Walking through the doors at CrossFit All Levels can be intimidating for anyone. The music is blaring, people are sweating buckets and yelling, lifting extreme amounts of weights and slamming them to the ground. Needless to say, the workouts are intense but John Mack, one of the owners, welcomes you in and inspires you to try the impossible and change your life.
It’s important to continue to have like-minded people pushing themselves to be better in all aspects. Mack says that’s what gets him through the difficult times.
“I hope we continue to grow and we continue to help people and change lives,” he says. “It means so much when someone tells you how much you have changed their lives.”
He makes an extraordinary impact by always being there to listen at your lowest while pushing you to do better, become stronger and celebrate during your highest victories. When asked how he feels about this he takes it humbly in stride, chalking it up to “just doing what’s right.”
Corey Donaldson, 30, a fireman for Windsor Fire and Rescue, has had some very traumatizing experiences at work and credits John for really being there for him and supporting him in his physical and mental health. “I got the call at the university where the girl lit herself on fire,” says Donaldson. “I was the first one there. It was like a horror movie, and the next day I came here. On a personal level this gym is like my therapy. They really listen.”
Claire Yancy, a 51-year-old wife and mother of two, is training to compete in CrossFit at a master’s level and Mack got her started. “John was the first coach I had,” she says. “He was my first impression of the sport. I have an enormous amount of respect for John. We developed a great friendship.”
Yancy says that John is really able to motivate his coaches and that made her want to get her training certificate. “I really wanted to get my Level 1 and be part of this team to help break this barrier for other women coming in. I wanted people to see that it’s possible at my age to be fit and do this.”
Jennifer Stanton attributes a lot of her success to Mack and the gym. She said that she has never been anywhere where she has felt more welcomed. “I was pretty unhealthy physically and mentally,” she says. “I really wanted something that would motivate me. I never felt judged. I have lost 65 pounds and I’m not at risk of diabetes anymore. I have so much more confidence. It has really changed my life, I love it.”
Although the milestones reached are amazing, Mack takes the most pride in building his gym family. He knows all his athletes individually—their names, their partners, and what their goals are. He says people need to remember to enjoy the journey.
“Trust that process and enjoy the ride,” he says. “We work hard, but when I see my kids and wife come in here and enjoy themselves and enjoy all the athletes, I just look around and think wow, this is awesome, this is where I want to be.”