During this time of social distancing, Mitch Friend has been thinking about the well-being of the members at CrossFit Hatchet, the local gym he owns.
Friend has had to temporarily close the gym, as well as leave his other full-time job in the kitchen at Deerhurst, but he wanted to ensure that his community was able to continue their workouts. So he has loaned out the gym’s equipment to those who needed it, and has created short workout-of-the-day videos for anyone to access online.
“To me it seemed like a no-brainer,” said Friend. “I am not going to lie, it’s a little weird sitting in my empty gym…but it’s honestly so reassuring knowing my friends can keep themselves healthy during this time.”
He’s been posting videos on the CrossFit Hatchet YouTube channel every day at 9 a.m. and shares them on his personal and CrossFit Hatchet Facebook pages as well. Currently, the videos are available for anyone to see. They are appropriate for all fitness levels and require minimal to no equipment. Friend encourages anyone interested in trying the CrossFit experience to reach out to him through his Instagram or Facebook accounts to get support with individual scaling progressions if they aren’t able to do a certain movement.
Kelly Holinshead is a member at CrossFit Hatchet and describes Friend as an amazing coach. She was inspired to recently take a CrossFit level one instructor course. “I just love CrossFit,” she told Doppler via email. “It really took my fitness to a whole different level…that is tangible and visible. Makes the effort seem worthwhile. I feel lucky that we are able to continue to train at home, so we don’t lose the gains we have worked for.”
Holinshead has been following Friend’s video programs at home, as have many others. “People from all over are joining in his workouts, not just our members, and not just local population,” she said. “He gets rave reviews of his programming and let me tell you—it works. I went to other gyms in my past, and I worked hard, but nothing changed my physique and my fitness like his programming did.”
Friend began training in CrossFit methodology in 2013 which led to his decision to apprentice and shadow to gain his certification in 2014. He worked for a couple of years as a CrossFit coach before branching out on his own to open CrossFit Hatchet in Huntsville in January 2016. Friend loves his home town and everything it has to offer but he felt as if something was missing. “Huntsville is an incredibly active and athletic town. We sport many gyms, and build amazing athletes, but I have always felt that we lack one thing in particular—a strong unbreakable fitness community.”
The members at CrossFit Hatchet have formed a small, tight-knit community from all walks of life. “It’s not uncommon to have high-skilled athletes alongside first-time gym-goers, or even your grandma in the same class. CrossFit is universally scalable to all fitness levels. And it’s this unique situation that builds unparalleled camaraderie. It’s truly something special,” said Friend.
Prior to COVID-19, the gym offered three CrossFit classes daily with a cap of 10 athletes per class to ensure there is one-to-one time with the coach.
Once restrictions are lifted, CrossFit Hatchet will be offering an ‘On-Ramp’ class to help introduce new members to CrossFit. “All workouts are based on functional movements,” said Friend. “CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that prepares you for your everyday life and athletic endeavors more effectively and efficiently than any other program out there. These movements reflect elements of gymnastics (bodyweight), weightlifting, running, rowing, and endurance to increase overall fitness and athletic performance.”
In the near future, Friend hopes to be able to show Muskoka what a truly life-changing experience CrossFit can be either at his Huntsville gym or through virtual meets in the comfort of everyone’s home.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!