BANFF – Banff’s brand new CrossFit gym has given its owner the opportunity to use the space to debunk stigmas, offer intimate programming and help anyone achieve fitness results.
In this jungle gym of a Rocky Mountain national park, many are drawn to the active lifestyle offered, which Bow Valley CrossFit owner Liz White said she’s built the perfect compliment to.
“I’m a big believer that you use the fitness you gain in the gym to go outside and enjoy where we are,” White said.
Enter her first ever business, Bow Valley CrossFit, located at 200 Hawk Avenue in Banff, which officially opened Aug. 1, in a near 1,700 square foot, L-shaped space equipped with CrossFit essentials for individual and group training.
Open seven days a week, White’s gym offers CrossFit classes, intro courses, Olympic weightlifting, personal training, drop-ins, yoga, newly designed programs, and adaptable training programs for individuals to grow in any sport.
CrossFit is a mixture of exercises designed to increase cardio, strength and mobility, which is what White loves about it.
“It’s not just for young fit people, it’s for anybody,” White said. “We’re building a really solid community here, it’s welcoming and it’s not just about the fitness.
It’s social, too, people are excited to see each other, they’re making new friends; that’s been the most beautiful thing and tells me I’ve made the right decision and we’re moving in a great direction.”
Originally from England, White was a competitive swimmer overseas before coming to Banff in 2002 to ski for six months. She had plans to return to the U.K. to complete a sports science degree.
But things changed for the Brit in half a year.
“I fell in love with Banff and ended up staying here,” she said.
With a bursting passion to coach and help others, White graduated from the personal training program at Calgary’s Mount Royal University and has been actively doing it in the Bow Valley since.
“I started CrossFit when I was pretty heavily in mountain bike racing and I found that it improved my cardio, it improved my strength, the uphill times became easier; it compliments everything we do in the outdoors,” she said.
When deciding to get into the CrossFit business earlier in 2018, White’s been learning the ins and outs from other mountain town CrossFit gym owners along the way.
“It’s been challenging, but worth it,” she said.
Inside Bow Valley CrossFit, the entrepreneur loaded up on cardio, strength and mobility equipment such as rowing machines, assault bikes, a SkiErg, a sled pusher, wall balls, dumbbells, kettle bells, jump boxes, skipping ropes, Olympic weightlifting, a pull up rig, and a climbing rope.
With space and equipment secured, White’s “keen to focus on small group sizes” for a semi-private training feel during lessons to help individuals get in that last rep.
“When I look at the individuals coming in here, my main philosophies with them are, it’s your journey, it’s your goals, it’s your path and it’s your results,” White said. “Yes, we come in and work as a team, but it’s the individual, you’re working for yourself.”
One of White’s biggest passions at Bow Valley CrossFit was creating exclusive programming.
“I think with CrossFit, a lot of times people have this stigma that CrossFit is scary, that it’s unsafe, and they’re intimidated to try it,” White said. “So I knew I really wanted to develop a program that introduced people to CrossFit slowly.”
Two of White’s creations are the Mom and Baby Boot Camp, designed for new mothers (babies welcome) and the Couch to CrossFit program.
The two-week, six-session Couch to CrossFit program introduces the nine foundational movements of CrossFit and, followed by two weeks of unlimited classes, is something White was passionate about building.
“It’s a great way to introduce people to the sport,” said White, adding Bow Valley CrossFit is equipped with lighter weights for beginners to be able to properly perform movements under her watchful eye to prevent injuries.
“The idea is at the end of the first two weeks you feel comfortable coming to those regular classes and if you don’t, I offer personal training, one on one programs with you to get you to that level where you do feel comfortable coming to a class,” White said.
It’s a complete package, White said, where she talks about how influences outside the gym affect overall fitness such as sleep quality, daily nutrition and mental health.
“Exercising is only one part of it, it’s a whole package for health and wellness,” White said.
For prices, schedules and other information, visit www.bowvalleycrossfit.com or the Facebook page, Bow Valley CrossFit.