In Affiliation, CrossFit

February 20, 2010

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Original CrossFitters Greg and Mallee Amundson share lessons learned as athletes at the historic CrossFit Headquarters on how to establish and grow a world-class garage gym.

My wife Mallee and I were blessed with great opportunities in CrossFit while living in Santa Cruz, Calif. Although life was ideal in Santa Cruz, the nature of working for the federal government requires flexibility and an advance agreement to relocate on short notice to domestic and international posts. In June 2008, I was notified my surfing days in Santa Cruz would be “temporarily” suspended in lieu of hiking sand dunes in the middle of the Southern California desert.

The first thing Mallee and I did when we were informed of our post of duty was check the CrossFit Affiliate page. We were shocked to discover no CrossFit affiliates anywhere in the entire county of Imperial, Calif.

Upon our arrival in Imperial County, we had the bare necessities a garage gym needs to sustain athletic development. However, we longed for a more complete garage gym with the look, feel and inspiration of a regular CrossFit box. In addition to building our garage gym, Mallee and I were eager to share our passion for CrossFit with our new community. The question was where to find people to work out with us?

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26 Comments on “Garage Gym 101: How to Grow a Successful Garage Gym”


wrote …

Great article! Thanks Greg and Mallee


Adam Kayce wrote …

Wow, to think of those lucky folks in Imperial County whose first introduction to CrossFit was from Greg & Mallee... what a blessing.

Thanks for sharing your story. It's both inspiring and deeply educational.


wrote …

Greg`s passion and commitment to what he does seems to pay off 1000-fold. I would LOVE to have that gym in my neighbourhood. When it comes time to buying a house for myself, I might have to start browsing from the garage.


wrote …

“Nobody ever called me an athlete before. But I believe today that I am!” What an incredibly powerful and meaningful paradigm shift. My eyes teared up as I read this.

Greg and Mallee, thank you for sharing your story of the CrossFit-driven transformation you have set in motion in the lives of your new friends.


Hollis Molloy wrote …

You two are the best. I wish you continued success and THANK YOU for all that you have done for us.


wrote …

Way to go Greg and Mallee. The folks of Imperial are indeed fortunate to have CFA and the two of you as their coaches.

I hope to see the two of you strolling the streets of Coronado in the not too distant future.


wrote …

Mallee, thank you for showing me Crossfit! And I was lucky enough to have Greg at my L1 cert. This article is amazing - one could have moved away and been content to work out in their own garage, but you chose to "spread the love" and open yours up to others.


wrote …

Wow, what a great read! Your passion and generosity are phenomenal!


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Greg, this is awesome, great to see you going back to your roots of a garage gym.

I just bought a new house and my wife has declared it a NO Gym zone, he he he

It's the best garage I ever had, with high ceilings!!!

I'll start w/some simple stuff like a climbing rope and rings....

This is the way to a woman's heart, ha ha ha

Thanks Greg!

Be awesome!



wrote …

Great article, especially for someone who continues to consider the possibility of affiliation one day, but worries a lot about making it.

I'd be interested...what were your professions before (or still currently) CF? And how did you make the adjustment so you could both eat AND build?



wrote …

Inspiring. Don't have a garage, but our Rouge Bumper set, jump ropes, and med balls are turning heads in our Apartment. Can't wait to spread the wealth beyond my wife and I. Thank you.


wrote …


I better get out to the garage and clean up ... my athletes should begin showing up in 1 hour.

Loved the good nature of the article and good luck in your training,



wrote …

Inspiring Greg and Mallee, thank you, will be able to use your insight with my on base group here at NSA Millington. Paul


wrote …

You guys are inspiring. I've wanted to do this for two years, but kept putting it off. My wife and I have been getting by with only a ring set, a couple dumbells, home-made parallelettes, a jumprope, a $12 door-frame pullup bar and creativity. But I finally pulled the trigger and got a bumper set, bar and squat stands. I'll be transforming my garage into a gym in the very near future and hope to be able to tell a story similar to this one a year or two from now. Thanks guys.


wrote …

Truly inspiring.

Thank you!


wrote …

Let us not forget that they both only have like 3 jobs each! Sooo Laazzy.
You guys are amazing.
What a great reason to move to Imperial...



wrote …

Great work!

How do you get around zoning, permitting,discruntled neighbors and liability issues?

Thank you!


wrote …

Greg and Mallee,

I feel so privileged to know you two and call you friends. I loved the article and it's truly phenomenal what you are doing down there in the desert. The fact that you two are creating an amazing fitness revolution out of your garage speaks volumes about how great CrossFit really is. We don't need big boxes, a sea of equipment, or tons of trainers. You prove to all of us that all you need is the CrossFit method, passion for fitness, and a motivating spirit that makes a small space a huge community.

My wife and I really hope to see you two again sometime soon after I leave the Corps. You guys are awesome, and I hope you continue to do well.

Take care,


wrote …

WOW!!!! Awesome.
I love how you both marketed and self advertised CrossFit with literally no usage of cash.
Great garage by the way.
And did i read that right from Kelly Starrett; they each have 3 other jobs and still have time to coach others.
You 2 are not just fire-breathers but machines!!!!!

Very inspiring!!!


Bob Guere wrote …

You continue to inspire Greg. (aka CrossFit Ambassador to the world)


Austin @Unlimited wrote …

Greg and Mallee, you are two special people and have done a lot for this community. Thanks for sharing this story, It's awesome!


wrote …

You two are amazing...Keep striving! And come visit again at Crossfit San Diego already!

-Aush @CFSD


wrote …

Great article loved it!


wrote …

Greg and Mallee,

You guys are amazing! Thanks for the great article, I wish you both continued success and happiness!



wrote …

Articles like this make you feel part of such a big family and motivate me to become not only a better coach but a better person. Mick Lane CF Coffs Coast (Aus)


replied to comment from Michael O'Keeffe

This reminds me of a day not long ago that someones encouraging words included the word "jock". As a lifelong jockette who got into really trouble with weight, and 53 years old cranking out my 4 pullups at a time, it was music to my ears!

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