Aspen graduates are perfect fit for new CrossFit endeavor |

Aspen graduates are perfect fit for new CrossFit endeavor

Jeanne McGovernThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – When Erik Larson and Nick Massie opened Aspen CrossFit in early May, they wanted their new business venture to be more than just a fitness program.”I had been doing a lot of personal growth work and was looking for my next adventure, and CrossFit seemed to be the perfect way to improve my health and my life,” said Larson, a partner at Otte & Cote CPAs and the father of two school-age children. “It is truly the best workout I’ve ever done on a variety of levels, and I knew right away that I wanted other people to experience it, too.”According to the Aspen CrossFit website, the local gym is part of the national CrossFit movement that is “by design, broad, general and inclusive.” Larson and Massie say the program’s structure – which focuses on 10 “fitness domains,” including stamina, strength, balance and power, and uses tools such as medicine balls, pull-up bars and old-fashioned squats – allows everyone to improve their fitness and thus their lives.”There are so many overweight adults and children out there that once I learned about CrossFit I knew I wanted to be part of the solution,” Larson said. “I want to put a stop to the unhealthy lifestyle so many Americans are leading, and even worse, that so many children are being raised to lead.”Massie threw out a few statistics to back up Larson’s supposition, among them the fact that more than 70 percent of high school graduates are so obese they can’t qualify to enlist in the military.”CrossFit helps kids – and adults – set long-term goals, believe in themselves and live a ‘fit’ lifestyle. We are driven to create a workforce that has a positive influence on society,” said Massie, a private chef who also runs the CrossFit gym in Basalt. “If 70 percent of our kids can’t even enlist in the military, what will our workforce look like in a decade? Or in a generation?”The bottom line is fitness and fun, but CrossFit is so much more than that. We can turn timid, overweight kids with low self-esteem into the fire-breathing leaders of tomorrow.”Realizing the challenge in creating a program that empowers kids, Larson and Massie decided a first step was to get kids involved in creating the program. “I’ve had a burning desire, for a long time, to work with children,” said Larson. “CrossFit Kids is allowing me to do just that – we are working with high school teams, individual athletes, and kids who just want to get or stay fit and healthy. I’ve met some great kids through this venture.”Enter Sebastian Scholl and Zane Wimm. “When our art teacher asked me to talk with Erik and Nick about a project at the gym, I was a bit scared but I didn’t want to say no,” said Scholl, who, along with Wimm, graduated from Aspen High on Saturday. “This was my first year taking an art class, and to be asked to create a graffiti mural was a big job.”The mural Scholl was being asked to create was on a 50-foot-by-12-foot cinderblock wall – the main focus of Aspen CrossFit’s gym at the Aspen Business Center. It was a blank canvas for Scholl, who enlisted Wimm – a more experienced art student – to help with the project. The only requirement was that the mural they created include the word “CrossFit.””Once we got going, went to the hardware store and got all these great colored spray paints, it was great. So much fun,” said Scholl, adding that it took about five hours of sold work to get the job done. “And I’m so glad they are happy with it.”The results are indeed impressive – with bright colors, a space theme, and some unique graffiti art techniques, it is the perfect backdrop for a CrossFit workout, Larson said.”We are so impressed. Here’s this kid, Sebastian, who doesn’t fit the typical artsy stereotype. But as a lacrosse player and, obviously, a talented artist, he was the perfect kid to do this project,” he said, adding that the gym had the Aspen Middle School woodworking class craft its plyo boxes and will continue to look for ways to get kids involved as CrossFit grows. As for Scholl, who will head to Boston University in the fall, a future as a graffiti artist is unlikely (though he has been asked to go to Washington, D.C., to help design a mural for a CrossFit gym there).”I don’t think I’ll necessarily pursue art,” Scholl said. “But I’d do more projects like this. I believe in CrossFit, so it was great to get to be a part of it in a different way.”