CrossFit | ‘Tis the Season for Thanks and Celebration at CrossFit City of Lakes

‘Tis the Season for Thanks and Celebration at CrossFit City of Lakes

ByNicole PeytonDecember 24, 2021

Members of CrossFit City of Lakes at this year’s holiday party


As we near the end of 2021, holiday celebrations are in full swing in the CrossFit community. While many affiliates celebrate with lavish parties where they get to see their gym family in fancy clothes for maybe the only time all year, others get in the spirit with festive workouts like one of the many versions of the 12 Days of Christmas.

CrossFit City of Lakes in Golden Valley, Minnesota, paid its members extra appreciation this year with a holiday party and brunch. After a couple of years of uncertainty amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc in the CrossFit community with mandated gym closures and limited classes, Sarah Stejskal and Jason Johnson, who own the affiliate, wanted to thank their members for their loyalty through it all.

“We are very lucky to have such a strong and supportive community, especially throughout COVID,” Stejskal said. “We lost a handful of members due to some family hardships and uncertainties, but the amount of loyalty that shined through our members so they could all have a gym to come back to was incredible. In the long run, I think this time has made our community even stronger and closer together, putting what is important into perspective.”

The community at CrossFit City of Lakes, Stejskal said, is second to none.

“It may be a little ‘Minnesota nice’ shining through, but you can hardly get through the door without someone greeting you with a big smile and warm welcome,” she said. “We take pride and strive to make this the best hour of everyone’s day, but we couldn’t do it without everyone being so welcoming and accepting of others.”

In fact, that spirit of inclusivity is written right into the affiliate’s mission statement listed on its website: “We are a community that fosters strong, positive and accepting individuals where our focus is on the improvement of our physical, mental and emotional health through the use of the CrossFit methodology.”

The 7-year-old affiliate’s core values are listed as strong, positive, and accepting.

“All are welcome!” shouts the website. “No matter your fitness experience, your abilities, your gender, the color of your skin or how much money you have in your pocket. CrossFit City of Lakes is truly the land of misfit toys.”

And they love it that way. Stejskal said they were disappointed that their traditional community gathering was not possible during the holidays in 2020 due to heightened COVID restrictions. But with a little logistical creativity, they made it work.

“We weren’t able to host our normal holiday party with more than 50 people, so we did host our open gym with limited spots so people could come in if they chose to do the 12 Days of Christmas WOD, City of Lakes-style, and (we) gave out goodie bags on their way out,” Stejskal said. “We had to tell people they couldn’t stay longer than an hour and 15 minutes, which was hard, but we were so blessed to get to see quite a few members before the holidays!”

This year, the community at CrossFit City of Lakes made up for lost time and celebrated with copious amounts of fitness, food, and friends. On Dec. 17, the affiliate ran three classes in which athletes attacked the affiliate’s very own partner version of the deceptively brutal 12 Days of Christmas workout, followed by a festive brunch where those in attendance could eat, drink, and be merry — all while in holiday attire.

“Every year we do the same 12 Days of Christmas WOD,” Stejskal said. “We encourage everyone to wear their festive spandex, socks, and Santa hats, and have a little fun while listening to some upbeat Christmas tunes!”

Post-workout, the crew at CrossFit City of Lakes enjoyed a “plethora of treats,” Stejskal said. Santa even visited the land of misfit toys this year, and he found a community full of love, gratitude, and kindness.

Happy holidays, CrossFit community! Wishing you health, happiness, and performance.

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