A former auto repair and model train business in downtown Olympia has been transformed into the spartan workout space of CrossFit Olympia, a gym affiliated with the fast-growing fitness movement.
CrossFit Olympia was started by co-owner Juanita VanSlyke in 2008 and it now fills out 4,200 square feet in the heart of downtown, not far from Olympia City Hall.
The business opened downtown in its current location August 2013 and has grown to 180 members, said co-owner Terry Rose. The CrossFit movement is so popular that there are six other CrossFit gyms in Thurston County, he said.
Rose didn’t open CrossFit Olympia, but later joined VanSlyke in business in 2011.
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“She did a great job to build it on her own,” Rose said, adding that they have been able to make a good team and partnership.
CrossFit Olympia offers instructional-based workouts that take place throughout the day that combine time, resistance and repetition into a high-intensity workout, he said.
“We also place a heavy emphasis on Olympic weightlifting having seen this sport’s unique ability to develop an athletes’ explosive power,” according to a statement on the CrossFit Olympia website.
Jake Brown, 38, of Olympia, has been doing CrossFit for the past two years, he said, after becoming bored with his previous workout at another gym.
Brown said he got tired of planning his own workouts.
“I really needed a change,” he said.
After trying CrossFit, he became “instantly hooked.” He was glad that he didn’t have to plan anything, he said, and appreciated that he could work out for 30-45 minutes and be done.
Brown ran track and field and played football at Western Oregon University. Business co-owner Rose played football at Southern Utah University.
But that’s not a requirement to enjoy CrossFit, Brown said.
“Anybody can come in and do it,” he said. “You don’t want to injure yourself, so there’s no rush.”
But in time, customers will see the benefits of their workouts.
“I definitely believe in it,” Brown said.
CrossFit was founded in 2000 and has since grown to more than 11,000 affiliated gyms throughout the country and abroad, and more than 100,000 have been accredited to be a level one CrossFit trainer, according to company information.
Owners: Juanita Van Slyke, Terry Rose.
Location: 503 Cherry St. SE Olympia.
Years in business: Crossfit Olympia opened in 2008.
Hours: Classes are 5 a.m.-7 a.m.. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Employees: Seven CrossFit coaches, including VanSlyke and Rose.
Cost: $115 per month for unlimited use of the gym, or $95 per month for three days a week. The business offers discounts to those in the military, state workers, students and public service positions, such as law enforcement and firefighters. For anyone who wants to try CrossFit at CrossFit Olympia, the first week is free, Rose said.
Advice to business owners: You have to love what you do, put your customers or members first and don’t grow too fast, Rose said. “We don’t want to be so big that it’s no longer a personal experience for our members,” he said.
Did you know? Co-owner Terry Rose, a former running back, played football at Southern Utah University.