Janelle Chase-Mayers – Building Communities Through Strength and Conditioning

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When we think of crossfit the first thing that usually comes to mind is high intensity strength training. While that definition holds true for Barbadian business CrossFit 246, there also lies a heavy theme of family and community, lifting individuals to surpass their limits. Allow Dazzle to introduce you to its founder Janelle Chase-Mayers, former volleyball star, now improving strength and conditioning across the island.

Love for sports began in secondary school where Janelle ran track before switching to volleyball competing locally and regionally, eventually leading to a scholarship to the Central Connecticut State University. After transferring over to Louisiana, she represented Barbados in a myriad of tournaments while completing her masters in psychology before returning to Barbados in 2005. Janelle continued the spike in her career becoming national captain before retiring in 2011 at the top of her game, however still contributing greatly to the sport as a strength and conditioning coach, a passion she always possessed.

To supplement her interest Janelle sought to increase her knowledge of CrossFit, an international brand which focuses on strength and conditioning operations for athletes and tactical professionals. After following the suggestion of a peer, she began coaching and the evolution begun. While the aforementioned statement rings true, in her opinion, CrossFit also develops varied exercises to focus on peoples’ functional movements while adding high intensity. To sit is a squat, to pick groceries off the floor is a dead lift. The more efficient you are at performing these daily duties, your potential to produce more throughout your day is increased. It relates directly to real life!

img_janelle2CrossFit 246 is dedicated to building a community of individuals who push past their limits. This promotes growth. This natural development occurs as individuals invite others into the community. This is where Janelle’s skills as a marriage and family therapist benefit. She is able to provide occupational therapy, and assist effectively with interpersonal relationships or family issues. This enhances the way individuals relate to their coaches, exercises and people around them giving them the drive to succeed.

The community spirit is built strong and Dazzle was able to experience some of it when one of Janelle’s clients stopped by during our interview so she could say hello to little Lily. Another toddler, one year old Logan who comes with his Mom just learnt to walk and gets involved in sessions by doing burpie exercises. Janelle’s own son T.J often acts as a mini coach when he attends on Mondays and Fridays. There is an official children’s class on Tuesdays however most parents feel comfortable bringing their children who usually look forward to coming to see their friends. Being so observant, children have a great start in strength and conditioning picking up the activities very quickly. Due to popular demand, a Retirees class is also carried out. As one becomes older, you are plagued with arthritis and other challenges and CrossFit helps to prevent these discomforts from overtaking your lifestyle. The longer the elderly live healthy, the more they contribute to the strength of the community, and that is very important to Janelle. In her opinion, the focus on building a community and allowing people to effectively work together, defines the difference between CrossFit and personal training.

The international body of CrossFit is very supportive of Janelle’s local box. They would send posters and flyers, and make calls to share information. Through the network, CrossFit 246 has had visitors from England, Trinidad and Canada. These affiliates are not usually charged since fitness may not be in their budget when they travel, however they can still partake in a similar experience. Although some advertising is done through the Barbados Volleyball Association a conscious effort is made not to do any grand scale marketing but to focus more on letting existing clients invite who they want to include.

CrossFit 246 was founded in 2013 and Janelle has been able to hire interns as part of her business to share her knowledge with them. CrossFit also serves as an effective rehab for athletes who are recovering from injury and others who want to stay as competitive as they can in their field.

CrossFit246 is all about progression. You never start at the top and as you progress there is always room for improvement. This is the vision behind Janelle’s business. A business which started in a living room before evolving to the gym today located in Lowlands Christ Church. When she walks into a room and she is able to see people relating to each other regardless of race, sex or age (clients spread from one to seventy-seven), that is her most joyous experience of CrossFit 246. Janelle is dedicated to building stronger people both in physical strength and mental capacity and with the peek time of the Crop Over season upon us, CrossFit keeps lunging ahead!

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