How Did CrossFit Jungle Gym Come to Exist?

It really all started as I was applying for work at Hamilton Fitness Center. There was a personal trainer job listed at the Hamilton Fitness Center, I applied. I could not for the life of me get a hold of the hiring manager though (Vanessa Carpentier was her name). I called to follow up about 8 times before I spoke to her and scheduled my interview. I spoke to every single front desk staff at that gym (Bill, Katia, Shannon, Sylvia, Jay). Only because of that did I keep calling, I assumed that the last front desk person hadn’t forwarded the message so… I figured maybe the next one would.

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Persistence paid off and Vanessa hired me! She was my guide, helped me get some clients to help and we trained CrossFit style together. We had a great working relationship…

We ran a class program that was called Ultimate Fitness (looking back now… it was nothing as amazing as what we do today). It was growing but management wasn’t into expanding the class schedule, providing any more equipment than we already had and more importantly they didn’t care our clients were getting results.

We realized at that time that no other gym could possibly provide what our clients needed. So we had to build it ourselves… long story short… we left because Hamilton needed a place, an environment, conducive to training without the restrictions placed on standard gyms… so we made the leap out of necessity..


CFJG has not always looked as it does now. The training hasn’t always been the same. It gets better every single day and that is our commitment to you.

We left the globo gym arena to create something so much more effective than anything else that exists in Mercer County or even the entire state. There is no piece of equipment, facility or amount of money that can beat true genuine care when it comes to training. We knew that we had an abundance of care and passion that could help us through all of our other shortcomings and that eventually we would be able to provide the equipment and facilities later.

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After we left Hamilton Fitness Center we had several clients that decided they wanted to continue to train with us even though we had no equipment. They were the first Jungle Gym clients. At the time we only trained 1-on-1 sessions in home or at local parks. After awhile we decided it was time to host a bootcamp class every Saturday. We ran maybe 10-15 sessions on Saturday mornings at 8am in late summer and fall of 2011. We slowly grew our equipment from craigslist purchases and even picked up a barbell while I worked as the operations manager at 1-800-GOT-JUNK. There were enough regular attendees that, as the weather cooled, we knew we had to keep them going. We searched for indoor space. We couldn’t afford a regular building on the revenue we had from just our PT sessions and one bootcamp a week. So we rented the ballroom at Enterprise Volunteer Fire House… HOURLY for 3 hours a week!

For the first 3 years of Jungle Gym we reinvested every single penny we made back into making what it is today. We’ve poured everything we have into this place… because of YOU, and everyone else who NEED this place or a place just like this one. We have to make it work, it has to work.


The ballroom days were something special but Vanessa and I rarely worked out in those days. We just carried equipment down from our second floor apartment, packed into my 1995 minivan, drove it to the firehouse, then carried it upstairs, coached 1 class, carried it all back down into the minivan, drove it home, carried it back up to our living room where it sat until the next day when we’d do it all again after work. We gave up our living room, our workouts, money… everything because we LOVE, WANT and NEED to help you guys!

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While we no longer carry equipment around in an old beat up minivan and we no longer have hardwood floors to workout on… there is no doubt that we still LOVE to help, we WANT to help and we NEED to keep our vision alive. It is our life’s purpose.

Our life’s purpose is to help people enrich their lives. If there was a better way to help so many different types of people enjoy their lives better, we’d have done it. Our methods are founded in science and that is why the work. We love that you guys all get more fit, that’s probably why you showed up at first… to get more fit, get stronger, lose some weight.

That isn’t our favorite part… our favorite part is teaching life’s lessons through training. Sometimes training sucks… but you do it because you should. Training is hard… but it needs to be. You’re going to be uncomfortable… that’s how you grow. You’re going to have set backs… you’ll learn resilience. If we can teach you those things you are going to love your life, even when shitty things happen and THEY WILL. You’ve practiced these skills daily in our gym, you’ll be ready.

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There’s no feeling like working so hard and being frustrated for months or years then finally accomplishing a goal. I saw it just this morning, and I saw it yesterday, I’ve seen it nearly everyday for the last 9 years. All the 5am wake ups and up until 11pm’s were fueled by seeing YOU all find success, overcome your obstacle mental or physical, seeing you realize it isn’t impossible, seeing you all grow as people.

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Talk with a coach to see if working out at CrossFit Jungle Gym is right for you.
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