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CrossFit Mayhem Reaches Beyond National Competition
CrossFit Mayhem class participants work through a drill during an afternoon session (Photo: Logan Weaver)

CrossFit Mayhem Reaches Beyond National Competition

The national success of local CrossFit teams in Cookeville has captured the attention of athletes from all over the world.

Director of Corporate Wellness David Oaks said despite the international fame, there’s more to CrossFit Mayhem than national competitions.

“We deal with a lot of the older [clients], the ‘regular Joe’, coming in,” Oaks said. “We’re just wanting them to move; move proficiently, move in a manner that’s going to help them in their daily activities. So we just break it down to something that’s so much easier than what they’re normally seeing. Then eventually, some of them build up to doing what they see on TV.”

CrossFit Mayhem trainer Josh Malone said his goal as a coach is to make sure those who come into the gym learn the basics.

“The coaches that we have here at Mayhem, we put a very big emphasis on form,” Malone said, “so you will see some pretty crazy things on TV if you watch the games when they broadcast on ESPN. But when people come in, we make sure they’ve got their basics down… They need to be able to hit safe positions, because we’re never going to load somebody with the weight if they can’t achieve that position.”

CrossFit Mayhem Head Coach Darren Hunsucker said he enjoys seeing the progression of everyday people who enter the gym.

“Seeing people progress through and able to do things, and being able to improve their overall quality of life has been great,” Hunsucker said. “They’re able to play with their grandkids. They’re able to stay out of those nursing homes. They’re able to lift that bag of flour off the ground that they had trouble with or something like that. It’s awesome.”

Trainer Josh Malone (right) works with a visitor (left) during warm-ups in an afternoon class at CrossFit Mayhem (Photo: Logan Weaver)

Trainer Josh Malone (right) works with a visitor (left) during warm-ups in an afternoon class at CrossFit Mayhem (Photo: Logan Weaver)

Malone said the changes people witness when they spend time in the gym go beyond their physical appearance.

“Getting to see that transition over weeks and months, where they don’t necessarily see it because they’re experiencing that every single day – but I get to see it and it’s cool,” Malone said. “You start to see that confidence build in the gym and also outside of it. You see them come in happier, they start telling you stories about having success outside of the gym whether it’s with the family, or at work, or other places in their lives.”

Hunsucker said the recent success of CrossFit Mayhem’s teams have helped shift attention to Cookeville as a CrossFit hub. Last month, Mayhem Freedom – led by Cookeville-native and CrossFit Mayhem founder, Rich Froning Jr. – took home the team title at the 2018 CrossFit games. Hunsucker’s Mayhem Independence squad finished fourth in the team competition.

“What was different for this year compared to years prior was we were able to send two teams to the Games,” Hunsucker said. “It was something that other gyms have done but it was rare just in the fact that we did really well in it. That gave us a lot of recognition showing that we do have competitive athletes here.”

Malone said the team’s success has driven some international CrossFit regulars to visit the Cookeville facility, with some visiting from Russia, China, and Brazil.

“We’ve got a guy right now, Lucas, he’s from Australia. He came here for two months just to train,” Malone said. “It’s pretty cool because I don’t think these people ever would’ve heard of Cookeville before. It brings a lot of business to the area as well, so it’s benefiting Cookeville as much as it’s benefiting Mayhem.”

CrossFit Mayhem offers multiple classes at varying difficulty Monday through Friday between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. with seminars on the weekend.