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Coach Abdel-Kader Heraki stands atop the wooden boxes, CrossFitters gathered around, sweating and panting.Chiseled, with nary a visible ounce of fat, coach Heraki seems to embody the CrossFit ethos. He speaks animatedly and with enthusiasm to a group of newcomers attending an introductory workout meant to familiarize them with the principles of the sport. An exercise philosophy and company founded in 2000, CrossFit has many adherents worldwide who swear by its mix of high-intensity exercises that combine running, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and bodyweight exercises like pushups and squats. Heraki first discovered CrossFit during a visit to a gym in Montreal in summer 2009 . Workouts are never the same from day to day – the organization that founded CrossFit posts a new "WOD," or workout of the day, on its website every morning.Now, Heraki has his own CrossFit gym on Australia Street near Raouche, which opened nearly three months ago.To build the gym, Heraki converted part of an underground garage in the building into a brightly lit room where pumping music, his own shouts of encouragement and the occasional roar of a car engine enhance the desire to soldier on with the workout.He designed the pullup rig on AutoCAD, and the wood exercise boxes that you jump on in some workout routines were built by hand. The competitive nature of the workouts, which are often timed and the performance recorded, can also be intimidating.
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