SHOHOLA - Instead of running on a treadmill or spinning on a bicycle, people interested in losing a few pounds or toning up, may consider a different form of exercise that has arrived in Shohola, where the incorporation of functionality is the basis of each individual’s workout.

The doors to CrossFit Blue Bridge opened a few weeks ago, where people have been jumping on boxes and doing handstands as part of their exercise routines. Owner and an instructor Mike Repecki said the exercises are intense and build mental strength. He explained that his gym is different because one instructor doesn’t dance in front of a class and leave people to wonder what they are doing.     

In every class Repecki said there are two to three coaches, to oversee each attendee receive personal training. Focusing on functional movement as opposed to machines, Repecki said people will learn how to lift things correctly, and that transfers into how they will do things when not in the gym. The lessons learned at CrossFit, he said will make people stronger and routines that are done outside of the gym will become easier.

As the head programmer, Repecki creates unique exercises every day, where he communicates with his trainers who then teach the workout. The point, Repecki explained is that the routines are programmed so anyone that walks into the gym can have an, “extremely intense, hard work out.” Members, he said, are never left alone because the instructors always know what to do with each individual. 

Each workout is aimed to be intense, but the lessons will be modified so both the beginner and advanced member will be tested. Once a person completes the workouts for a few weeks, Repecki said  the progress is, “unreal,” because of how people are forced to work intensely, their body adapts quickly.     

This style of a program, Repecki said creates a community and family environment where each member supports one another. The relationships formed in the lessons, have transferred outside the gym as members have done fundraisers and participated in races together. In January, members raised $1,800 for St. Jude Children Research Hospital. By doing things for the community, he said the members are united.

The family atmosphere started, Repecki said because he didn’t like the, “newbie,” feeling he saw people experience when they entered a typical gym. At CrossFit Blue Ridge, members go through five one-on-one sessions with a coach and once the coach feels the member is ready, the individual will participate in a class. Most importantly, Repecki said is that the last person that finishes will get the most cheers because of the importance of encouragement. Aware that people have off days, Repecki said, “I don’t want everything you have. I just want all that you have today.”

In November, Repecki actually opened his CrossFit facility in Milford, but because of the success of the gym, he had to relocate to accommodate the number of members. Initially there were about 50 members, today in Shohola; Repecki said there are about 70.

Staff at CrossFit Blue Ridge includes Repecki, his son who was in the military, two coaches and soon two more coaches will join the team. People can be sure that each coach has gone through the minimum of CrossFit level certification. In addition to the bookwork, the coaches learn from other coaches to “perfect movements.” Always, he said a coach will be on the mat with a member to help them.

Repecki said even though other gyms may have family atmospheres, CrossFit Blue Ridge is different because where else can someone do a handstand walk across the floor and that is considered normal. Activities that occur at CrossFit, he added will remind someone who is 50 what they were able to do when they were 9-years-old as their mentality changes. He explained that as children, jumping on a 24 inch box was nothing. Today, although that same person can jump on the box, they will be apprehensive. 

The idea for Repecki’s gym started with a few of his friends training in his backyard. Never in his life, Repecki said did he dream of having a gym, but when the friends started training for a race everything fell into place. Repecki credits the community for the gym's success.

When Julie Emaneel started training with Repecki, she couldn’t do a pushup. Today, after using a wall to build her upper body strength, pushups are easy. At first jumping on boxes was “scary,” and it took her about a month to get the courage to jump. Now, she is jumping on the high box. Emanell acknowledged that CrossFit is hard, but the rewards are countless. Training with others that are younger than her children, Emaneel said works well because everyone is supportive. Aside from having adjustable exercises, she said the continuous varying routines are a huge benefit. When she first tried to do a handstand, Emanell admits she was “petrified” because she hadn’t done one since she was a child. It took her about five months of continuous practice and now, she does one every day to keep that exciting feeling of accomplishment.

Joe Accardi has been participating in CrossFit since November and today he said the training tests a person’s endurance and will power. Ultimately though, he said its “really mind over matter,” as people have to push themselves. Initially, when he first joined, Accardi said it was exhausting because he had never trained like that before. After his first lesson, Accardi didn’t plan on returning but when his son said, ‘you’re going to be one that tries it once and can’t cut it,' Accardi said he had to continue. And now, with his wife also participating and loving it, because he is competing with people that are 20 years younger it feels great. Doing squats and deadlifts, Accardi said he is able to do them with the best, sometimes doing better than the 30-year-olds. Accardi is 58.

Unless it is lightening or icy outdoors, people can expect to run outside because the training is, “as close to real life as possible,” Repecki said.

Repecki concluded, “Regardless of what's happening in life, come here and do some CrossFit and everything is still going to be okay.”

CrossFit Blue Bridge is located in the Shohola Business Center, 837 Route 6, Unit 4. For more information call 570-460-5285 or visit