// article: Jason Thomas
// photos: Tyler stewart
Serendipity seemed to play a role in the creation of the latest CrossFit gym in Southern Indiana.
Tim Cook was preparing for a deployment overseas with an Indiana National Guard long-surveillance unit based in Seymour.
Walker Johnson moved to the Louisville area for dental school after earning a bachelor’s of biology degree in Georgia.
Cook’s deployment was called off. The former professional mixed martial artist was left wondering what to do with his life. Johnson’s family had a long history in the medical field. His career as a dentist seemed preordained — but he saw a different life.
Cook and Johnson, two searching souls, met at a gym in Southern Indiana, where Cook was a personal trainer, and made fast friends. The conversation eventually turned to opening their own gym.
In January, CrossFit Outlook opened in Jeffersonville. While the facility is a work in progress, the business partners share a fitness vision unique to Southern Indiana with a philosophy of life is all about your outlook.
“I came up here to do one thing and got mixed into the CrossFit thing,” said Johnson, 24, Clarksville, who grew up in New Albany. “That’s how life goes, right?”
Life for Cook and Johnson has been filled with building a business and client base, which sits at 53 and growing. For the past three years, Cook, who has his Level One CrossFit certification, has been going full bore in CrossFit, which is all the rage nationally.
His MMA past serves as a valuable foundation when participating in CrossFit competitions. The CrossFit Games are underway across the country, in which participants earn points at local affiliates, including CrossFit Outlook. The top athletes from each of the 17 regions qualify for regionals that are held for three weekends in May. The top athletes from three regions compete for qualify spots in the CrossFit Games in California where 80 people — 40 men, 40 women — battle for the title of Fittest on Earth.
“One thing that translates when you’re in a cage and trying to fight is there’s no running, you’ve agreed upon combat,” Cook, 31, Jeffersonville, said of his MMA past. “With a competition, you have the same feeling. It’s fight or flight. You better believe it’s the same philosophy as a fight.
“It’s definitely helped build my cardio and respiratory endurance.”
Johnson had a passion for being the best triathlete in the world. In search for the ultimate workout to prepare his body, he turned to CrossFit, which can be tailored to be specific to any sport, according to Johnson. Biking, swimming, rucking, weightlifting — Johnson says CrossFit is the ultimate workout.
“Overall with general fitness you can make it as sport-specific as you want,” Johnson said. “You can tailor it to whatever is best.”
For Johnson, that meant less time on the bike and in the pool because he could create a CrossFit workout — which lasts only about an hour — to improve his endurance and strength.
“That’s the glory of CrossFit to me,” said Johnson, who also is Level One certified as well as certified in CrossFit Mobility.
CrossFit is adaptable to any skill level and physical ability, said Doug Paswater, who has worked out at CrossFit Outlook since the beginning.
“I had to start out slow,” said Paswater, 50, Underwood. “They will bring you up to speed and watch you and monitor you to make sure you don’t get hurt. I know when to back down, when to bump it up and push it.”
Joanna Weaver enjoys the diversity of the exercises.
“I never get bored here,” said Weaver, 33, New Albany. “There’s always something different and challenging.”
CrossFit is defined as “that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity),” according to CrossFit.com.
“It’s by far the fastest growing sport in the world,” Cook said. “It’s not a fad whatsoever. A lot of people argue it isn’t a sport for different reasons. In my honest opinion I 100 percent believe it’s the next evolution of fitness. It’s always evolving and using the best principal of whatever fitness component you choose.”
CrossFit also emphasizes community. CrossFit Outlook’s philosophy is virtuosity, persistence and camaraderie. It’s all about how you approach life.
“People come in here and see we’re real people and not telling them a bunch of bull-crap,” Johnson said. “Each day we teach our clients so we can give them the best service we can give them.”
Published from the May/June 2015 Southern Indiana Fitness Source.