As paramedics, Gavin DuBetz and Stephanie Viener's job is to help save lives.
In their new venture at CrossFit Menace, their job is to help shape lives, as well.
DuBetz opened the fitness facility in February at 7041 Grand River Ave. in Genoa Township. Viener is a CrossFit coach and an investor in the new business.
The CrossFit curriculum focuses on functional, everyday movements performed at high intensity using weights, gymnastics equipment and other simple fitness tools. The timed workouts are changed every day.
DuBetz said the CrossFit philosophy is much different than typical gyms.
"We are a community-based fitness facility. Everyone knows everyone, and we all do the same workout every day," he said. "Everyone pushes you further than you ever thought you could go. We don't lack any motivation here."
While it's the same workout for everybody in each class, the weights and movements can be scaled back to meet a person's abilities and fitness levels.
Because the workouts are built around the types of movements people may do in a normal day, the benefits can be seen in everyday life.
"You can chase your kids around better, you can do your job better, you can live healthier and faster and longer, DuBetz said.
DuBetz, 37, grew up in Howell and has been a paramedic with Livingston County EMS for about eight years. Viener, 27, grew up in Brighton and is a part-time paramedic with Washtenaw County's Huron Valley Ambulance as well as a medic with the Army National Guard.
To commit himself to CrossFit Menace, DuBetz went from full-time to part-time work with Livingston County EMS.
"I needed the time to put into this. It was scary (to give up my full-time EMS job) because it pays pretty well and had good benefits. But I've got a lot of good family and friends behind me, and so does Stephanie," he said.
Opening CrossFit Menace required about $100,000 in startup costs, DuBetz said. That included gutting the 4,000-square-foot building, installing restrooms, making necessary improvements and purchasing equipment.
It was important, DuBetz said, to open the facility in the Howell area.
"I was born here, I was raised here, and I really wanted to put this place here. Everyone I know is here, and this is the community I want to support," he said.
The fact that DuBetz and Viener are trained paramedics as well as coaches is another selling point.
"There is that air of safety," DuBetz said. "We are both fully advanced life support paramedics … we don't just have the AED (automated external defibrillator) on the wall. There's nothing we can't handle."
Before discovering CrossFit training and becoming coaches, DuBetz had a traditional lifting and weight-training background, while Viener was a runner who competed in triathlons.
"I ran a lot in high school and college," Viener said. "Then I tried bodybuilding for a little bit. When I got into CrossFit, I just felt like it was more me. I've been doing it about a year-and-a-half."
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