By Jill Nagy
Underwood Park CrossFit of Fort Edward was named a 2019 Small Business of the Year in Washington County by the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Washington County Local Development Corporation. They were also nominated as Ethical Business of the Year by the Adirondack Samaritan Counselling Center and will know next April whether they receive that honor as well.
Also in 2019, the gym was selected as the second best health and wellness business by the Glens Falls Post-Star and co-owner and head coach Michael Plank was named to the list of 20 under 40 by the same newspaper. His wife and co-owner, Lauren Grogan, made that list in 2018.
Plank declared himself “honored and humbled” by the awards.
The cross-fit gym combines the best of group and personal training, Plank explained. The aim is to build functional fitness using a combination of techniques and apparatus, much of it borrowed from weight training and gymnastics. He said that the program “builds very strong community”and participants can be transformed into “a better person than they thought they could be.”
Plank sees similarities between the benefits of cross-fit training and those of his other profession. He is a Presbyterian minister and serves halftime at a church in Hudson Falls. He studied political science as an undergraduate and then attended seminary.
He has been involved in cross-fit training for eight years and opened Underwood Park Cross-Fit in October 2014. There are a total of eight trainers at the gym. They have 120 members, most of them between 30 and 45 years of age, although the full range of ages is from the 20s to the 70s. About 65 percent of the members are female; 35 percent, male. People attend classes and training sessions from one to six times a week, for a total of 750-800 visits per month, Plank estimated. Fees vary from $19 to $38 per week.
In the last year, the gym adopted the Level Method. With that method we “can really accurately assess fitness levels and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses,” Plank said. The aim is make people well-rounded, he said, and this method allows him to accurately prescribe individualized workouts for each person. He said he has seen improved conditioning and retention since adopting the Level Method.
Underwood Park Cross-Fit is located at 143 Broadway in Fort Edward. It is in a 3,000-square-foot space with about half that area devoted to workout space. The gym is equipped with barbells, gymnastics equipment, and traditional equipment for cardiovascular workouts.
Classes are held Monday through Saturday and scheduled around typical work schedules, at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 4 p.m., 5:15 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. Classes are augmented by smaller group sessions with personal trainers. Additional information is on the gym’s website, www.underwoodparkcrossfit.com. The telephone number is 518 747-0950.
By Jill Nagy