Business

This gym isn’t a playschool

Skip Chase, owner of the new Mt. Baker CrossFit in Oak Harbor, works out with a kettlebell. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Skip Chase, owner of the new Mt. Baker CrossFit in Oak Harbor, works out with a kettlebell.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

No machines, no televisions, no fruit juice bar. Just a large room filled with mats and weights ready for people who are serious about getting in shape.

Mt. Baker CrossFit opened earlier this month. Located on Goldie Road near the intersection of Highway 20, the gym provides a regimen based on the CrossFit Program, which was developed in California and has been used by military personnel and Olympic athletes.

Oak Harbor resident Holly Ray was one of the first local people to sign up for the project. She had heard about the new business through her husband, who is part of the explosive ordnance disposal unit at the base.

“When I heard they were coming here, I was excited to try them out,” Ray said as she was going through a workout one recent morning. Her 20-minute physical test consisted of a circuit of three pull-ups, six pushups, and nine squat thrusts. She monitors how many times she completes the circuit to compare her progress from previous workouts.

Mt. Baker CrossFit is owned and operated by Skip Chase. The Oak Harbor location is the second gym he has opened, following the Mount Vernon gym he opened last October.

Chase, 56, spent most of his career as a trainer for large fitness centers. But after working for those gyms, he found they generally weren’t effective in improving people’s fitness. Eventually, he decided to do it his way.

“They don’t work,” said Chase, who knows something about staying fit. His claim to fame is that he holds the Guinness World Record for most situps using and abdominal frame in a 24-hour period (110,912).

Even though fitness has been a part of his life for years, he found out he had a long way to go when he came across the CrossFit program in 2005.

“I discovered CrossFit and discovered I wasn’t close to being in the best shape of my life,” Chase said. He said the system shuns elaborate exercise machines, instead using body weight for exercise and bands to assist muscle building. He said people get lean and incredibly powerful and strong by using CrossFit.

As he monitored Ray through her efforts, he said she has a workout that allows her to exercise to her level of fitness. He said that develops a level of consistency that he hasn’t seen before.

“When they come in the door they are being trained,” Chase said.

Mt. Baker CrossFit offers several CrossFit programs, including Russian Kettlebell Lifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Commando Krav Maga Self-Defense, and Yoga.

In addition to the fitness programs, Chase works with folks to improve their nutrition through their training. He is planning to hold a nutrition seminar next month. Changes in nutrition will force the body to use excess fat.

He said he originally hadn’t planned on opening a location in Oak Harbor. Those plans changed when several members of the EOD unit at the base joined his gym in Mount Vernon. After coming to the base and helping personnel train, Chase decided to open a spot in town.

Currently 50 members have joined since the doors opened. He said the bulk of the members are affiliated with the military but he hopes the clientele base will expand as word spreads. His Mount Vernon gym has 280 members and a two-to-one female to male ratio.

Mt. Baker CrossFit marks the third gym to open in Oak Harbor in recent years. Chase calls those other gyms “preschools” and added that people who have plateaued at other gyms could find another level of exercise at Mt. Baker CrossFit.

He is offering a one week free trial period. For more information, call 914-7159.

Community Events, April 2014

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