Merle McKenzie and Glenn Perra don't mince words when talking about the state of the fitness industry.
On Friday, the pair will open CrossFit Trimountain gym at 104 Commerce Circle in Durham, an 8,500 square foot facility that's less about asthetics and more about pushing limits.
"We have grandmothers that can deadlift 250 pounds and do 10 pull-ups, at 60-years-old," says McKenzie.
Owners of CrossFit gyms in West Hartford, Glastonbury and Higganum, McKenzie and Perra have been contemplating opening a gym in Durham for a couple of years.
Their new location — which is little more than an oversized four bay garage with raised ceilings, lots of equipment and showers — offers plenty of space for members to test their strength with kettlebell swings or rope climbing, or any of the dozens of other exercises unique to the CrossFit program.
McKenzie says CrossFit is open to all ages and fitness levels, even beginners, and designed to help members achieve their peak physical performance.
"You're never going to be bored here," he says. "It's results oriented. It's not just going to the gym and doing an antequated workout, where you have cardio over here and some weight training on some machine, there's a goal to be accomplished everyday."
"It's more training than working out," adds Perra.
In addition to the new facility, Durham has the distinction of hosting CrossFit's Beast of the East competition which is now held annually at the Durham Fairgrounds. The competition draws hundreds of CrossFit athletes from across the country to compete in the same type of fitness programs offered by the gym.
Created in 2000 in Santa Clara, California, Crossfit's popularity has exploded in recent years. There are now 60 gym locations in Connecticut and more than 4,400 nationwide.
The fitness movement's popularity has been celebrated each year since 2007 with the CrossFit Games, a competition legitimized by a sponsorship from Reebok and broadcast by ESPN.
CrossFit Trimountain will initially offer early morning and evening classes, according to McKenzie.
Potential members are invited to the gym's Open House this Saturday from 12-4 p.m. In addition, CrossFit Trimountain will offer a free introductory class.
"We want members who are committed to this program, to getting fit. We're not gonna twist your arm," McKenzie says. "There's only one way to know this is for you: to try it."