Region, Nicoya, Culture, Sports

Cross Functional: The Nicoya Coach Who Accepts No Excuses

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“No pain, no gain” could be the best way to describe Miguel Angel Martinez Lopez, one of the most extreme personal trainers in Nicoya who has dedicated himself to teaching cross functional techniques at his gym, Home Warriors, in Nicoya.

Although many people call it CrossFit, Martinez prefers to call it Cross Functional, explaining that the former name belongs to a registered trademark and permits are required to use it. However, both refer to high-intensity physical workouts.

His gym is located on the north side of the Los Angeles neighborhood’s plaza. At first sight, the facility’s tires, rocks and ropes might seem somewhat intimidating, but for those looking to change their exercise routine, see dramatic results and alter their lifestyle, it’s the right place to be.

“I was the first and only one to train in the Cross-Functional style in Nicoya, with whatever I could find – balls, tires, wheels,” said Martinez.

Though some thought he was crazy when he started, this man takes his profession very seriously and has dedicated his life to physical training. He is a member of 29 bodybuilding federations and trains clients continuously from 3 a.m. until 10 p.m.

He has also been called extreme because if he sees one of his clients in the street with a hamburger or a soda, he throws it on the ground. He does not tolerate excuses, parties, sleepless nights or a bad diet, but with complete confidence, he affirms that clients will begin to notice changes in their measurements after just a week.

Photo by Ariana Crespo - Donald Vasquez weighed 84 kilograms when he started and now he weighs 75 kilos (165 pounds) thanks to the heavy workouts.
Discipline That Hurts

The rules for the gym are written on a large wall of the garage, including calling Martinez “Señor” and coming without a watch or headphones.

Training with him is a serious thing that requires a lot of discipline. “Those who don’t want to change can’t handle the pain,” said Martinez.

Cross training is as rough as it gets and is relatively new in Nicoya, according to Martinez. It involves exercising the entire body and is based on military training methods, including obstacles and functional exercises that are designed for one concrete goal: health and form.

This technique is different from traditional gym workouts because the exercises are varied and there is no routine. In the first appointment, trainees undergo evaluations and their measurements are taken. Afterward, Martinez decides on an exercise plan and whether they should burn fat first or build muscle. Every day they work with something different: obstacles, heavy objects, weights, combat, urban training on curbs, sidewalks or parking lots, or even in water up to their knees or neck at the beach in Samara.

Sessions last between 45 minutes and one hour maximum (except for trainings at the beach). “The first few times, people can faint, see black spots, and they have urinated or defecated. When training for real, those things happen,” said Martinez.

Stephanie Valverde, who has been training with Martinez for almost a month, said that constant practice helps develop better physical fitness.

“The first time I came, I felt dead. Although it’s still hard for me, little by little I am improving and now I feel lighter than the first day.”

Without a doubt, Martinez accepts no excuses and has zero tolerance, but his muscular body and those of many of his students demonstrate that fitness only requires commitment and discipline.

The Trainer’s Schedule

Martinez also offers workshops for handicapped children, obese individuals, pregnant women, military camping and beach training in Samara on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and at the Polideportivo multisport facility in Nicoya on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Sessions cost ¢2,500 ($4.60) or clients can pay ¢25,000 ($46.25) for an entire month’s training from October to May.

Contact Martinez by email at or by calling 8925-1727.

Photo by Ariana Crespo. Sindy Hernandez, Miguel’s wife, trains for 30 to 60 minutes every day.