We always envisioned the Cove could be a home away from home for so many. But we are beyond thrilled to see parts of our athlete’s actual homes interwoven more and more with the gym. We’re seeing so many young athletes joining classes with their parents and these mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons working, suffering, laughing, and connecting with one another in class is just so special. Today we want to shine a light on the Ellis family and share what their experiences have meant to them (and us!).
The Ellis family’s journey into the CrossFit world started with dad, Mike. Prior to finding CrossFit, Mike will tell you that he wasn’t feeling great about himself physically and it was affecting him in other areas of his life. Randomly one day, he saw a bunch of shirtless guys running outside. He didn’t know where they came from but noted they were super fit. Like, SUPER fit. He had to know how they got that way and traced their steps to a crazy CrossFit gym and needed to understand what was going on!
Yes, this was his intro to CrossFit, and he loved it out of the gate. There was an energy to the gym and a feeling that the members were on the same team working together. It may have played to his past athletic career (football) and it came to Mike at exactly the right time in his life. In Mike’s own words, it helped make him a better man, husband, and father.
Mike became so passionate about it that he had to pull Leslie in. Now if you know Leslie, you know that Leslie does what Leslie wants to do. The gym that Mike joined had a female-only class and that made it much more approachable to her. She enjoyed the classes, made friends, and found the magic of CrossFit herself. She continued to improve her fitness and started seeing herself differently. Leslie gained confidence and started asking questions like, why does our female-only class do the simple exercises but can’t do the same workouts as the other classes? The things that may have once intimidated her are now the things they now pursue together. She herself had grown and now saw herself differently.
While Leslie drank the Kool-Aid, Mike was chugging it. He had converted his wife, but Mike’s passion continued to find its way to the family dinner table almost nightly. Although he would never push CrossFit to his two teen girls (he knows better) they became curious about his tales of fitness glory. At some point, Ellie thought it was cool and was willing to give it a try. She felt the workouts were so hard and challenging and that became something she was drawn to.
Mike came to the Cove after a number of his friends had left his former gym to try out the Cove. Although a little bit further from home the challenge of the workouts and the friends he found there made it worth the drive for him and Leslie.
Madi was not as easily convinced about CrossFit but soon learned how much it helped her as an athlete outside the gym. Just like Ellie, she was drained by the workouts but in different way than the sports practices. It was challenging but not stressful like sports. And she loved the music (most of the time – huge fan of the Jenna playlists!) and CrossFit fashions.
When the girls started, there were very few teenagers at the gym (the Michelotti’s really started the family scene with Jenna and Justin a few years prior) and immediately Ellie and Madi were such amazing additions to the community. They were so warm and friendly – and joked, laughed, and threw down with people twice (or three times) their age. Most teenagers struggle to connect with adults, yet they were just so comfortable with the entire community. I am afraid it’s only a matter of time before they throw down with the Covies at Looney’s Sports Bar!
The Cove was particularly important to the Ellis family during the days of COVID. It was the strangest of times and its effects on the girls with not seeing their friends regularly was amazingly difficult. So this was the time when the Cove became their social hour. Every day at 4:30 PM, they all went to class. No matter the workout (even burpees and thrusters). It was a pillar of their day and a moment of respite when the world was going crazy. Mike went so far to say, “Honestly, I would never say I miss Covid, but working out as a family for that year will remain one of my fondest memories. “
Very rarely do all four Ellis’s make a class together because of their busy schedules, but that doesn’t stop them talking about the experiences. It became something they have in common where they could tease, cheer, and connect with one another outside the gym. The conversation could range from “how much those burpees sucked” to the celebration of victories like Mike’s first muscle up and Leslie’s first chin up. Unfortunately, the demands of life have temporarily thrown a wrench into their CrossFit plans at the Cove. Ellie is currently at Costal Carolina (she is such a mature and smart young woman that she started college a year early) and Madi continues her athletic feats starting on the Reservoir soccer team (which she has done since her freshman year). Their schedules will open up again when school and sports are done and we are so excited we will see the Ellis family at the Cove in force.
Of course, we know we own a gym, but we have always said, “We’re not in the fitness business, we’re in the business of changing lives.” And the Cove logo signifies growth and evolution, key elements of life change. It is stories like Mike’s that keep us motivated, inspired, and striving to connect people (even family members) in new ways. And we know he’s inspiring so many others at the Cove on the daily.
I guess the moral of the story is, if you see a super fit guy running outside, follow him. His name is Mike and he can teach you a thing or two about fitness, family, and becoming the best possible version of yourself.
All smiles from Mike and Leslie
Suffering together at the wall
Ellie was just a baby when she started!
Madi strong and focused
Leslie, she is just the best!