CrossFit: New training approach is nothing fancy

The 9 a.m. workout group does lunges under the watchful gaze of Tim Mason, an instructor at Westsound CrossFit.     - Brett Cihon/Staff photo
The 9 a.m. workout group does lunges under the watchful gaze of Tim Mason, an instructor at Westsound CrossFit.
— image credit: Brett Cihon/Staff photo

Lifting tires. Jumping over boxes. Carrying bags of sand.

And if all goes to plan, the workout of your life.

“You get that burning in your lungs,” said Mick Lewis. “There’s no other workout like it.”

Lewis owns Westsound CrossFit, a new gym in the 600 block of Bay Street specializing in CrossFit strength and conditioning workouts. CrossFit, Lewis said, is a technique-

oriented, anaerobic workout easily related to tasks individuals perform daily.

Ergo the PVC pipes, jump ropes and fireman’s hoses scattered around the burgeoning gym.

“What is closer to everyday life?” Lewis asked. “Getting into a controlled, comfy workout machine at a gym, or flipping over a tire?”

A lifelong fitness buff, Lewis said he grew tired of the traditional gyms with their juice bars and television screens. Looking for something different, he tried a CrossFit workout in 2007 after a co-worker at South Kitsap Fire and Rescue, where he works as a paramedic, told him of the technique. He quickly learned that CrossFit, even without the barbells or snazzy machines, was hardcore.

“At first I was like ‘what is this aerobic stuff,’ ” he said. “But then I tried it and it kicked the crap out of me.”

Lewis may not have been the first at SKFR to get his butt kicked by CrossFit. Created in the 1970s, the workout has gained popularity in recent years among military, firemen and police officers. Like Lewis, many in fields of service find the strenuous exercise with rudimentary objects was ftting.

“Sometimes I have to pull a hose out of the back of a rig and the movement reminds me exactly of what I do here,” Lewis said.

He was so taken with the exercises, he decided to start a gym. Renting out a small place on Bay Street east of Bethel Avenue, he began training, mostly for other workers at SKFR, whenever he had time. Soon though, spouses and interested members of the community were calling Lewis to see if they could check out his sessions.

“All sorts of people like it, not only firefighters,” he said.

CrossFit workouts revolve around a nationally published Workout of the Day, or WOD. Ranging from running a 10k to lifting a heavy truck tire end-over-end, he said the variety in the WOD contributes to the success of the program.

“Everyday it’s different,” he said.

After a couple years, Lewis moved to a larger location further west on Bay Street. He now offers more regularly scheduled classes, with as many as six other trainers helping instruct.

Westsound trainer Robert Jones, who has trained with Lewis since 2007, said part of CrossFit’s allure is the competition aspect. Every hourlong workout ends with a run and some squats, and the time it takes to complete the session is marked down on a big whiteboard in front of the gym.

The times put up on the whiteboard make the workout participants feel like everyone is in it together, he said, as well as adding a little competition.

“You see your time on the board and it’s motivation,” he said. “It makes it kind of like a club.”

Lewis said classes are filling up quick. At $15 dollars a session or $125 unlimited monthly access, classes are cheaper than area gyms, he said. Though he hopes to continue to expand, he wants to be able to continue to provide 1-on-1 training for new clients.

When asked why he thinks CrossFit has enjoyed success so far in its limited time in Port Orchard, Lewis said it’s because people who begin the training immediately recognize an improvement in their everyday quality of life. Flexibility, strength, dexterity; it’s all related to strength and movement, he said.

“It’s anything,” he said. “CrossFit helps with everything from sitting up on the toilet to moving around your house. It’s all movements.”

Those interested in finding out more about training at Westsound CrossFit should visit


Robert Jones uses a length of PVC pipe to warm up for his workout at Westsound CrossFit on Bay Street.

Brett Cihon/Staff photo




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