CrossFit Waukesha offers new, challenging workout
Program spices up normal routine with household objects

By Sarah Grannis - Special to The Freeman

November 1, 2012


Michael Schaeffer, foreground, works on weight lifting squat technique Tuesday during a class at CrossFit Waukesha, 411 Travis Lane.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Ryan Maloney saw a huge void in Waukesha’s fitness community, one that could only be filled with a massive tire to be flipped over.

Maloney was first introduced to the CrossFit exercise program as a member of the Army National Guard. Intrigued with the results he saw from the strength and conditioning program, Maloney became a certified trainer last year and began looking for ways to bring a gym to the Waukesha community.

“I thought the community needed something different and knew they wanted what CrossFit had to offer,” Maloney said. “It’s an alternative workout that you won’t get from a traditional gym-type program.”

CrossFit Waukesha recently opened its doors at 411 Travis Lane. Maloney purchased the 3,000-square-foot facility and filled it with artificial turf, a wide variety of equipment, and enlisted the help of his friend Josh Maney - a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and fellow CrossFit enthusiast.

CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity.” Participants rarely do the same 20-minute routine twice, instead relying on the “workout of the day.” These workouts aim to teach individuals how to apply the movements taught in class into their daily lives, such as picking heavy boxes up off the floor or even pushing a lawnmower While the program has gained recognition from police academies, military special operation units and martial artists worldwide, it has also become its own phenomenon with more than 4,000 affiliated gyms throughout the United States and the “CrossFit Games” fitness competition, sponsored by Reebok and televised on the ESPN network.

Instructor Josh Maney, right, watches participants Erik House, Michael Schaeffer, Dawn Ollhoff and Caitlyn Pfaffle do a pushup variation Tuesday during a class at CrossFit Waukesha, 411 Travis Lane.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

While the program may sound daunting - not to mention, the large tires used by more experienced participants are somewhat intimidating - Maney insists you don’t need to be an elite athlete to train in the program.

“Anyone is able to do CrossFit. The only restrictions it has are the same as any other fitness program - if you have an injury of some kind, you might not be able to do some particular aspect,” Maney explained. “We’ve had plenty of beginners here. Our clients include soccer moms, individuals over 50 years old, as well as high school students and their sports teams.”

Carroll University student Aaron Arts-Kottke began taking classes after his roommate showed him a flyer advertising free classes in Frame Park before the gym opened. Arts-Kottke, who had previously done CrossFit for a year before taking a hiatus, began emailing Maloney and Maney about getting back into the program once the gym opened and now attends a class held three days a week at 7 a.m. at the facility, which he adds, “really wakes me up.”

While the CrossFit program has faced some controversy due to its high intensity, Arts-Kottke claims the benefits far outweigh any risks.

“I had done CrossFit before and knew the risks going in, so I knew what I was getting into. But I also remembered the results I saw - CrossFit gives me more motivation to get things done and I’ve noticed a spark in my energy levels,” Arts-Kottke said. “Another big benefit is the confidence I’ve gained. It makes me realize I can do things that I never thought I would be able to do.”

Caitlyn Pfaffle pulls herself up using a rope as part of the workout of the day Tuesday during a class at CrossFit Waukesha, 411 Travis Lane.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Dawn Orloff is a newcomer to the CrossFit program who has been taking classes for a little more than a month. Orloff, a fitness enthusiast who first began working out two years ago and has lost 60 pounds, was looking to change up her usual gym routine and had gotten a recommendation to try CrossFit from her trainer. While she has only been involved in CrossFit for a short time, she enjoys the equally fun and challenging workouts and credits Maloney and Maney with helping beginners ease into the program slowly.

“Josh watches to make sure I’m not lifting too much weight and cuts back if he thinks it would be too much for me. I started out with lifting a PVC pipe and have been increasing my weights ever since,” Orloff said. “This is a really good full-body workout that's different from other workouts. I really like it.”

Maney says that the class schedule is expanding rapidly and is subject to customer demand.

“If someone calls us and says they want to take a class at 5 p.m., all it takes is three interested people for us to start offering a class at that time,” Maney said.

Additionally, CrossFit Waukesha offers a free first class to anyone interested in starting the program, though advance notice prior to attending is preferred.