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Athletes gather in RH for fitness competition
Heather Johnson in red
Heather Johnson lifts a barbell during a series of deadlifts Saturday at the Functional Training Center in Richmond Hill. - photo by Julia Harison

Things got serious at 518 Edsle Drive on Saturday morning.

There, athletes from surrounding areas gathered in the garage-like gym of the Functional Training Center to measure their strengths in a “throwdown” competition.

“We have been trying to generate interest in a league where we can have competitions with season playoffs, kind of like a bowling league,” Austin Behle, owner/coach at the CrossFit-style gym, said. “This was an experiment of ours to see if there was any interest in it.”

Laura Bligh, also a coach at the FTC, explained a little about the strength and fitness gym and its mission.

“We have a focus on strength. No matter what your goals are, if they are building strength, fat loss or losing weight, the key of our approach is to build strength,” Bligh said. The way to get that goal is to build a basis of strength. Having stronger muscles helps to burn fat, it increases the metabolism, and that is why we create the basis of strength.

“All of group fitness classes will always have the strength component to it, and then we do the high-intensity interval training. We have people of all levels, from beginner to people who are interested in competing in CrossFit outside of this area.”

With more than 80 athletes showing up from gyms in Rincon, Savannah, Pooler and Richmond Hill, the FTC throwdown was deemed a success.

So what exactly is a throwdown? In short, it is a team competition with each team consisting of two athletes. All the teams have to compete in the first workout in hopes of filling the nine open spots in two divisions of the second workout.

In the second workout, teams must execute five rounds of 100 repetitions of certain exercises, like deadlifts, burpees and pull ups.

During the rounds, the workout is to be split between team members — one works while the other rests. The team can strategize however it likes, but the members may not work at the same time.

“Today was exciting, it was my personal throwdown,” Johnny Haines of Pooler said. “It was a great atmosphere, and it fun being cheered on by everyone. It really made you push hard. And I can’t wait to do it again.”

Read more in the Jan. 15 edition of the News.

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