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St. Helena CrossFit gym reopens with new name, new owners

St. Helena CrossFit gym reopens with new name, new owners


No mirrors, no air conditioning, no headphones – Core Community Fitness is all about working up a sweat and staying in shape together.

“It’s not about doing a bicep curl and checking out your bicep in the mirror,” said co-owner Stephanie Grimes. “It’s about getting work done and hanging out with your friends.”

The newly renamed CrossFit gym, formerly Crush Fitness, reopened on June 20 under new ownership after the departure of co-owner Ruben Perez of Napa, who still owns Crush Fitness in Napa.

The St. Helena gym is now owned by Perez’ former business partner Matt Cia, his wife Julie, and Stephanie and Jay Grimes.

When Perez decided to close the St. Helena gym he and Cia had opened in August 2017, “We wanted to do everything we could to keep it running for the community and for the members,” said Jay Grimes, who’d previously been employed as head coach.

The gym had been closed since March due to COVID-19, and “we knew a lot of our members were really ready to start working out again,” Grimes said.

“We were able to make the transition in three weeks,” added Jay’s wife Stephanie Grimes, who’d previously coached the gym’s kids programs.

Still located in an industrial warehouse on Vintage Avenue, the gym continues to offer branded CrossFit workouts. With classes geared toward kids as young as 8 on up to Legends classes for ages 50 and over, “we’re family-oriented,” said Stephanie Grimes.

This summer’s three-week kids camp, beginning July 6, provides a safe, socially distanced venue for kids who can’t play organized sports “to get their crazies out” with their peers, she said.

“We’re not a gym where people come in and put on their headphones,” she said. “You come in, you work out in a class, you answer the question of the day, your friends are here – we start each workout together and we end it together.”

Coaches are on hand to help members perform each workout safely at whatever level they can, she said.

“Everyone can do what we teach at your proper level,” she said. “Instead of 45-pound plates, you might need a PVC pipe. But everyone’s doing the same thing, including the kids, including our 80-year-olds.”

Matt Cia said the gym goes beyond working out, promoting an overall healthy lifestyle with good nutrition. Getting fit together as a group enables members to hold one another accountable, which is difficult with the solitary home workouts that have become common during the pandemic, he said.

In light of COVID-19, the new owners have intensified their cleaning regimen and adapted the space to provide for a six-foot “bubble” around each member. Between inside and outside zones, the gym can accommodate more than 15 people at a time. Members must wear masks whenever they leave their six-foot bubble.

“We always tell people the floor is clean enough to eat off of,” Jay Grimes said. “As far as CrossFit gyms go, this is the cleanest one I’ve ever seen.”

In the first week, 35 members felt comfortable enough to return. Grimes said they’ve enjoyed “the community aspect” of working out together at a safe distance.

“People choose this gym because they don’t like to work out by themselves,” he said. “They like to be part of a group that’s trying to achieve the same goal of getting fit and living healthier.”

For schedules and prices, visit (still under construction), call 968-5226, email, or drop by 995 Vintage Ave., Suite 104.

You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or

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