A Conversation with Mike, Nic, and Mitch Griffin
CrossFit College Park is located right off Virginia Avenue, near College Park Cemetery and is host of the popular Graveyard Games is a high performance, strength and endurance partnered competition designed to measure work capacity. The owners gave South Fulton Lifestyle some candid answers to our many questions about CrossFit here on the southside.
Mike, or “Dad” as he is known in the gym, was a two-sport high school athlete and habitual weight lifter from the age of 15. He has completed the CrossFit Level 1 trainer course as well as the CrossFit Mobility Course. In the 2015 CrossFit Open Competition, he finished 77th in the world in his age division.
Nic was a competitive gymnast until the age of 12 and played several sports in middle and high school. He is a Level 1 CrossFit trainer and a CrossFit Kids Trainer.
Mitch competed in gymnastics for the University of Minnesota where he was a four-year letter winner. He is also still very active in judging gymnastics at the national and international level. He is a Level 1 Certified CrossFit Coach as well as a CrossFit Mobility Coach.
SFL: Give our readers a little background about the CrossFit movement and how you got into it.
We discovered the CrossFit.com website in 2008. Mitch and Mike (“Dad”) had always been regular gym goers and were looking for something different. Nic had been more casual with his gym routine. He would mostly go to shoot basketball, bench and occasionally kick into a handstand. We watched the website and the suggested workouts for a month before trying a workout.
The first WOD (workout of the day) we tried consisted on only body weight movements and lasted roughly 10 minutes.
It was all a blur. All three of us lay on the ground for at least 15 minutes before we felt like we could stand up. How were we so exhausted after 10 minutes of working out? Why was no one else around us lying on the floor huffing and puffing? From that point on, we would never work out the same way. We met daily at 4:30 in a local chain gym to do CrossFit.
A few weeks into our workout routine, we attracted a lot of attention in the gym. Several people began to meet and work out with us every day. Fast-forward two years and we decided it was time for us to open our own place.
SFL: How does it differ from or how is crossfit better than other workout plans? What do people love about it?
Most people who begin a workout program do so in order to become more fit. When asked what being more fit means and how to become fitter, people usually do not have a good answer.
CrossFit differs from other programs because it has a working definition of what it means to be fit. For those that follow CrossFit’s definition of fitness, it means developing a solid foundation on the 10 domains of fitness: stamina, strength, agility, speed, accuracy, coordination, balance, cardio respiratory endurance, power and flexibility. We want our athletes (yes, if you are working out in our gym, whether you are 8 or 80 you are an athlete) to be a jack of all trades and master of none. In other words we spend time working on the 10 domains of fitness and do not spend time only working on what we are good at. We firmly believe that people will see the best results when they follow the tried and true method of performing constantly varied workouts utilizing functional movements and performed at a high intensity.
From the workout side people love the challenge of the daily workouts and the supportive environment they perform it in. People encourage each other to do their best. They get to know each other and will get a text or email if they do not see their classmates at a class. We provide people with an hour block a day where they can focus on their individual goals and forget about whatever stress they are dealing with. In our facility, they can devote their energy to doing some things they may have never thought they were physically capable of doing.
We are also a very community-driven gym. We have Christmas parties, potluck dinners and community events throughout the year.
SFL: Describe some amazing results you have seen.
The first question people usually ask is how much weight people have lost while attending CrossFit College Park. We have had athletes lose over 100 pounds and we are proud of their hard work, but weight loss is just one of the amazing things we have seen.
The most rewarding aspect of being a CrossFit gym owner is seeing the change in people’s lives. We have seen a soccer mom in her 40s get her first unassisted pull up. We have seen a 70-year-old woman ecstatic because she was able to fill and lift her 5 gallon gas can into her truck without assistance. We have seen people no longer have to take blood pressure and cholesterol medication because their numbers have returned to normal levels. We have had members bounce back from surgery and serious illness at a rate that shocked their doctors. Our goal at CFCP is to improve our members’ quality of life through a dedication to healthy living in a positive environment.
SFL: Tell our readers something about working in the College Park area.
We love the College Park and Tri-Cities area. Nic is a four-block walk or skateboard ride from work. Mitch just moved to the Tri-Cities, too. We love the families and community that have been so welcoming and encouraging to us. We love the direction the area is heading and are excited to be a part of it.
SFL: Any tips on getting started? Can anyone do crossfit?
Absolutely anyone can do CrossFit. We have so many people ask if they need to “get in shape” before coming in and the answer is no. We are ready to help anyone that walks in the door, from the former college athlete to people who have never touched a weight in their lives. Everything we do in our gym can be scaled to any level.
We run a 12-session foundations course for anyone new to CrossFit. In the foundations class we have a small coach-to-athlete ratio and spend time going over how to properly and safely perform movements we will do in CrossFit. We always have coaches working with members to ensure they are moving in a safe fashion. If you are interested in the foundations program, you can contact us at CrossfitCollegePark.com.