"We want to see them make their lives better, because Crossfit's making them better" Jason of Crossfit Eufaula

Good day Fringe Fam. This is Peter Keller here, again, and I have the honor and privilege to talk to Jason Threatt today. He's from Crossfit Eufaula in Alabama. And Jason, that's in Eufaula, Alabama; that's the name of the city? Or, am I wrong about that?

Jason: No, that is correct. That is the name of the town.

Awesome. So, Jason, tell us a little bit about yourself, and then we'll talk a little bit about Crossfit Eufaula, and see where it goes.

Jason: Not a whole lot to say about me, really. I'm not that interesting, I guess. Just kind of like everybody else in Crossfit, was doing a little bit of MMA, and was not able to get to the fight gym very often, and lost a fight due to conditioning. And a friend of mine was training some army rangers, and he was telling me they swear by this stuff called Crossfit, I needed to look at it. So, I looked up the website, and I'm like, "This website's terrible." I didn't do it for a couple weeks, and I said, "Well, I might as well give it a shot," and it crushed me. And I said, "Well, that was unusual."

So, I went back and did another workout, and it crushed me again (laughter). And it's been doing the same thing for the last eight years. So, I just kind of fell in love with that, and loved the fact that it was different every day. I had never been in a gym before, as far as lifting weight was concerned. So, I didn't start until I was almost 35 years old, so I was a little late coming to the gym. And I found it interesting just because it was a lot of different stuff, it was changing all the time, there were things you were good at, things you were terrible at. And just kind of started working at it.

I was working out at a private gym, actually. I was not in a Crossfit box. And some of my friends kept coming up to me and saying, "What are you doing?" And I'm like, "It's called Crossfit. Stay away." And they said, "No, man. I want to try it." And within three or four months, I had become the coach of like 10 people. And six months later, went and got my L1. And about a year and a half later, moved back to Alabama, and opened up a box.

Awesome. So, where were you training before? Maybe I missed this when you mentioned it earlier. Where you first got your taste?

Jason: Well, no; I didn't actually mention it. I was living in North Carolina at the time. I used to work for NASCAR, and was working for those guys, and I was actually working out in a gym that the company provided for us. I've never been in a Crossfit box, other than to take a certification; which is kind of odd.

Wow. So, did you move back to Alabama because that was where you had roots? Or, what brought you back there?

Jason: Yes. That's correct. My mom and dad both lived here. As they were getting older, and I knew that I just wanted to move back home. Things were changing in my job, and I was not as happy as I wanted to be, and I always believe in doing what you love, and if you don't love what you're doing, change what you're doing. So, decided to move back home, and open up a box, and see how it went. It was kind of unknown, because the town is so small; there's only like 10,000 people here. And we were really unsure of how things would go, because the town was so small. But, we've been successful, and it's been good.

I love to hear that. So, how many years ago is that, that you opened up Crossfit Eufaula?

Jason: Six and a half years ago.

Wow. That's pretty awesome. And I would like to pop something in here and mention; so, I was talking with Scott from Crossfit Logan Martin about last week, I think, and one of the things that I had asked him was who was really influential on him in terms of coaching and running a business. And, Jason, he had mentioned you, specifically. He's like, "You gotta talk to this guy Jason. He's awesome. Best Crossfit box owner I've ever run into." So, I don't know what the connection exactly is, but he was a very strong supporter of you.

Jason: Yeah. Well, Scott was the Marine police here in town for a couple of years, and he had been Crossfit-ing for a while, and he came in ... And it's the same thing we see in a lot of boxes. It's about lifting the most weight, and going the fastest, but not necessarily the best form. And I told him that that's not how we did things. We're very old school Crossfit. We warm up with a piece of PVC pipe. We don't throw a bunch of weight on the bar to begin with. We make sure it's done right, with consistency, before you get to add weight. And we're very family oriented, like a lot of Crossfit gyms. We want to take care of people, and we want them in the gym, and we want to see them improve, and we want to see them make their lives better, because Crossfit's making them better.

But, that comes at a cost; sometimes you have to back up to get your form right to make sure that you don't get hurt in the long run, because we need people to be safe. Because my gym is ... I claim to have the oldest Crossfit gym in the world, because my average client is in their late 40s. So, our gym is very old demographic-wise, so it's very different when you train; you have to focus on form. They don't heal up in a day. If they get injured, they take two or three weeks to get healed up. So, we have to be very careful about how we do things, and the rate at which we excel, and add weight, and things like that, to the bar.

See, that's really interesting. You just mentioned that you have the oldest Crossfit gym in the world, and you've talked about your demo kind of being, on average, like the late 40s. Was that a conscious decision for you? Is that a function of the town's demographic? Help me understand about it a little more.

Jason: It's just a function of the town's demographic; that is all. The town is very old. Being a small town, when most people turn 18, they leave, and go to college, and they're gone. Very much like me; I was gone for 15 years, and then I just came back. There are a few that trickle back home, that take the place of their parents. But, for the most part, people leave and never come back.

Wow. That is very different, I think, than a lot of our other box customers would recognize in their populations. So, other than this extreme focus on form, what does the community look like, I'm really curious about, with the older demo?

Jason: Well, it's interesting. It took us a while to try to get into that group of people. We have people in their 70s, and we have a lot of people in their 60s, and most of them were very scared to come in. And we had to get a couple in the gym, and they would go out, and they would find their friends, and like, "No, you need to try this. Jason'll work with you. He'll do whatever he has to do to work around your knee that doesn't work anymore." I had a guy come in that's had three knee replacements. He's only got two knees, but he's got one of them replaced twice, obviously. But, he was like, "Man, can you do something with my knees being this way?" And I'm like, "Sure. Of course we can!" And he's been with me for five years.

These people just go out and tell other people, just like most boxes work. People get hooked on Crossfit, and they're like, "Hey, you gotta come try this; it's terrible." You know?

You said that a couple times; "Crossfit's terrible. It's Crossfit; you shouldn't do it."

Jason: It is. That's right

Is that your marketing campaign?

Jason: Yeah. It kinda is. Because I've always figured, when you tell somebody, "It's terrible, you shouldn't try it." They're like, "Well, why do you do it, then?" It makes them curious about why they want to do it.

That's pretty funny. I've been doing some sales training, recently, and we talk a lot about reverses. So, when somebody comes, they expect you to say one thing, "Oh, Crossfit's amazing, you should come here and do it." And, instead, you're saying, "Stay away. You wouldn't be interested. Yeah. See you later." I love that.

Jason: Yeah. Well, it has a tendency to ward off the people that really don't want to be there anyway, that are just trying to follow the trend. I'm not interested in those people, anyway. I'm interested in people that want to make their lives better, and are in it for the long haul. And, of course, everybody that walks in the door's not like that. We obviously have a lot of people that don't make it. Which is unfortunate because ... Some people say Crossfit's for everybody, but I don't believe that. I don't think everybody enjoys Crossfit, and I think you need to do something you enjoy. And some people just don't like that heart racing, lungs burning, quads burning; they just don't like that. And you don't have to like it in the moment, but when you get done you have to like it.

I totally agree. And, actually, it reminds me of a conversation I had with a group of people recently, where somebody was trying to tell me that power lifting is the only way to go, because they were really into power lifting. And my attitude's like, "Well, honestly, whatever kind of turns you on mentally in the gym is really the right way for you. It doesn't have to be Crossfit, or power lifting, or weight lifting, or Pilates, or yoga, or whatever. Whatever your brain works."

Jason: Right. Yeah. I mean, people have been getting in shape since people have been fighting. As long as there's been wars going on, people have understood that, the better shape you are in, the more likely you were to live longer. So, this has been going on for thousands of years. This is just what I enjoy. And a lot of people seem to enjoy it with me, so we have fun doing it together.

I love it. Well, I think that's a good a note to end on as any. This has been a short, but very entertaining interview for me. So, Jason, how should people find you if they happen to be in Eufaula, or if they want to contact you for any reason; what's the best way?

Jason: Oh, it's easy. We're on Facebook, like everybody else is. Or, my phone number is on the Facebook page; you can just text me from there. And we'll get you in the gym, and let you come in and train with us for a little while.

Awesome. Jason, this has been amazing. Really enjoyed the interview. Anything else you have to say?

Jason: I don't think so, Peter. I appreciate the phone call, man.

Awesome. Sounds fantastic. Everybody go out there and lift something heavy today.

Jason: That's right.


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