When Sortman discovered there were no Crossfit gyms in the area, he opened Crossfit Unsalted at 1051 Jackson St. across from Home Depot.
An open house is slated for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday with free introductory workouts, fitness contests, food and prizes.
“When I got back from the military, I was pretty excited about starting Crossfit,” said Sortman, who purchased the Community Shores Dental practice in Fruitport six years ago.
Sortman; his wife, Holly; and their four kids set up a makeshift gym in their garage and even considered raising the roof for additional training room.
“We outfitted it with all the gear to do Crossfit workouts,” Sortman said. “We're always looking for ways to make that lifestyle work.”
Crossfit is a core strength and conditioning program with constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements.
“The way the workouts are designed, they're so painful and so different,” Sortman said. “You can only see true progress when you're doing them with somebody else. That's part of the design. You're suffering with other people, going against the clock and against yourself.”
Sortman placed a Craigslist ad seeking workout partners, but got little response.
About a year ago, his wife suggested they open their own gym.
But because Sortman is a full-time dentist, there was no way he could also work enough hours as a certified trainer to keep the new business afloat.
He hired Rob DeHaan, a former high school track star who suffered a sports injury at Aquinas College.
Sortman said many athletes who have suffered setbacks are drawn to Crossfit.
“Crossfit is a way to get the competitive side of people going,” he said.
DeHaan, who is the facility's lead coach, said Crossfit training helped him regain full movement in his injured hip.
“We actually work on the health of the joints instead of bulk muscle that doesn't do anything for you when you get older,” DeHaan explained. “I used Crossfit to rehab my hip because I couldn't afford physical therapy.”
The 3,000-square-foot Crossfit Unsalted facility features Olympic pull-up bars, ropes, gymnastic rings and more.
Sortman said the small size allows for more personalized training and relationships.
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