CrossFit Confessions: “I Don’t Live Near a Box. so I Built My Own.”

CrossFit diy box

Hedge fund guys do CrossFit. So do cops. And construction workers, engineers, and professors. (Even rock stars, too!) Here are their stories.

Zach McFelea, 34, is an Owensboro, KY-based construction worker.

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After my daughter was born I stopped working out and actually put on a lot of weight. I discovered CrossFit on YouTube through videos of the 2013 CrossFit Games, and I decided I wanted to do what they were doing. I did some research, but we didn’t have a box in town.

So I made my own medicine ball out of a basketball and some sand. I made my own pullup station out of 2x4s and plumbing pipe. It was still getting to be too expensive. I had an extensive Magic the Gathering card collection—I went and sold all of it and bought my first barbell and bumper plates. It took off from there.

I built my own muscle-up rings out of PVC pipe and chains. I had to put the PVC pipe in the oven to make it soft enough to bend into a circle. Instead of over $100 for muscle-up rings, it cost maybe $15. I built two different-sized boxes for box jumps. I really wanted a rowing machine, but I couldn’t find one for under $800. I ended up drawing my own design, and built it out of plywood, 2x4s and pulleys. It took a couple of tries to get it right, but it’s functional.

I’ve got my own battle rope. My town is on a river, so I went to some of the barge areas, and just asked for some barge rope. I also live near a big farming community. Farmers have to pay to have stuff removed, so I went and offered to take a tractor tire and do them a favor. The barbell and bumper plates were the most expensive things, but the total for my box is definitely under $100.

Since I don’t have a trainer, I had to start with really basic moves and studied a lot of YouTube videos of Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa, and Dan Bailey. I’ve taken it slow and steady, using proper form. The amount of weight I can lift just keeps getting better and better. I’ve lost 50 pounds, and have muscle in places I never used to have muscle.

Not everyone gets it, though. I was doing burpees one time and my neighbor looked over the fence and goes, “What the hell are you doing?” I was like, “I’m doing burpees.”

I would eventually like a few better pieces. A better medicine ball, for one thing—I can’t slam mine down or it’ll split open and sand will go everywhere. The end result is that, much to my wife’s dismay, I’ve basically taken over the back yard. She’s given in—she can’t stop the madness. —As told to David Wescott

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