Crossfit gyms highlight Windsor as an emerging fitness community |
Jason Pohl

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Crossfit gyms highlight Windsor as an emerging fitness community

Clarification: A third Crossfit affiliate recently opened its doors in Windsor but was excluded from the original version of this story. Crossfit Reflash has been equipped with Level 1 trainers since February. It is located at 541 Garden Dr Unit M, in Windsor. For more information or to schedule a class call (970) 673-5180 or go to

Kettleballs crash to the floor while medicine balls fly across a sprawling warehouse-like room. Sweat pours and grunts resonate as a group of athletes race to the pull-up bar, then tackle a rope climb before doing squats, crunches and the short-but-appreciated 1-minute rest.

And then the coach yells to begin the second set ­in this fast-paced workout of the day ­— known by this group as a "WOD."

At a distance it looks like a chaotic playground for the young and old ­— a workout scene void of complex machines lined with instruction sheets. It's what Crossfit coaches and athletes consider the most efficient workout regime on the market today.

And it has gradually found a niche in Windsor.

"I think Crossfit kind of makes you everything," said Ian Gordon, a coach, firefighter and Crossfit athlete. "It makes you better, faster and stronger. It does all of that for you because it's such a range-of-motion program."

Crossfit has slowly taken over the fitness community across the country since it crept on the scene about 2003, and Windsor is no exception. Home to three Crossfit gyms, the town may not be thought of as the epicenter of fitness elite — yet — but gym owners and coaches are working to change that. In doing so, they're tackling a broader goal of changing people's habits and outlooks on life — once and for all.

Now that it has passed its one-year anniversary, Crossfit Endure on Main Street is continuing to see an increase in interest. Started by a crew of firefighters with Windsor-Severance Fire Rescue, the gym is one of the newest in the region and continues to grow its membership. From teenagers to the elderly and even the weight-lifting powerhouses, Gordon said the sense of camaraderie and support among members is something special to watch and even more fun to coach.

"It's an extremely strong community," Gordon said, highlighting his initial disgust of the high-intensity workouts he faced during the firefighter academy. "We want to be as good as we can possibly be."

With workouts spread throughout each day of the week, Crossfit Endure and similar programs make use anything from barbells and rowing machines to medicine and kettle balls, stressing explosive power and strength at its most basic ­form. And what's apparent after watching even briefly is anyone can do it. Whether battling back from a hip replacement to rehabilitating from knee surgery, Gordon said people from any and all backgrounds use the workouts because each can be tailored to an individual's capabilities, regardless of condition.

Beyond building strength and stamina for a few hours each week, the bigger draw of Crossfit, at least according to coaches and owners, is changing one's lifestyle more broadly, highlighting healthy habits and overall improvements on a daily basis.

That's what attracted Sam Lewis, who for years frequented so-called "globo gyms" after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado. As a linebacker for the Bears, he learned the basics of strength-building workouts and strenuous régimes, focused even more with his degree in health and exercise science. After seeing a couple guys "doing something different" at a gym, his interest was piqued, and he was hooked on the emerging Crossfit trend. When the opportunity came to take over ownership of a local gym, Lewis and a couple fellow Crossfitters jumped.

"I was burned out of what I was doing," he said, admitting that starting NorCo Crossfit during shaky economic times in southwest Windsor industrial park was risky. "It was very nerve-wracking. There was so much excitement and trust in each other. Our basic belief that what we were doing would catch on kind of trumped all of the nerve-wracking feelings."

And as the fitness craze continues and Lewis and his team of coaches expand to more than 100 monthly members, he said his devotion and individual approach to people from all abilities has persisted and will long into the future. Whether you want to push the weight-lifting limits or move back to a forgotten healthy lifestyle, Lewis said Crossfit — regardless of where you go — can insurmountably change one's outlook on life for the better.

"You start living your life to improve what you can do in here (the gym) without realizing that you're actually increasing your quality of life," Lewis said, motioning to the sprawling plains near the entrance. "It's an hour in here but a lifetime out there."