3 years ago, Coach Mary Shelton of 810 CrossFit walked into Grand Blanc High School (GBHS) to talk to Athletic Director Jerrod Dohm. The result of that meeting was Bobcat Barbell, a program that works to strengthen and cultivate community among all high school athletes, as well as any other interested student.
Joe DeGain, the owner of 810 CrossFit, makes time every full school day, Monday through Thursday, 2:35 to 3:35, to work with students on building what he refers to as a “base of athleticism.” By building that base, student-athletes gain a better foundation to support the development of technical skills for their individual sports.
“It’s not just one sports team… it’s all the sports,” DeGain says of how Bobcat Barbell cultivates community in the school.
This mix of teams mimics the dynamics of most college weight rooms, preparing students for that potential future. The teams who have bought into the program so far include girls lacrosse, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, football, and the list continues to grow. Due to the size of the program, these athletes join together in the “old gym” and are split into two groups; one heads to the weight room to work with dumbbells and the other heads to the track, each for 20 minutes before swapping.
Even coaches benefit from the program! Since GBHS coaches are in off season they can bond with students and build up, what DeGain refers to as, “emotional currency” with their athletes. While DeGain leads the group, coaches are free to spend time cheering on their athletes and exchanging high fives.
DeGain explains how the program has grown so dramatically that certain teams, like varsity softball and boys soccer, have actually created their own “custom programs.” This individualized training happens in 810’s gym on Embury Rd, between Grand Blanc Rd and Cook Rd. Anyone seeking this same culture of encouragement and inclusion can find it during the elementary school, middle school, high school, and adult level CrossFit classes at 810.
Looking forward, 810 wants to expand their reach to businesses of all sizes in order to spread health and community to the work environment, too. The team building benefits of the gym are invaluable to strengthening camaraderie in and out of the workplace. As DeGain likes to say, “A formula for camaraderie can be found by coupling agony and laughter.”
Whether you’re a working professional or a high school athlete, we all need a coach. 810’s gym is the place to have your strength & health pushed to the highest level!
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