You know what takes the “scary” out of Crossfit? Divine Mercy…

Divine Mercy Logo

Crossfit scares me.

Let me rephrase that… the stigma of Crossfit scares me.  A quick search on Pinterest for anything Crossfit will bring up anything from beautiful toughened up women, to mocking – and even crass and vulgar – statements like “Zumba?  B**** I do Crossfit.”  So not cool with that… (shout out to the Zumba people!!)  

However, my sister and her husband are avid Crossfitters.  My lil’ sis is actually getting her certification in a few weeks (go Brandi!!).  My sports therapist, Dr. Hill, is a Crossfitter.  My therapist in Wyoming is a Crossfitter.  Quite a few super great faith-filled people (and teens) I know love it… live by it.  I get that it works for some people, but for me, still slightly scary.

Part of that reasoning is that I attended a Crossfit gym with my lil’ sis at a gym here in CO just north of us.  I shall state in all fairness that in order for me to agree to do this Crossfit thang w/my sis and her hubs, I subjected them to a quick 20 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout before we even went to the open house.

Upon arrival, my hubs and I were given very little instruction.  (I guess we’re so ripped they thought we were novices already)  So here is how it pretty much went:  

Here is how you work the rowing machine properly.  

Row to 60 meters.  

While you’re doing that, your sis will be doing as many pushups as it takes you to row to 60 meters.  

Aaaand… GO!  

Confused I jumped in…or should I say, got my row on.  

Row, row, row my boat… aaaaaaaaaaand 60 meters.  Fluh.


Ugh.  Freakin’ pushups.  Push up, push down, push up, push down…

come ON Brandi…60 meters is taking for-ev-er!!  

Well, you get the idea.  And, by the way, my sis totes kicked my butt.  In everything that we did.  About halfway through I suddenly realized we were competing.  Yes.  I’m slow.  By the end of that workout, I was no longer pretty.  Let’s just say that jump rope after 3 babies is, well, I’ll spare you the details.  

What happens in Crossfit, stays in Crossfit.  

We then ended up at Chipotle where I ate my weight in Burrito Bols.  

The next day, while ruminating over the muscles in my feet that were screaming “BOX JUMPS!!!” at me, I realized Crossfit wasn’t for me at that time.  It just plain scared me.

That was before I heard about Divine Mercy Crossfit in Littleton, Colorado.  Owned by Steve Smith, staffed by a good friend (and strapping fireman/coach, J.D.) and frequented by many priests, this Crossfit gym is quite literally a stand out in my book.  

My friend and therapist, Dr. Woody Hill, and I paid a visit to Divine Mercy a few weeks ago to find out a little bit more about Coach Steve’s philosophy.  

 What was the catalyst for getting into CrossFit in the first place?

Of all the methods I have tried in the past, over my lifetime, I found CrossFit to be the most effective in getting me all around fit.  I am attracted to the fact that it is a methodology where we are constantly trying new things.  Kind of like a laboratory.  We continue to use what is effective and discard what is not.  I am also attracted to the fact that we are focused on human movement.  Constantly working to get our clients to move better, more efficiently, more beautifully.

St Michael

How did you discern the desire to make it a faith/fitness-fused gym?  

It was a family decision.  We decided that God led us to open the gym, so we decided to dedicate it to Him.

Lay aside every weight

How did you begin?

Initially we started out in my garage.  My first clients were family and friends from St. Francis Cabrini Church in Littleton.  We were in the garage for about 1 year and 9 months.  We grew to about 20 members.  I made just enough money to keep buying equipment (weights, bars, kettlebells, rowers, etc).  We have now been in our current location for about 3 years and 11 months.  We have 78 clients currently, and have trained more than 500 people over the whole span of time.  I have seen many people come and then move on.  That is the nature of things.  Financially, we always seem to just make it – God keeps us going – but has not blessed us with financial success…yet.   He has blessed us with an amazing community of people.  

What are some of the attributes that sets this Crossfit Gym apart from others?  

 We really focus on keeping people healthy.  I know this sounds crazy but many CrossFit gyms throw people into workouts who are just not ready.  They get hurt and think that is how CrossFit is. (this sounds familiar, says Joia…)

One of the issues of pushing yourself physically is that you have a better chance of getting injured by straining muscles and/or joints.  So, we like to have new people take it slow.  Me or one of the Coaches have 4 personal sessions with new members.  We teach them all the movements and go over where the issues are for that person.  If we feel the client is not ready for group classes, we will suggest more personal sessions or develop a program they can do during a class.  

 We also have extensive warmups and warmdowns.  They are respectively designed to prepare muscles for action as well as strengthen and lengthen muscles to do what they are designed to do.  Nearly half do the class time is spent on this area.

 Also, we as Coaches ask each person as they come into class if they are having issues.  If so we talk further and if need be, we come up with modifications to the workout.

we conquer

 Regarding the “faith piece” of your gym, how do you incorporate Redemptive Suffering into your WOD’s?  

 We pray as a group before each workout.  We also have a prayer board where we will write our intentions.  We do the workouts for those intentions.  We suffer quite a bit, we give it up for others and the Greater Glory of God.

Prayer Wall

Do you see your gym as part of the New Evangelization?  

 Yes. I think so.   Although, I think most folks have no idea what we are.  I thought it was very clear with a name like Divine Mercy Fitness.  I think some people think we are a church, others think we are over zealous religious freaks.  I am just trying to follow the will of God.

Divine MercyYeah.  So… I may have to give this Crossfit thing another look…