It’s been nice to go through this process and build a team of people that believe in my project and believe in what I’m doing.
CJ Lyons wasn’t searching for a workout. He was looking for community, and he found it in CrossFit. “You join a 6 p.m. class and those become kind of your people that you to go class with every day,” CJ says. As athletes cycle through high-intensity movement and lift weights, “there’s a little competitive banter.” Eventually, he decided to leave music teaching and focus on the CrossFit community. “Might as well do something that I’m passionate about!” CJ leased a warehouse that was a perfect fit for a gym, or what CrossFit folks call “the box.”
The cost for equipment and improvements was more than CJ’s bank account could easily cover, but not enough to interest bank lending officers. The University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center steered him to The Progress Fund, which loaned $50,750.
CrossFit Indiana offers early morning and after-work sessions, personal training and nutrition coaching. CJ is connecting with schools, sports teams and armed forces-related organizations, turning the box into a hub for people who might not otherwise cross paths. He’s building, for them, the kind of community he found. “I think there is a driving force of people wanting to stay healthy, to be active, to be moving well, and have a good time doing it.”