Kevin DeVries


OK, I admit it I’m an “older” athlete.  But that means something totally different today than it did three years ago…

I started this journey of all things physical in a neighborhood filled with kids who played outside.  Front yard football, pick- up basketball and flooded backyard hockey were the norms.  Even the parents got involved in the empty lot neighborhood softball games in the summer.  It was a culture that flowed naturally into junior high and, for a time, high school sports.

In the midst of all this activity was Saturday morning TV. On one particular Saturday morning, I caught a show where Bruce Tegner was doing a Karate demonstration.   I watched with jaw dropped as he blocked, punched and flipped people all over the mats.  I knew I had to learn this stuff.  I immediately called my younger brother into the room and tried out all the stuff I just saw.  It didn’t end well. (For either of us.)  It did begin a life- long study of martial arts that ended my traditional sports participation, but not my love for movement and fitness.

The fascination with movement and fitness brought me to Western Michigan University to study physical education and continue practicing the martial arts. I opened a martial arts school after leaving Western.  I married a dancer, expanded the school to include dance and began training in dance to enhance my performance in martial arts.

Life and training continued...  I was practicing and teaching martial arts, as I have for over thirty years now, and much to my surprise, the folks around me seemed to be getting younger and younger.  I was, in spite of my running and lifting weights, noticing a decline in performance. It was time to up my game.

I Googled everything “fitness”.   I read everything I could find.  I watched you tube for hours and then I stumbled on “Seal Fit”, took one look and was about to click out of the site when I noticed “Crossfit” in the corner of the page.
Back to Google.  I Googled everything “Crossfit”.  I read everything “Crossfit”.  I watched you tube for hours and realized “this” was it.

Back to Google.  Again.  I found a local Crossfit affiliate and went in for a visit.  I was disappointed by what I saw.

Back to Google.  Yet again.  I found a post for a group meeting at Cascade Gym.  I stopped in for a visit, met Joe and Shane and knew immediately this was going to be a good thing.  Workouts commenced, pain ensued and huge gains were made.  In May of 2011 I received my Crossfit Level One Trainers certificate.

I’ve seen 8th Day Gym go from a small group of six in borrowed space to a fully equipped facility with an outstanding community of two hundred or so members.  I’ve seen folks come in their first day and struggle to get through the warm-up, become raging fire-breathers. I’ve seen an amazing transformation in myself both physically and mentally.

Three years ago I was looking for a gym to get in shape in, a place to counter the effects of “middle age”.  I found instead an inspiring place to train and an even more inspiring place to coach, a place that has completely changed my view of capabilities. I am grateful every time I walk in the gym as an athlete or a coach for the opportunity to grow and share in this experience as we explore what we are capable of becoming.