Reebok CrossFit East Woodbridge Grand Opening. Extending the Family Business with co-owners and brothers Chris and Steve Cristini.

Author:
Photographer: Nestor Ponce
2012-11-03 11.11.05

The “brand new” smell had barely faded as I stepped into Reebok CrossFit East Woodbridge for its Grand Opening earlier this month. Located just north of Toronto, the newest Reebok-sponsored affiliate is spacious and fully equipped with every toy on the CrossFitter’s wish list.

Visitors to the new facility were invited to break in the new equipment with burpees, hang cleans, and toes-to-bar during WODs held throughout the day. CrossFit Games competitors Angie Pye and Lucas Parker of Canada West and Matt Lefave of Canada East were on hand for some extra coaching and encouragement.

The Games athletes even put on a show of their own, throwing down in a WOD with co-owners and brothers Chris and Steve Cristini. The challenge was not easily won against veteran CrossFitter Chris, who boasts a National Muay Thai Championship, 7 years of personal training, and a 7th place finish at the 2012 Canada East Regional.

Chris and Steve are no strangers to running a CrossFit box either; they’ve co-owned CrossFit Markham with their mom Anna since 2008. When Chris was approached by Reebok about opening his own gym and expanding the family business, he put aside his plans for chiropractic school and devoted himself to CrossFit full time. “This is where my heart and passion are at; it only makes sense,” he says.

Chris says the new East Woodbridge location wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the CrossFit community: “In setting up the gym, I’ve had so much help from so many people that are going above and beyond. People are doing things for me for free that I never would have been able to afford.” The transition has helped him realize just how much of an impact CrossFit and its community have on people’s lives. “[The people helping me] are telling me they want to be a part of it, to give back to me and to the community . . . They don’t want anything in return.”
Chris intends to pay the help forward and extend the community beyond its current scope. “I really want to engage people you might not think of as the typical CrossFit type, the demographics that would never think of doing it because they’re intimidated, or think it’s too ‘hard core.’ Crossfit has done so much for so many people, if we get the message to the masses, they’ll see the potential, just like everyone does.”

Once you take the plunge, he says, you’ll find support waiting for you. “Everyone here has a common goal: to better their lives. Even if you’re the type of person who doesn’t set goals because you’re scared to set yourself up for failure, when you’re around all these positive people, you have no choice but to become positive and outgoing as well; it’s contagious.”

The Cristinis aren’t wasting any time making a name for East Woodbridge. Before the Box was even finished, they held WODs in the parking lot of the Reebok store nearby, just twenty feet from a well-known big box gym. And since opening, they’ve hosted some of Canada East’s stars of the invitational competition CompWOD’s Best of the Best (see the next issue of Sweat RX for highlights).

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