Functionality and variety focus at Crossfit MV

Daily workouts are posted on a whiteboard and the open gym format allows for patrons to come and go and workout at their own pace.

Crossfit Maple Valley is far from a traditional gym.

“Your first thought when you come in is, ‘What am I going to do? There’s no treadmill,’” Debby Bartsch said, who works out at Crossfit MV.

A lack of traditional cardio equipment like treadmills and stationary bikes is exactly what Crossfit is about.

“It’s very industrial, it’s not fancy,” Kari Gordon, coach and owner of the gym, said. “You make do with what you have; it’s very adaptable and it’s very functional.”

The gym itself is referred to as a box and the equipment is basic — weights, barbells, tires, rings and pull-up bars line the edges of the rectangular space. Daily workouts are posted on a whiteboard and the open gym format allows for patrons to come and go and workout at their own pace.

It was the differences in Crossfit that originally interested Bartsch when she started coming two and a half years ago.

“I started coming and was very out of shape,” Bartsch said. “You can incrementally increase and you can keep challenging yourself.”

Bartsch was also drawn to the community aspect of the gym.

It (Crossfit) is different in like we’re like family and encourage each other,” Bartsch said.

Cynthia McClelland, who also works out at Crossfit, had been struggling to find a workout routine that didn’t leave her in pain when she came to Crossfit.

“The attitude is, ‘lets not focus on what you can’t do, lets figure out what you can do,’” McClelland said.

For McClelland, the difference was in Gordon’s commitment to work with McClelland through injuries by adapting workouts.

“If your body has any weaknesses Crossfit will bring them out,” McClelland said. “The key is knowing where you’re at — the improvements blow your mind.”

Gordon and her husband, Eric, started the gym in 2010. Kari has a background in the fitness industry and a degree in nutrition and exercise science. Eric was introduced to Crossfit while serving overseas and after he came home Kari started working it into her workout routine as well. The focus of Crossfit is general physical conditioning and considering the entire body system, Kari said.

“You see results and it’s engaging and stimulating and fun,” Kari said. “We were talking one night and I said, ‘it would be fun to open a Crossfit gym.’”

One of the hallmarks of Crossfit is that the workouts change every day. The workouts are posted online for free — it’s the community and coaching that brings people to the gym.

“Every day you come in it’s different,” Kari said. “I think that’s what keeps people coming back, it doesn’t get boring.”

One common misconception about Crossfit, Kari said, is that people believe you have to be a certain kind of athlete to come there.

“There’s a little bit of everything here and all walks of life.” Kari said. “Every box is different, every one has its own flavor.”

Kari said her focus is working with each athlete who comes to the gym to maintain the integrity of the exercises, then working to where the athlete is at and increasing the intensity from there.

“It (Crossfit) teaches you a lot about yourself,” Kari said. “You can push through and finish things you didn’t think you would finish.”

Bartsch agreed that was true for her as she reflected on where she was when she started at Crossfit and where she is today.

“I can do things I didn’t think I could do,” Bartsch said.

Reach Katherine Smith or 425-432-1209 ext. 5052.