Damien Madison and Kodi Smith
When Damien was just getting to know his now-wife in college, she stumbled across CrossFit and became excited. As a former semi-pro soccer player, she missed the feeling of workouts. CrossFit filled that void. She decided they would go together, and they enjoyed it. It became a pipe dream to someday own their own CrossFit. However, when they discovered that there was no CrossFit on the western side of the county, they began researching in earnest. “We all just decided if we’re going to do it, we’re going to just jump in with two feet and do it,” says Damien. “We took a chance, it started working well.”
Meanwhile, Kodi was also filling a void. When his son was three years old, Kodi began taking him out to the backyard or to a field and playing catch, working on form, and teaching him the fundamentals of sports. “What I quickly realized is that there was a void in our neighborhood with other kids understanding the fundamentals of sports,” Kodi says. To help give back and fill the void, he started a free neighborhood camp where kids could go to the Gainesville elementary school and work on fundamentals. “At that point in time I had no idea that it would grow into this,” he says. “Over the years more kids started to attend the camp, and then more parents started to realize that their athlete is getting something phenomenal from the camp that’s going to last them for a lifetime.”
As Damien was figuring out how to start up his CrossFit, Kodi was still training kids at the school. One day Kodi called Damien up for some help. Damien went and saw what a good time the kids were having and what a good thing they were getting. “When we opened the gym, we started talking about ways to maybe incorporate that into the business,” Damien says. “At the beginning, it was just something extra to give back. But as it started growing, we started realizing that we needed to really start taking this thing seriously. When we took it seriously, that’s when it really took off.”
Filling a Void for the Athletes
“Working with kids has always been a passion of mine,” says Kodi. When CrossFit Prominent brought kids aboard in 2013, the top level of the facility was theirs. “The biggest thing now is that they have an outlet.” At a regular gym, kids are a bit restricted. At CrossFit Prominent, they can play their music, go to the study hall to woosah and relax, go to the game room and get things off their chest, then come out and get in their workout. “It’s their home away from home,” Kodi says. “One thing that separates us from everybody else is that mentorship piece. All the athletes have my phone number.” They develop a relationship not only inside the gym, but outside as well. “The reality is, life is life. You have this side of life which is sports-specific, you have everything else from home life to school that’s important as well,” Kodi explains. “We provide that outlet to the athlete to come here, let things off their chest, get that good workout in.” Kids feel more comfortable sometimes talking to a mentor or coach rather than a parent. Everyone makes mistakes, but CrossFit Prominent helps keep kids on a straight path, and they take pride in that.
The gym is about family and relationships, which is a perfect parallel to the four co-owners. The kid side and adult side of Crossfit Prominent meld together so well because it’s authentic and everybody is getting what they need.
Classes for the Athletes
CrossFit Prominent offers classes for the athletes Monday through Friday, with Saturdays being an open gym day. On Mondays and Thursdays, the classes focus on speed. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they focus on strength and agility. Fridays get a little interesting. “On Fridays we like to compete a little bit,” says Kodi. They work on things like the three-cone test, the shuttle, the vertical jump, and the broad jump. They get the athletes ready to take those tests in other situations.
On the Horizon
“What’s next for CrossFit Prominent is just to really try to focus on that personal growth or personal plan for every single person,” Damien says. Even if your goal is simply to read a bedtime story to your child without wheezing, he can help you achieve it. “At the end of the day, you want to be able to be there for your kids,” he says. He doesn’t want anyone to struggle to walk, run, or just live their life. He wants you to come work out, have your kid work out, and then talk about how goofy you both looked while struggling with that last rep on your ride home.
Find out more about CrossFit Prominent at their website.