My Interview with Jack Ryan and Eric Heup
Rachel Frentsos: Hi, this is Rachel Frentsos with the Annapolis Fine Homes office of Long & Foster, and this is Moving Forward. And today, I’m here with Eric Heup and Jack Ryan. They are the owners of Fairwinds CrossFit. I’m really excited about the opportunity to meet with you guys. So, thank you so much for having me. I know them personally from a long time ago. Eric used to work at the pool at Riva Swim Center. I used to swim there pregnant with my daughter Maggie, who will be seventeen this year. So, I’ve known Eric for a very long time.
Eric Heup: So long.
Rachel Frentsos: Very long, yeah. And Jack and I have known each other for a few years. Our boys are friends. They play on the same baseball team. So, we’re all in the same community. It’s so exciting to be here today. First and foremost, I wanted to ask you guys, what is CrossFit, because people don’t know what it is.
What is CrossFit?
Jack Ryan: Yeah, so we talked a little beforehand about that. I’ll give you sort of the textbook answer. It is an exercise and fitness program—a core strength and fitness program that is designed to move large loads quickly, increase work capacity across broad modes and time domains. When you say that, people go, “Huh?” So, my partner in crime has a much better skill set in answering that question.
Eric Heup: At the end of the day, it’s an exercise program that combines a lot of different movements, from pull-ups to using bar bells and weight lifting to running. It’s a group exercise class that’s made to get you stronger, made to help you lose weight, made to help you feel better. And, you do it with a group. You do it with a class so you get that community vibe as well. It’s just a fun group exercise. There’s a lot of different things constantly changing, always keeping you on your toes.
Jack Ryan: What we like to tell people is, in a sense that’s best the hour of their day. They work hard. They take care of their kids. They take care of their business. They take care of their families. They’re just starting out, this is an hour where they get to take care of themselves. Our goal is to make it the best hour of their day.
Rachel Frentsos: Right, and we all do need that. Speaking of kids, we have Eric’s daughter Fiona here as well. She just wondered off. We thank her for being here! So, tell me a little about how you guys got started. When I first found out about it, Jack, you were working out of your garage with this.
Jack Ryan: Yup.
Rachel Frentsos: So explain that.
How did you start Fairwinds CrossFit?
Jack Ryan: Like a lot of people who first started CrossFit, I picked it up while in the military. I went around and kind of started gyms in different areas. But, I wanted to start one of my own. So, that was in my garage about a mile and a half from here. I got a couple of neighborhood friends, and we’d do stuff in the mornings. It became two classes. Then I wanted to hold a kids’ class in the weekend, but I didn’t want to run that. I knew Eric because I was his coach when he first started CrossFit. He came over and started a kids’ class.
Then it became an evening class with some adults. At that point, my wife said, “Get the heck out of the house and go find a space because we don’t want weights dropping during dinner time.” So, we partnered up and found this place.
Eric Heup: Match made in Heaven.
Jack Ryan: That’s right.
Eric Heup: —Or in Kiddie Creek.
Rachel Frentsos: Yeah, you’ve grown to be—it’s amazing they’ve grown to be a huge business here and there’s a lot of people who work out. And in fact, there are some competitions that you train people for. Aren’t there CrossFit competitions as well?
What are CrossFit competitions?
Jack Ryan: There is. There’s a worldwide online competition of CrossFit games Open. That is the first stage of the Games series. The top 20 worldwide and the top performers in each country—I think it’s 113 or 111 countries this year—get an invitation to go to the games in Madison, Wisconsin, so—
Eric Heup: I just missed, I just missed.
Eric Heup: So close—
Rachel Frentsos: That’s fine.
Jack Ryan: We have 44 people participate, which is almost 100% of our active membership, which is pretty cool.
Rachel Frentsos: Wow, that’s amazing.
Jack Ryan: A lot of—we do it on Friday nights. People would come in, they would work out for about an hour or two—not each work out an hour or two, but do the workouts for about an hour and then hang out for about an hour or two and just eat some food, drink some beer, hang out with friends and have a good time.
Rachel Frentsos: It’s really social here, too. It seems like it’s a very close knit community. People are friends. And in fact, tell me more about how you name your workouts, or how they are named in CrossFit.
Eric Heup: So, a lot of workouts, they do have names. A lot of women’s names. For example, one we’re actually going to talk about is Fran. The idea is, it’s Fran in the gym, whether it’s here at Fairwinds CrossFit, whether it’s a CrossFit gym across the country, somewhere else in the world, Fran is always these two movements at this rep scheme.
If we said it’s a movement of thrusters and pull-ups, we said we did a workout of 21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups, sure, that’s great, but when you actually say to someone, “I just did Fran,” and if they’ve done Cross before, they’d get that reaction of, “Oh, Fran, okay.” And so, it’s much more memorable, it means something, and also it just makes it that much more easy to remember and repeat, so when you do it again and you get a better time, you know that you’ve actually improved over time.
Rachel Frentsos: Awesome. So I’m going to ask you guys to show us some moves in CrossFit. Maybe you can give us some examples of some of your favorite moves and some of the moves that aren’t so desirable.
Barbell Thrusters: Frenemy or Foe?
Jack Ryan: So the move that Eric was talking about, Fran. The first move is a bar bell thruster, and I would say that is one of the favorites that people have, maybe a frenemy, if you will, with thruster. But you clean it up to that front rack position, person goes down the bottom with a front squat, drives it up to overhead and that’s the thruster. So they would do 21 of these—we’ll do three, finish, turn around, and then—I think the move that everyone likes to try to get to is a pull-up, you know, various kinds, straight pull-up, a kicking pull-up, into a butterfly kicking pull-ups. 21, 21, 15, 15, 9, 9, proceed to follow.
But, the thing about CrossFit is that does stimulate a lot of intensity, heart rate gets up. Takes about 2 ½, 3, maybe 4 minutes before people are like, “That’s it,” but it’s also all relative. Somebody who is just getting started, they can come in and we can give them a PDC pipe and squat to a box and press overhead. We’ve got beams, ropes, different ways to scale it where they can do the same amount of reps, same amount of movements, but scaled to their level to get the same amount of stimulus as someone who is going to the CrossFit Games.
Rachel Frentsos: And, I appreciate that because when I’ve been here, I have shoulder issues from swimming and Jack does a really good job at modifying for me so I don’t injure myself. So if anyone who would like to join you guys here, what do they need to do to come work out?
Ready to try CrossFit?
Eric Heup: So, a couple of different things you can do. We’re on Facebook. We’re on Instagram. We’re on Interwebs. Our website. You can go to any of those and contact us. If you want to come try a class, the first class is always on the house. You also want to try our Foundations Class. That’s four small group—basically small personal training sessions— where we take four classes at the beginning of the month to kind of get you acclimated and teach you some of the foundational movements and a couple of other movements that you’ll see pretty common in classes.
It’s a great way to sort of get people to come to the gym, see how things flow. And then, usually it’s a small group of people, they also go into it with having a couple of other people going through it with them. Yeah, contact us and the foundations class is the best way to get started.
Rachel Frentsos: Okay, we’ll put their contact information below this video. Have a great day. Thank you guys for taking the time out of your day. We’ll see you next time.
Jack Ryan: Want to do any burpees or anything?
Rachel Frentsos: Burpees? Right now? You can do burpees, go for it.
Jack Ryan: Burpees in heels.
Rachel Frentsos: Burpees in heels. Just kidding. Thank you.
Jack Ryan: Thank you.
Eric Heup: Bye.
I encourage all of you to try Fairwinds CrossFit! They offer great exercise classes with a tight-knit community atmosphere. I hope you all enjoyed this episode of Moving Forward with Rachel. Stay tuned to see who I’ll be interviewing next month!