Certus CrossFit: Putting Passion into Fitness

Courtesy of Michelle Kasten – Michelle Kasten is shown doing box jumps, one of CrossFit’s many simple workouts. The passionate co-owner and gym manager opened up a new CrossFit gym in Clovis in December.

Certus CrossFit is a huge 8,000 square foot facility located at 1830 Clovis Ave. Members receive specialized instruction in an environment where everyone can grow and succeed regardless of their ability.

Putting passion into fitness

New CrossFit gym opens in Clovis

Five years ago, Michelle Kasten would have never dreamed of owning her own gym, let alone one specializing in CrossFit. Combining her passion for fitness and her heart for improving the lives of others, she stands inside her brand new gym and can’t help but be overwhelmed with emotion.

“I’m here from open to close and when I get here in the morning and have six people eager and willing to be taught, that puts a big smile on my face,” said Kasten. “I’ve never had a job like that.”

Kasten talks about CrossFit like her hair is on fire, a quality that separates their specialized workouts from other gyms. CrossFit trainers wear their emotions on their sleeves and are known for their encouraging styles and upbeat personalities.

While sharing her passion for fitness, she has to stop herself a few times, once for getting teary-eyed.

“You can envision the colors, the boxes, the equipment”, said Kasten while surveying the gym. “I can’t believe it’s really happening.”

Certus CrossFit opened its doors in early December at 1830 Clovis Ave. next to Grocery Outlet. When you walk through the doors, the huge 8,000 square-foot gym has that “new car” smell and ample open space. The converted First String Sports building is bigger than most CrossFit gyms and Kasten has big plans for the facility, including an area set aside for nutrition products. And there’s no fancy equipment or huge, bulky machines. What you see are wooden boxes, kettlebells, chin-up bars and medicine balls–a sign of the simplicity of the style of workouts.

If you’re unfamiliar with CrossFit, the workouts are not a lay-on-your-back-and-do-some-benchpress and some sit-ups regiment. A session typically includes a warm-up, a skill development segment, a high-intensity workout of the day and a period of individual or group stretching.

Similar to a sports team or a military unit, at the heart of CrossFit is a sense of community. People of all shapes and sizes walk in and can receive a low client-to-coach ratio. Encouraging, pushing and helping each other along the way in regards to fitness are key elements, and ones that Kasten fully embraces.

“I want my members to feel ownership in the gym and come use it for whatever avenue they desire,” said the former bodybuilder competitor. “We are the bridge between doing things on your own and a personal trainer.”

So what specialty sessions does Certus CrossFit offer? For example, on Wednesday night, Jan. 7, they held a gymnastics class taught by a certified gymnastics coach. On Monday nights, they have Olympic lifting. On Fridays, they focus on skills and drills.

Still unsure what CrossFit is all about? Kasten and her staff are happy to explain all the ins and outs of the popular workout session and what her mission is for people. But even Kasten herself was a bit hesitant about this whole deal until some friends convinced her to check it out and a local gym owner invited her to a workout in 2011.

“I never looked into it, I never Googled it because I liked what I was doing. I took the bait,” said Kasten rather sheepishly. “I really liked it, so much I kept going back.”

She praises her fellow trainer, Joe DaVain, and her intern, David Lima, for their dedication. Waking up and arriving before the crack of dawn isn’t attractive for most people, but is something the staff of Certus CrossFit fully embraces.

It took 18 months from concept to doors open, and the fruits of Kasten’s labor are in full bloom. The passion she exudes is contagious, and she hopes the community of Clovis catches the fever.

“Pinch me,” she said. “I’m blessed.”


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