It all began with a weight bench, some metal weights, one Olympic bar, a few kettlebells, and one pull-up rack hanging in the doorway of our bathroom in our tiny condo. It became common practice at our house to have a few friends over at 5:30 every weekday evening for the workout of the day (WOD) in our spare bedroom.
Once Nick got his Level 1 CrossFit certification, we spent the next 10 months trying to figure out how to start our own CrossFit gym. In February 2012, we opened GA.BA Strength & Conditioning and Nick began teaching donation classes at a couple of our local parks – Balfour Park and Cherokee Lake. This gave us an opportunity to assess the situation – see what tools we needed to make this thing work and how we could build a community of CrossFitters. We did very little advertising (flyers, Facebook, and the beginnings of a website) – and people started showing up (in addition to our friends). With that kind of response, we knew what we needed to do.
In April 2012, we leased 600 square feet of commercial property with a bay door and a bathroom – at 423 Commercial Drive, Unit D. We stocked it with equipment from Rogue Fitness and Hibbett, and even built some of it ourselves with the help of our amazing friends. The space isn’t huge or glamorous by any means, but it has the tools that we need to get the job done. There are no flat screen TVs or even air conditioning – no ellipticals or treadmills…because those things just aren’t necessary. We knew that with an excellent trainer (Nick) who could motivate people and coach them every step of the way on proper technique, form, and diet – and with hard work and dedication from our members, we didn’t need a fancy gym.
For us, it’s about our community of athletes – so it doesn’t matter where we train – but for now, we call 423 Commercial Drive, Unit D home. We feel like our members truly understand our mission and support us – as we have grown from our 4 veteran members to 10 in only 3 months. What I love about our box is that our members get to know each other and cheer each other on when things get really tough – pushing each other to that next level of fitness…the true heart of CrossFit (with which we officially became affiliated with as Thomasville CrossFit in June 2012). As our box grows, we will need to find another home to accommodate this growth – and while the gym will get bigger, the core of our Thomasville CrossFit existence will stay the same.
Just recently, we opened the gym up on a Saturday for a few hours of free time where anyone from the public could come in with questions and our members could come and work on technique, try to reach a personal record (PR) and/or complete a benchmark workout. It was so amazing to see our members so excited on a Saturday – to show up and workout – and give it 110% just as they do through the week for a programmed WOD. We felt so proud of our members and so excited for the future of our box.
Looking back over the past year, the pull-ups in the bathroom and classes in the park seem like a very distant memory that I can now laugh about – but just like in CrossFit, each movement had its purpose.
As they say, “Other gyms use machines, CrossFit builds them.” We’ll see you at the box. 🙂
*Information regarding CrossFit – Courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.