My 5 Most Rewarding Moments of Being a CrossFit Gym Owner

Owning a CrossFit gym with my husband has been like a road in downtown Atlanta. Rough, with a lot of unexpected pot holes and inconvenient detours. We have had to alter our way of life and way of thinking. I went from a cushy 9 to 5 corporate job with a couple hours coaching for fun on the side, to coaching 30+ hours a week while running a gym on the side. The first few months have been a challenge, but through the stress and headaches, ordinary and unexpected moments snap me back, and remind me why we did this. This is our dream come true and it is all worth it. Here are 5 of the most rewarding moments of being a gym owner to date:

1. “I’ve never done a push-up before in my life!” Cassandra, a 65 year old grandmother of 8, has been consistently coming to the gym for 3 months. We have been working elevated push-ups and core strengthening exercises multiple times per week and last month, there was 10 push-ups as part of the warm up. Instead of grabbing a barbell to do her push-ups off of, she got on the floor and announced that she wanted to try a real one from the ground. She then proceeded to complete 5 push-ups from the ground without the use of her knees and keeping her hips and shoulders in line. After which she exclaimed that she had never ever performed a military style push up before.

How to express why this hit me as such a powerful moment? I knew I wanted to help people lead healthier lives and do things they would never have thought they could do, and this moment summarized that it is happening. Cassandra may not have gotten a push up, or I wouldn’t be able to witness her life-time first push-up, if Caffeinated CrossFit didn’t exist. Therefore, even if it is just to help one women, get stronger, feel better, and live healthier, Caffeinated made a difference.

2. “I’m done for today, I can’t finish the workout.” Joey, a proud doggie dad of an Australian Shepard and a Border Collie, had not had a gym membership in years and was giving Caffeinated a shot as a good neighborly deed. When starting out, keeping moving for7 minutes through a workout was strenuous and sometimes he was not able to finish. I would cheer him on but he would stop and we would call it a day without completing the workout.

Months went by and he dramatically improved his stamina and strength while also building friendships during the 7:30 PM class. It had been weeks since the last unfinished workout. One particularly hard day in the gym, Joey didn’t think he could finish the workout and he declared “I’m done for today, I can’t finish the workout.” Before I could come forward and encourage him, all five other members in the class chimed in and pushed him through the end of the workout. He finished with a smile on his face and claps on his back. That kind of support and motivation was not taught in class, but came through genuine care and comradery between people who want the best of each other.

3. “I can’t come in tomorrow, I made plans.” John and Kareem went through fundamentals together. This is a 4 day introduction to the movements of CrossFit and a good chance to meet other CrossFit beginners. They quickly became friends and started holding each other accountable for coming to the gym after the fundamentals classes were thru. About a month after they had started, I was talking to John and asked him if he was coming tomorrow as his normal schedule. He replied that he was going to a fundraising dinner to support Kareem. I was so happy that friendships not only inside the gym but also outside the gym because of common interests are able to form because of Caffeinated CrossFit. Every piece of advice exchanged, plans made, or friendship forged is meaningful to me, and is part of the reason Caffeinated CrossFit was founded.

4. “I just corrected my own form.” Although I love coaching and I want to watch every squat, push-up, or clean that happens in the gym, sometimes I miss a rep here and there. Sabrina, having a year of CrossFit experience prior to coming to Caffeinated, had a good grasp on the movements and only needed small reminders on form. Most pointers on form occur because the athlete isn’t aware that the form is incorrect and once the correct form is practiced enough, the athlete can feel the improper form. As a coach, having the muscle memory of proper form is what we want to drive into every athlete. This week, while practicing squats in warm up, Sabrina excitedly came up to me and explained that she could feel her chest coming forward on her squat and corrected in while warming up. High fives were exchanged and another proud moment for this coach.

5. “I feel much better now.” Sometimes the best moment of a weekday is when you finish a workout and all the stresses of the day are (at least momentarily) forgotten. Opal is a Spanish teacher at a nearby school, there are days she comes in tired or with a headache or just plain stressed out. No matter what state she comes in, Opal always leaves Caffeinated with a smile on her face and a little sweatier than she came in. I love that feeling after a workout when the stress doesn’t seem so important and my day gets a little brighter, so seeing that relief in someone else lifts my heart too.

NewsChristine Lee