news-category: Health and Wellness

Gardner-Webb University CrossFit Offers Virtual and Outdoor Options

crossfit training

Team from GWU Takes Third Place in Recent Competition

Because of Covid-19 physical distancing requirements, CrossFit Gardner-Webb University offers daily virtual workouts, as well as outdoor options. The alternative formats allow faculty, staff and students to maintain or increase their level of fitness. GWU CrossFit Coach Melissa Battista and Admissions Counselor Ezekiel Martin used the time to prepare for a CrossFit partner competition. However, three days before the event, Martin sustained a back injury and was unable to compete.

Battista asked Lindsey Blanton, GWU Undergraduate Admissions event and hospitality coordinator, to step in as her partner. Blanton, a 2009 GWU alumna, began CrossFit last year and exercises six days a week. Her strength has improved, but the first time she picked up a 100-pound sandbag was a few days before the competition, held recently in Charlotte, N.C. “Needless to say, I was a bit anxious,” Blanton shared. “Thankfully, I’d still been working out very regularly, so I felt semi-prepared. This was my first RX competition, so I felt a bit intimidated, but Coach Melissa was very encouraging. I knew I just needed to show up and do my best.”

Lindsey Blanton on crossfit machine
Lindsey Blanton, a 2009 GWU alumna and employee in Undergraduate Admissions, competes in a recent CrossFit event.

In CrossFit, the RX division means participants perform the prescribed workout with no modifications. Competing in the Female/Female RX Division, Battista and Blanton took third place and a spot on the awards podium. “We competed in four different workouts throughout the day,” Battista related. “The workouts used a combination of endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and teamwork. I knew this competition was coming up since March, so I prepared accordingly by increasing the amount of work I do in a workout for a month in advance. I also spent more time on specific movements for the competition. Lindsey had zero time, so she is the real deal superhero.”

Gardner-Webb became a licensed CrossFit affiliate in 2018, and in the summer of 2019, the Suttle Wellness Center was renovated to include a CrossFit space with new equipment, rigs and weights. Battista, a 2011 GWU alumna, was also hired to lead the CrossFit program. While at Gardner-Webb, she played on the women’s soccer team. She taught school for seven years in Cleveland County, N.C., and worked out at the CrossFit gym in Shelby, N.C. She is a CrossFit L1 Trainer.

Melissa Battista
Melissa Battista, a 2011 alumna, is the CrossFit Coach for Gardner-Webb.

“My goals for CrossFit GWU are first and foremost, to be an instant family, community, or place of belonging for students, staff, and faculty who are interested in fitness at Gardner-Webb,” Battista noted. “Secondly, I want to help athletes at every level of physical ability to become a better version of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Thirdly, I’d like to become more involved in our community outside of the gym.”

Blanton encouraged anyone who is thinking about taking CrossFit classes to give them a try. “I feel stronger both physically and mentally,” she observed. “When I started out, I was so timid and insecure, but now I feel more confident in the movements and my abilities. I would have laughed in your face if you told me I would be able to do some of these things after having two kids. We use an app to log our workouts and PRs (Personal Records), and it’s just awesome to be able to look back at what I was doing six months ago and see the progress of what I’m capable of doing today. Also, I’m part of a community of people who are some of my best friends and biggest supporters.”

CrossFit classes for the fall semester will be offered with modifications to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines. For more information, email either [email protected] or Melissa Battista at [email protected].

women training for crossfit

Self-care and At-Home Workouts

Melissa Battista and Lindsey Blanton share their ideas for practicing self-care and working out at home with no equipment.

What is your favorite way to practice self-care?

Blanton: A good workout with very loud music, a pedicure, and playing with my kids.

Battista: Working out and being outside in the sun.

Share a workout idea that anyone can do at home:

Blanton: Air squats, lunges, and burpees—just do them until you can’t move anymore


Option No. 1—Complete a 1-mile run; 100 burpees; and end with another 1-mile run.

Option No. 2Requires a deck of cards

Pull a random card and perform the number of reps of the corresponding movement for that card. For example, if you draw 7 of Spades, perform 7 Jump Lunges. Draw another card and perform the corresponding movements in as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.

  • Hearts = Push-Ups
  • Spades = Jump Lunges
  • Diamonds = Sit-ups
  • Clubs = Air Squats
  • Jokers = Burpees


  • Aces = 1 rep
  • Jack = 11 reps
  • Queen = 12 reps
  • King = 13 reps

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