Photo courtesy of Sandy Colvin.
Sean Dickson is the owner of Crossfit Riverchase.
After serving 10 years in the military, Sean Dickson returned to his native Birmingham and settled in Riverchase.
Post-service, Dickson found he missed the fitness regimen of military life. Having been put in charge of fitness program development for his team very early in his military career, Dickson considered the possibility of applying his expertise in a civilian setting.
It wasn’t long before he found himself the owner of a 5,000 square foot fitness facility. The gym is an open air environment, and includes running routes up to 1kilometer without being near traffic. Changing rooms with showers accommodate those who wish to exercise before or after work.
After three years of developing his own programs and style, Dickson rebranded the facility as a CrossFit affiliate in 2012.
“What I love about this style is how we are always mixing it up,” said Dickson. “We cover all the realms of fitness. This is not what you would be limited to in a traditional gym.”
His enthusiasm was visceral, and helped Dickson recruit his longtime friend Sandy Colvin to help him market the new facility. During that process, Colvin, who was not into physical fitness training, attended one of his classes with the intention of it being no more than a one-time display of moral support.
“It was like nothing I had ever experienced before,” said Colvin. “His energy was high, fun and exciting and his workouts were different everyday with me having to do no more than show up and do the work.”
Colvin said the physical results she saw in herself made her a believer. She now manages the CrossFit Riverchase daily.
For Colvin, the camaraderie they’ve found amongst their regulars is the gym’s winning ingredient.
“CrossFit is about accomplishing goals and reaching places you didn’t know you had in you,” she said. “The excited but focused environment in which we train everyday along with the people in your session cheering for you causes you to push harder, get stronger and do things you sometimes didn’t even realize you wanted to do.”
True to her statement, Colvin said each member is considered an athlete.
“We call each one of our members an athlete – they work hard and they deserve the title,” she said.
And while they do offer an exercise regimen that is rigorous – the CrossFit Riverchase has helped its athletes train for everything from 5ks to 50 milers, from endurance races to Olympic Lifting meets – Colvin said that safety comes above all else.
“We focus on well-roundedness along with mobility in functional fitness,” she said, citing Dickson’s medical background during his tenure with the U.S. Army. “We are serious about keeping CrossFit Riverchase athletes safe.”
The environment has found a loyal following amongst local residents, who have forged a friendship well beyond sharing a common desire to get in shape.
“We’ve had clients make the most unexpected connections,” said Colvin. “Along the way, we’ve had a client move a piece of property she needed to sell through another client of ours in real estate. We’ve also seen another individual find gainful employment after a period in between jobs. We know each other’s birthdays, we shop together, we have dinners together.”