Winchester transplant helps clients meet fitness, health goals with Crossfit

Published 1:37 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018

Run, climb ropes, squat, lift weights.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Every day at Crossfit Strode Station is simultaneously different and the same.

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Each day, members do something entirely different than the day before, and each day, it stays challenging.

That is the goal, owner Josh Tackett said.

Tackett opened Crossfit Strode Station in 2015 after his wife accepted a job at Clark Regional Medical Center. At the time, Tackett said he was looking for places to train.

After checking out gyms in surrounding counties, Tackett saw a different opportunity. Crossfit Strode Station’s first location was about 1,800 sq ft

“It was just what I needed,” Tackett said. “I thought if I could put a little gym in there and get enough people in there to help me pay the bills and allow myself to have a place to workout, that was kind of my goal, and it just grew.”

In six short months, Crossfit moved to a 4,500 sq ft warehouse and then, eventually, into its current location which is 10,000 sq ft, Tackett said.

About 150 people a week participate in at least one of the many programs Crossfit offers, Tackett said.

Traditional crossfit classes, kettlebell club classes, an athlete strength conditioning program, a kid’s fitness program and a restorative yoga class are among the variety of programs offered.

Tackett said he will be adding more classes down the road, including a cardio-based class.

“The hardest part is just coming in the first time,” Tackett said. “We don’t have a ton of ellipticals, treadmills, etc. Just coming in for the first time is really intimidating. Usually, once we get people out here, they stay, and they keep coming back.”

Tackett said Crossfit isn’t necessarily better than other gyms, but it certainly has its advantages.

“I think the best exercise for each person is the one they stick with,” he said.

At Crossfit, there’s a community there to help hold people accountable.

“I think there are a lot of downfalls just going to a commercial gym,” Tackett said. “I think it’s hard to stick with it. You don’t know what you’re doing. You get discouraged. With (Crossfit), you have a professional. This is what I do for a living. It’s just a different experience.”

Each workout at Crossfit is focused on high-quality movement and strength building.

“We definitely believe getting strong is the single greatest adaptation you can make,” Tackett said.

However, one of the hardest parts of owning a business like Crossfit is when you’re more invested in success of a client than they are themselves, Tackett said.

“I get really attached to people,” he said. “I never give up on anybody. I see the potential in people they don’t see in themselves, and sometimes, I get frustrated because I want their success more than they do. It’s emotionally taxing.”

Tackett said it’s also difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, he does have the freedom to bring his son to work — a perk he wouldn’t have had in a more traditional work setting.

For about six years, Tackett worked in the corporate world as an executive director at Tri-State Industries, a nonprofit serving adults with developmental disabilities.

“I think it would be really hard to go back at this point,” Tackett said. “I haven’t had a boss in five years, so I really enjoy the freedom of working for myself. But it is hard to balance a life and a family.”

Tackett first got involved with Crossfit in October 2009. His whole life, Tackett had been an athlete. He played basketball, football, ran track, swam. He even played football his freshman year of college, but after he tore his labrum, he quit.

After transferring to Marshall University, Tackett joined a fraternity and started to enjoy college, he said. But after graduation, Tackett realized he had put on weight, weighing around 245 pounds.

“This was a guy who had always been in shape,” Tackett said. “I don’t know what it was. I guess, I just hit a breaking point. I looked at the mirror one day and tried to put on a pair of pants and thought ‘What has happened to me?’ I was just disgusted by how I felt, how I looked, my habits.”

A few searches on the Internet and a couple of weeks later, Tackett joined a Crossfit gym and never looked back.

Today, he gets to change people’s lives the way his had been changed.

“I get to watch people come through the doors with their heads down, meek, unconfident, and with just weeks of exercising, you see their demeanor change,” Tackett said. “You see them open up and stand tall. They have a confidence about them they didn’t have before.”

Now, the gym is busier than it’s ever been. Tackett said he has had several members lose more than 100 pounds. He’s watched people grow stronger physically as well as mentally.

“They’re stronger, tougher,” he said. “I’m just watching people become the best version of themselves.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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