The lounge at Nadia Shatila’s gym contains many leather-bound books and smells of rich mahogany. It has a cache of whisky, a dartboard and a carefully arranged collection of assorted curiousities that would have impressed Charles Dickens.
In fact, CrossFit Belltown in Seattle, Wash., is one of the more striking boxes you’ll ever see, with an interior characterized by red brick, dark wood, and a host of personal touches and custom-designed pieces. One passerby saw the wood and a chandelier through the window and thought a wine bar was opening instead of a fitness facility. Then she joined.
“The Belltown difference is just little tiny things you can do to just go above and beyond the normal standard,” says Shatila, who’s also a member of CrossFit’s Level 1 Seminar Staff.
“We’ve had clients that maybe think we’re a little bit obsessive compulsive, if you will,” Shatila explains as Pat Sherwood torments her by knocking med balls out of perfect alignment—laces out!
That attention to detail earned this note on the visitors board from none other than CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman: “I’ve not seen a finer expression of the CF ideal than here.”
All elegance aside, Shatila knows the appearance of the gym is less important than what happens inside it.
“You don’t need to have a cool-looking gym. Obviously what keeps clients around is people are coming back for your quality of coaching, your programming. Are you getting them fitter?”
Video by Ian Wittenber.
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Additional reading: Worst. WOD. Ever. by Richard Grimes, published Oct. 13, 2010.