CrossFit Inferno stuck to the original Greg Glassman recipe: start small, grow out of your space, repeat.
Bill Grundler, founder and co-owner of the San Luis Obispo, Calif., affiliate, talks about the journey that started with $50 Olympic bars bought off craigslist, econo-bumpers and homemade plyo boxes.
“We started small with stuff that we made and then just grew. It was a very, very organic kind of set-up,” he says. “It was very low end, and what I liked about that is, in the true heart of CrossFit, you don’t need a lot of money, you don’t need a lot of equipment, and you can do all the same stuff.”
Inferno’s space is a tin shed, says Grundler, who finished seventh in the 2011 Southern California Regional. It’s not glamorous or glitzy; the temperature has dropped as low as 43 F and has climbed as high as 104 at times—like the day the WOD was Fight Gone Bad. Battling the elements is what CrossFitters have become accustomed to, Grundler says, and that grittiness is part of what characterizes his box and start-up affiliates like it.
“When you grow through like what we did, it’s actually like you’re growing up. I mean you start through the infancy phase and you become a teenager and then grow into a man in that whole CrossFit world,” Grundler explains. “There’s a lot more soul to that, I think. I mean that’s the way CrossFit was supposed to be.”
He added: “If you don’t have the CrossFit heart-and-soul part down, then I think you just lose the community, you lose the whole feel, and you just become another gym, and I don’t think that’s the point. We already got plenty of those.”
Additional reading: Taking Age Out of the Equation by Hilary Achauer, published July 22, 2011.