Where Sweat Isn’t Shy to Pour

By Brownwyn Scott
Published: July 6, 2013

A Squamish gym is redefining fitness for almost anyone who walks through its doors.

Set in an industrial complex on Midway Street just off of the aptly named Industrial Way, the unconventional club has one wall with great garage-like doors opened up to let the air in.

No treadmills, Bowflexes or weight-machine contraptions fill the vast space.

Instead, there are gymnastics rings, weights, rubber mats on the floor and a couple of committed coaches leading a group through a series of exercises – and the odd game of limbo.

Our specialty is that we’re not specialized , according to Jesse Bifano, who opened CrossFit Squamish in 2009 with his wife Heather Bell.

“We’re not just runners, we’re not just lifters, we don’t just do long workouts or short workouts, or heavy stuff or light stuff, we do everything,” said Bifano, who defines CrossFit as a general preparedness program.

But almost anyone who goes there will tell you it’s more than that.

“It’s a great community,” said Lesley Weeks, executive director of Tourism Squamish.

Weeks has been coming to CrossFit for three-and-a-half years, even through her pregnancy.

“When I started I could barely do a pushup . . . I’ve come a long way.” 

Which means doing pushups from a headstand position and working on her ring dips.

 “It makes you mentally stronger, and teaches you a bit of perseverance . . . it’s super motivating to keep coming here,” she said, adding that her CrossFit workout has permeated into other aspects of her life.

 “It’s easy to come to the gym when you know you’re going to meet up with the same people and do the same thing,” said Nils Robinson, manager of business development and analysis at Blackcomb, Whistler.

Robinson has been CrossFitting for four years.

“I never thought that I would go the gym six days a week and actually enjoy it. And I do with this,” he said.

The strength and conditioning program combines elements from gymnastics, weightlifting and sprinting and is open to all ages and people of all fitness levels.