program including pull ups, ring rows, push ups, squats, wall ball shots, box jumps and running.
“Showing kids to train their entire body translates directly to their success in school,” Macias said. “I’ve seen it and I know it works. This program teaches self discipline, teaches respect for one’s self and for others and, more importantly, gets kids of the couch, away from staring at screens for hours at a time.”
The changes are noticeable too and not just in the students’ physical health but also their overall countenance.
“It has changed everything. First of all, it builds a community,” Macias said. “They don’t look at themselves as students anymore but as athletes. Everything from their STAAR scores to their self-respect and respect for others has been impacted in a positive way.”
Approximately 120 students participate in the popular outdoor workout throughout the year â€“ sometimes fighting wind and bitter cold to complete their workout of the day.
Student Aaron Jackman, who joined the club after cross-country season, took to the program instantly. His enthusiasm and commitment — not to mention his after workout dance — earned him the “Beast of the Year” award.
“It’s a really good workout. I like getting out here and getting my sweat on,” Jackman said. “It helped strengthen my legs so I can do a better sprint.”
The CrossFit-based workouts have helped Jackman improve not only in track, where he has surpassed his own personal records, but also in school.
“The program is so good you don’t even notice that it helps you,” Jackman said. “I was confident when I was doing the STAAR test. Coach tells us to never give up, so I didn’t give on the test.”