Meet Your Merchant: Crossfit – testing Tahoe’s survival of the fittest
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. – You presume you’re in the best shape of your life. Your road bike has seen more miles than your car; a 15-mile hike from Donner Summit to Squaw Valley is a piece of cake; you clock more hours at the gym than most of your heavyweight counterparts.Then you take a Crossfit class and everything you thought you knew about fitness abruptly changes.That’s what happened to Myles Lewis and Travis Weaver, owners and certified trainers at Crossfit Avalanche in Tahoe Vista and Crossfit Blizzard in Truckee.”Crossfit tested me to my limits in way I have never been tested before, and I immediately loved it – I wanted to be better at it, I wanted to be more fit, I wanted to be in better shape,” said Lewis. “It wasn’t about what you looked like or how big your muscles were, it was about how you performed and that’s what intrigued me.”The Crossfit craze is growing in popularity among health and fitness clubs world-wide, and it’s no surprise the trend is taking Tahoe by storm. “It’s super-hero training where you run, jump, push, pull, lift heavy objects, and have total control of your own body weight, and therefore, for the Tahoe athlete, they are able to dominate anything that comes their way from skiing, cross-country, cycling and mountain climbing to shoveling the driveway,” Weaver said. It’s difficult to pin down the exact definition of Crossfit because the workouts are extremely varied, complex and all-encompassing. Movements involve multiple components like strength training, endurance, aerobics, gymnastics, plyometrics, flexibility, balance and mental stamina to name a few.”The variation is what attracted me the most,” Lewis said. “You’re not just getting good at one thing, you’re getting good at a lot of things, and it turns you into this well-rounded person of fitness who’s able to take on any task that comes at them.”
In 2003, tired of a cubicle and corporate life, Weaver relocated to North Lake Tahoe to reinvent his career and focus on his passion for skiing.A lifelong athlete and fitness guru, Weaver spent some serious hours at A Sant Lakeside Fitness in Tahoe City where he became a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine in 2004. “I never thought I could become a personal trainer because it was a huge pay cut, but I found I enjoyed going to gym every day more than I enjoyed going to my desk,” Weaver said. “This job is so rewarding … people really appreciate when you help them discover something about themselves and their capabilities and that’s what keeps driving me.”When Lewis joined the A Sant team as a personal trainer 2006, a partnership built on trust, dedication and an obsession for fitness was born.The two ski and snowboard junkies began teaching winter sports conditioning classes at A Sant using high-intensity, functional movements similar to Crossfit techniques. As the class sizes grew, so did Lewis’ and Weaver’s interest in perfecting Crossfit methodologies and results. In March 2008, both became certified Crossfit trainers through the national organization. “For me, the real selling point was how well Crossfit brings a group of people together,” Weaver said. “It builds this community of people coming from all walks of life and all fitness levels who may have different goals, but they share the pain and the gain.”The unique workout required more space than the local gym could provide, so the duo put every dime and drop of sweat into opening their own studio.
Tahoe Vista’s Crossfit Avalanche opened in July 2009, and it wasn’t long before the community of extreme Tahoe athletes took notice. Both trainers brought complimentary skills to the table and quickly learned how to operate the business side of things, but managing their brand and finding time for their personal lives wasn’t always easy. However, Lewis and Weaver are two guys who push themselves to the limits in all aspects of life, and in November 2010, they extended their undertaking through the addition of Crossfit Blizzard in Truckee’s Pioneer Center. “It takes a lot of time and effort to run the business, teach the classes and keep up with our own personal fitness goals and our personal lives, but we’re willing to sacrifice a little sleep for the outcome, and fortunately, we love what we’re doing,” Lewis said.What started with 10 classes on the schedule has now grown to 63 classes per week between the two gyms – an insurmountable number to maintain without an extra set of hands, and well, quads, biceps, hamstrings, etc.Three Crossfit enthusiasts have since become certified trainers through the national organization and are now helping Lewis and Weaver manage the extensive schedule, which includes beginner classes designed to ease intimidated folks into the program.”People are generally scared of what they don’t know, but once you walk in door and find out Myles and I aren’t big, mean guys and we’re very welcoming, you’ll realize it’s only as hard as you’re willing to work,” Weaver said. “You can have a guy training for the Crossfit games in the same room as a 70-year-old woman – it’s all relative to each person’s fitness level.”Even though it seems these healthy eaters have their plates full as trainers and entrepreneurs, their personal fitness goals are always at the forefront of their workouts. In 2010, both Weaver and Lewis competed in the regional Crossfit games, where they earned 20th place in the team event and 16th place in the individual event out of 600 men, respectively. This year, both hope to procure a position in the top three regional finalists, guarantying entry in the international competition in July 2012 sponsored by Reebok and covered by ESPN2.Lewis is also a two-time Fittest of the Sierras winner and both guys have a few Tough Mudder competitions under their belt. “Crossfit is our sport,” Weaver said. “We may teach classes and train to be fit for snowboarding or whatever else, but testing our level of fitness based on other people who participate in the sport is what drives us both.”