Three years ago, Kelley undergraduate alums Peter Brasovan and Jared Byczko took the leap into entrepreneurship by opening the first CrossFit location in downtown Indy. The old storefront on Delaware Avenue clearly needed some work. But it was a start.
For those who don’t know CrossFit, it’s a core strength and conditioning program that promotes muscle adaptation. What does that mean? It means your body learns how to get stronger and stronger so that you become a more fit person. It’s usually thought of as an extreme fitness approach because you lift weights, do burpees, pushups, pull-ups and lots of other calisthenics that we've rediscovered are actually good for building strong bodies. The program is individually adaptable so that anyone at any fitness level can be successful. The workouts are all done as groups and there is some excitement from challenging and encouraging each other to push yourself to be stronger. I have to admit there is some controversy — some people forget to listen to their bodies and push themselves too hard. But good CrossFit coaches (like those at CrossFit NapTown) work hard to help exercisers avoid getting hurt.
Peter and Jared, friends and soccer colleagues, were both scared and excited. This was a big step. They invested all they had. How would Indy react? Was there enough interest in Indy for CrossFit? Would people be willing to engage in this “extreme” fitness movement? Could they self-fund and make enough money to live on? All great questions.
Three years later, they've had tremendous success. The “box” (as CrossFit locations are called) is thriving. The business is self-sufficient, and not only does it continue to grow, but it's getting ready to expand. The guys have just bought a second location, 922 N Capitol, close to IUPUI where they will be offering Yoga and scaled versions of the exercise programs. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll still get you in great shape. But not everybody has the time and wants to lift all those weights. You can still apply the CrossFit ideas of physical conditioning in a different format. The building is being developed for multiple uses, including a catering kitchen. Look for a fall opening with special programs to attract IUPUI students, faculty and staff.
CrossFit NapTown has also helped start another local business, Artie’s Paleo OnTheGo. You see, CrossFitters need a lot of protein to build those muscles. Many follow a Paleo diet which stresses lean proteins, NO processed carbs, NO sugars, NO dairy and a couple of other "NOs." Meals are a bit difficult to make; you be surprised how many typical foods contain those “NOs.” So Artie Stevens started making Paleo dinners. You order by email/online and every Monday night he’s at the Box for you to pick one meal or even a week’s worth. This business too has snowballed. Artie’s now making more than 400 meals a week and delivering to several CrossFit locations. The new CrossFit NapTown location will provide a place for production and delivery of these Paleo meals.
One of the fun aspects of CrossFit is the CrossFit Games. With the support of Reebok, CrossFit has a competition to “Find the fittest people in the World." It starts with an Open competition in the spring. If you qualify, you go to a 3-day live regional competition. If you’re fit enough, you qualify for CrossFit Worlds to be held this July 25 in Southern California. A coed team from CrossFit NapTown has qualified for Crossfit Worlds this year! Even though Indy was recently ranked something like the 46th healthiest city out of 50 that were ranked, we have a team of the fittest people on earth!
Since qualifying, the team has been busy preparing their bodies even more. There are always surprises at the CrossFit World Games. As CrossFit says, “…a fair test of fitness is the unknown and the unknowable.” So the athletes don’t find out what the main event is until they arrive for the Games. At the same time, the team has to actually get to California for the competition. They've been busy since early May when they qualified, raising the $10,000 they need for the travel. Check them out online. And on July 25th you can root for the home team and our Kelley alums via the web as they show just how fit they are.
Go CrossFit NapTown!