Within each CrossFit gym rests a small community of members with one common interest: fitness.

But inside the doors of Rio Bravo Valley CrossFit is a society like no other – a collection of individuals whose ages run the gamut from the young to the young at heart, ones who are far in their fitness journeys and those just taking their first steps – an eclectic mix of veterans and newbies.

“Our motto is ‘train like family,’” said Melissa Folsom.

The owners of RBVCF don’t just train like family, they are family. Along with her husband, Art Folsom, and daughter Morgan Musquez, Melissa and company take their mission to heart.

Since opening two years ago, the trio has transformed lives and debunked common misconceptions that surround CrossFit.

At 58 and 50 years old, Art and Melissa are some of the oldest CrossFit gym owners – not just locally, but across the nation – and have made the workouts accessible to a middle-aged demographic.

Instead of tracking pounds, Rio Bravo Valley CrossFit tracks time. Workouts, which range from an endless combination of strength and metabolic conditioning exercises, come with a time limit. The aim is to finish with as much time left as possible.

“There’s a definite yardstick that you can measure how well you’re doing with and it’s based on your performance,” Art said.

Many CrossFit workouts are named after women. According to founder Greg Glassman, “anything that leaves you laying on your back gasping for air wondering what just happened to you should be named after a girl.”

During my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting “Fran.”

Fran is three rounds of thrusters and pullups. We were given 10 minutes to complete a circuit of 21 thrusters, 21 pullups, 15 thrusters, 15 pullups, nine thrusters and nine pullups.

Up next was the strength portion of the workout, which consisted of eight one-rep sets of front squats at 90 to 95 percent of your max and a 20-minute time limit.

The coup de grace was a 16-minute AMRAP, as many reps as possible, of back squats and burpees.

While the workouts are challenging, they are not meant to be intimidating.

“In every class, there’s a wide range of abilities,” trainer Caleb Eknoian said. “There’s always a modification. It’s learnable.”

Inside Rio Bravo Valley CrossFit, there is laughing and smiling amid the exhaustion, camaraderie among members, encouragement among family.

“It’s a community here,” said Diane Monsibais, a member since August 2015. “Even if you’re the last to finish, everyone is there to cheer you on.” 

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