PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Slam balls, squats and lunges; At Panama City CrossFit, that’s the perfect way to start a morning.
The new gym officially opened their doors on Monday and held their first week of classes. Panama City CrossFit had been operating out of different local gyms before, generating a member base for years. Now they have a place to call their own, getting new people in on the fun.
“It’s really hard but it’s really rewarding,” said Reed Maddox, who is new to CrossFit. He said while at first it seemed daunting, it has now become an addiction.
“It’s more rewarding than anything else I’ve ever done in a gym,” Maddox said. “They’ve really taken me under their wing and treated me just like everyone else.”
In the age of COVID-19, it’s providing more than a socially-distanced workout.
“It gives us a sense of community back,” said Missy Jones, a Panama City CrossFit member. “We get to exercise with all of our friends in a safe environment.”
That community has been the driving force for owners Sarah and Kevin Homestead. It’s the reason they stayed in the area after Kevin retired from the Marine Corps.
“They’re our family,” said Sarah Homestead. “They’re our people and we love them so much.”
She said everyone stuck together in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, as the gym they used to practice in and call their escape was destroyed.
“For us, this is especially special because we lost our first home and now we have a whole new place to call home,” she said.
From the hurricane to the pandemic, it’s been challenge after challenge to build and open the gym. But each challenge has been overcome as a community.
Maddox said that the community has become his own.
“If there wasn’t the tight community of everyone in here, I don’t think I could get up early and come here every day like I have been,” he said.
“I think everybody is just so excited to get out here and be a part of this new gym opening,” Jones said.
Homestead said that’s what it’s all about.
“We wanted to give them a home and a place that they can come get all of their troubles out, get their fitness in, and a place to belong,” she said. “That’s what CrossFit is really about.”
Click here to learn more about Panama City CrossFit as well as their class schedules and rates.