This week I wanted to get a little bit deeper into why we decided to change from Harbor Park CrossFit to Harbor Park Health and Fitness. We’ve had a lot of questions so it seems like people are genuinely curious. To set the record straight, we are STILL a CrossFit gym! We did not end our affiliation with CrossFit! What we decided to do is to create a future that is more encompassing than CrossFit. Let me explain.
I’ll start by talking about something that is near and dear to me, my family. I come from a big Italian family (like a lot of Kenosha does!), and I absolutely love them. My family has a big problem, though, and that is a long history of cardiovascular issues. My mother lost both of her parents relatively young to heart related events, so I knew how important staying active and staying healthy would be to my future. It’s largely what motivated me to leave corporate America and dive head first into the world of gym-ownership.
One of my priorities throughout my entire fitness journey was to get my big Italian family into a healthier lifestyle as well. As Italians, we like to eat bread and pasta and we like to drink a lot of wine - not necessarily great options for optimal health. So obviously when Harbor Park CrossFit opened, I really wanted my family to come and to start their own journeys towards improved health. Unfortunately it didn’t play out as I had hoped - while some had tried CrossFit, ultimately it was not right for them or just too intimidating.
Over the past 18 months my family lost two more, both Uncles of mine. Their deaths were not officially cardiac events, but their health definitely did not do them any favors and likely played a large role in their outcomes. After my second Uncle passed, I had to do something. I couldn’t sit around and watch any more, I had to try to help my family. This was turning point number 1.
Turning point number 2 came from a different story - that is the story of my major back injury in 2017. From 2013 to 2017 I had done A LOT of CrossFit. I’m talking 2 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week, for a few years. I loved it, it’s all I thought about and all I cared about. But then in December of 2017, I herniated a few disks in my back, leaving me on crutches and barely able to walk. Now, if you are reading this and think I’m blaming CrossFit for my injury, I am not! The doctors said the injury could have been from years of football, snowboarding, car accidents, and lifting, but likely the combination of all of those things lead up to the injury. Anywho, the point of the story is that the injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise. During my rehab I was forced to try different things - I learned about the tremendous benefit of Physical Therapy and the vast amount of knowledge that PT’s have. I learned about Yoga and how important stretching is and how important the mind-body connection is. The injury caused me to stop caring so much about my fitness and start caring about my overall health. And that is as much internal as it is external.
I spent a lot of time working on my mental health as well, learning to accept the fact that I probably would never be able to compete at CrossFit again, or at least the same level that I was. I learned how to cope with stress and how to manage emotions, all things we typically overlook. Previously, when I was stressed I would go to the gym and do a super hard workout. Now, I realize there are other ways to handle it.
Now, let’s take the story back to the present. After learning about all these cool alternative ways to stay active, I thought about my family. What could I do to get them excited to get to come to the gym? What could we do to get the whole city of Kenosha excited to come to the gym? And what could we do to broaden the experience of all of our current CrossFit members? Then the thought came to me - what if we offer a variety of different classes? We’ll certainly still have CrossFit as a staple, but how about Bootcamp for people who don’t feel ready for CrossFit? What about Yoga for people who are looking for a little mindfulness, or people who want to work on their stretching? What about fun classes like Zumba or dance? Why limit ourselves to only CrossFit?
At that point I knew we needed to evolve. The name Harbor Park CrossFit would no longer encapsulate what our gym will go on to do. Harbor Park CrossFit will still be a very important part of our gym, but our gym will be bigger than that now. And so Harbor Park Health and Fitness was created to make good on our new and improved vision. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, we can still make that happen. But if you just want to start getting healthy for the first time, we can make that happen too. Even if you have no idea what you want, but you know you need to do something, come to us and we hand craft a personalized plan just for you.
The possibilities are endless.