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Power playground: Intense workouts, intense fun are the philosophy here

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Kevin Green, of Wenatchee works out with a group that were doing “pushups to failure” at CrosSport Performance in Wenatchee. The half-hour long workout of the day was to do pushups, row 400 meters and run around the block. The group would try to do the circuit as fast as possible and do it between five and 10 rounds.

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Ready, set, go!” Mike Toigo, co-owner and partner of CrosSport Performance yells above the stereo. At the sound of his voice, waves start to ripple across the long lengths of rope on the floor, dumbbells are held high, and bodies lay parallel to the ground in the plank position.

This is a normal scene for the daily 12:15 lunch-hour class. Full of smiles, sweat and nonstop action, CrosSport Performance offers functional movement workouts that can’t be found at a traditional gym. And the members love it. “And rotate!” Toigo’s voice carries throughout the open-space facility.

CrosSport Performance is made up of a small staff consisting of six administrative roles, four trainers, and three partners who do a little bit of everything: Toigo, Chance Harris and Angelique Ortiz.

Toigo and Harris moved to Wenatchee in 1998, and worked at a traditional gym for 10 years. Although both managed to build a sizeable clientele base, many of whom train at CrosSport Performance today, they grew tired of watching their clients grow bored of the traditional gym routine and drop out of their programs.

So, in November 2010, the two experienced trainers set off on their own and opened CrosSport Performance.

Originally located at the Sportsplex on North Wenatchee, with their experience and established client list, business was going well. So well in fact, that within a year of opening, they upgraded to their current location on the corner of South Wenatchee Avenue and Spokane Street. The location was once a building material outlet store, and before that a furniture warehouse, but now provides CrosSport Performance plenty of room to run and play.

And with the new building came a new partner. Angelique Ortiz was originally brought in as a capital-contributing silent partner three years ago as the business shifted to a bigger arena, and now works full-time as an administrative manager.

The CrosSport Performance workout mentality is shorter, harder, smarter. And that motto is evident in the daily workouts found on their website. From turning tires to pulling weighted sleds, from running up stairs to climbing cargo nets, the workouts at CrosSport Performance keep you moving and waiting to see what’s next.

Differentiation was our goal from day one,” Toigo says of the fitness philosophy. “Real life happens on your feet, not sitting down with artificial back support,” he continues, referring to traditional gym workouts. “We wanted to be the alternative to everything else that looked the same.”

And members seem to positively respond to the gym alternative landscape. Colleen Kimble, a CrosSport Performance member for over a year and a half, comes for the lunch-hour class five days a week and says, “It doesn’t feel like work, it feels more like an adult playground.”

Kimble spent three years at a traditional gym before joining CrosSport Performance, and when she did, she lost 70 pounds in the first six months. She is currently using her time at CrosSport Performance to train for her first half-Ironman in August. “I can’t imagine working out anywhere else.”

And it’s not only the ever-changing routines that keeps members coming back for more, it’s also the camaraderie and element of community that follows every workout’s completion.

Within the short breaks of each exercise segment, smiles are exchanged and high fives shared. And much of this team atmosphere is driven by the training Toigo and Harris provide to everyone who uses their gym.

When you walk into the door for the first time, you are most likely going to meet either Mike or myself, and we’ll walk you through your first few workouts,” Harris says.

The high-intensity workouts may be a shock to some in the beginning. But with Toigo or Harris helping you through it, they estimate that after three to five workouts you’ll have the hang of it and won’t turn back.

For the first 30 days, just show up,” Toigo advises beginners.

The demographics are varied at CrosSport Performance. Mike’s 70-year-old parents use the gym floor, and Ortiz ensures that CrosSport Performance “has all sorts of levels and abilities that come in, and we can accommodate everyone,” she says.

Looking around the gym on top of the turf field that covers most of the space, miscellaneous workout equipment is spread everywhere: kettlebells, weighted sleds, lengths of rope, bench bars, dumbbells, staircases and box jumps. “Any type of functional workout that can be done, can be done here,” Harris remarks as he looks over his spacious gym’s offerings.

But if you are a Navy Seal or Green Beret, we can accommodate you too,” Toigo says.

And that’s probably why each spring the Wenatchee Valley Rappellers, consisting of wildland firefighters and helicopter crews, use the facility to train.

CrosSport Performance is the only gym that comes close to the intensity and variety of physical demands that we experience in the field by using a varied, mixed bag of tricks to help us obtain peak physical training,” Marshall Wallace, lead crew member for the Wenatchee Valley rappellers, says via email. “What I enjoy most about CrosSport Performance is their facilities enable you to have fun while you work out.”

And the fun side of fitness doesn’t stop inside the gym. For the last four springs, Harris has organized the CrosSport Performance Warrior Challenge in Walla Walla Point Park.

Evolving from the Ridge to River relay in Wenatchee, which Harris also directed, the Warrior Challenge is roughly a 5K filled with obstacles such as mud pits, traffic jams and fire jumps. Participants can either run by themselves, with a partner or in teams of four.

Since its inception, the Warrior Challenge has doubled in attendance each year, with 400 adults and children racing in 2013. For this year’s event, set to take place April 27, Harris wouldn’t be surprised to see up to 1,000 runners. Registration is still open and can be found at www.warrior-challenge.com

If you’re just looking just for the gym membership, though, the prices are simple and moderate. For $42 a month, you get all access to the gym. This includes all the equipment, daily workout routines and an opportunity to participate in the early morning, lunch-hour and evening classes for no extra charge.

Discounts are available for students, veterans, and corporate partners, and these groups also get to waive the one-time $50 sign-up fee. But don’t worry, the first workout is always free.

While you are there, don’t forget to stretch, drink plenty of water and prepare to experience a gym routine like never before.

But as the sweat is dripping from your pores, and your muscles are working, remember that there is always someone near that will give you words of encouragement if you need them.

Alright, that’s it folks, good job everyone!” Toigo yells over the radio as a collective breath is taken from the crowd of CrosSport Performance athletes. “Hope to see you all tomorrow!”

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