This time of the year is usually one of the happiest times for me. But this year, it was different.
My birthday was this weekend. I turned 31…crazy to think that I am over a third of the way through my life. Coronavirus seriously put a damper on that one. But every year on my birthday, we also pay our CrossFit Affiliate Dues. This year makes 7 years operating as a CrossFit gym.
In the fall of 2012, I was attending CrossFit Deer Park’s 5:00 am class regularly. In that class, there was a guy about ten years older than me name Dennis Robbins. Dennis was on the life track that I wanted to be on. He was an aspiring entrepreneur, a married father of two, he was fit, happy, and successful. I would pick his brain from time to time, and one day he told me to come by his office in Baytown. I got there, and he showed me his building and what he wanted to be BayWay CrossFit. He knew I had my CrossFit Level 1 and asked if I would start training people there. (If you know my story, you know I jumped at that opportunity.) From there, we began BayWay Fitness.
We ran a few small fitness classes in the garage attached to the office that he used for his construction company. He and I worked classes together, and it was raw. Learning to run a gym on the fly as we built a small membership base, which was mostly their family and friends, but we were growing.
Dennis introduced me to Dee (all three of us are partners and have grown the business together) the same day that I came to the office, and they told me their plans for affiliating with CrossFit and creating a partnership. Still, it would be down the road a little as the gym needed to make enough money to pay for certifications and the affiliate fees.
Dennis had his third child that December, and I remember it well because he said, “Rich, you got this.” From there, I became the head coach of BayWay Fitness and worked tirelessly to make enough money to pay for us to become BayWay CrossFit.
I would coach classes in the early morning, work my day job until about 4:00. Drive to the gym, work two classes, and then work out myself. Being in my early twenties, putting in 16-18 hour days was no problem. I’m very thankful for our coaching staff these days now in my 30’s!!!!
On May 3rd, 2013, we officially became BayWay CrossFit. I became a partner in the business with Dee and Dennis, and the real work started there. We had a small space that once we affiliated, we outgrew. We knocked down a few walls after a while and grew the area a little more. We had a welded together pull-up rig and some garage sale equipment for probably the first two years until we could afford a real Rogue Rig. We got our first rower in the gym around the same time that we did our second expansion of the building in 2015.
We couldn’t expand any further from there but added so many awesome members and lots of new equipment from 2015 to 2019. That small space changed its face so many times over the seven years that we were there. I have so many great memories there and have met some of my closest friends there.
At the end of 2019, we moved to the new building we are in now. Big, spacious, clean, and beautiful. Lots of parking and a legit backdrop for every picture as the building sits on five acres of woods. We bought more bikes and rowers to accommodate growing classes as well as other pieces of equipment too. So much hard work went into getting us this building, and all of the members who were apart of BWCF along the way are to be thanked. Dee, Dennis, and I cannot thank everyone enough!
Coronavirus has halted BWCF for a while, but the great state of Texas plans to reopen soon, and so will we. Who knows what the future for gyms looks like, but we are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to keep our members safe but also getting them fit again.
Fitness is a legit defense against COVID-19. That doesn’t mean you won’t get it, or that fit people haven’t got it and been seriously ill from it, and it’s not a cure. But you are far less likely to have severe symptoms being fit. Most of the people who are at serious risk are either/both/all 55+, obese, have diabetes, or have hypertension. Exercise cannot turn back time, but it can help with the rest.
When given the green light, I will do everything I can to make sure that everyone is safe at BWCF. That we will all continue to build our fitness but in a secure way.
If you are not ready even with the green light to be back, I will be offering online programming that is customized to you as well.
Thank you to everyone who has been apart of this journey, and we hope that there are many more celebrations ahead of us!
Stay moving my friends!