Happy Birthday CrossFit Sioux Falls

Fran"ish" Friday's are a hit!

It is so crazy to me that Annie and I arrived in Sioux Falls one year ago today.

Now we officially opened January 5th 2009 but we were born October 6th 2008.

Everyone has their story; here’s our CrossFit story:

Annie and I arrived in Sioux Falls, SD from Los Angeles, CA October 6th, 2008. Annie knew about 5 people in Sioux Falls from attending one semester of high school at Lincoln in 99 and taking an internship at KSFY in 04. I had only visited Sioux Falls in 2006 in August for a couple of days driving through to the Twin Cities.

We both came here for an adventure not really knowing what we had in store for us. One of the main reasons we decided to move here was we both knew about CrossFit, how successful it was, the potential it has, and South Dakota (let alone Sioux Falls) did not have an affiliate at this point. I would always ask myself, “Sioux Falls would be a perfect place for a CrossFit” now I tell myself, “boy I’m glad we were the 1st!”

I found CrossFit in July 2007. My brother, Mark, was training to be a firefighter and one of his buddies showed him the site and did a couple of workouts. Mark told me about the site and his workouts and thought I might be interested. I was. Right when he showed me crossfit.com it reminded me of high school football workouts. Those workouts gave me the best results of my life and sparked me to become a personal trainer in college.

I was at a point in my life where the gym and my workouts were dull and boring. I got caught in the trap of doing the same workouts and routines so mentally and physically I was burned out. When I saw crossfit.com I was immediately interested and wanted to start the workouts right away. So my brother and I went to the globo gym and did that day’s WOD. I can’t even remember what it was exactly, 7 rounds of knees to elbows, front squats…and something else. Bottom line we could barely finish, we were both so freakin sore and I was hooked. Two months later Annie and I got married moved from Anaheim to Santa Monica and I immediately joined CrossFit LA. CrossFit LA was everything I hoped for and some. The workouts, the intensity, the community it built. It was love at 1st puke:-)

Then in April of 08 we got a text from one of Annie’s friends in Sioux Falls, “Hey we are doing this workout, I heard it is pretty popular in LA, called CrossFit”. Annie and I both looked at each other and said, “WHOA!” We knew at the time South Dakota didn’t have an affiliate, but it was crazy to think of the possibility to open one there. We knew it would be far to expensive and difficult to open one in southern California. Honestly at the time we shelved the idea, but it was cool or think about opening one in a far away state.

I later got Level 1 certified June of 2008 in San Diego just for fun and because I was still personal training independently and I wanted to give my clients the gift of CrossFit workouts.

A month later Annie and I were at a crossroads in our life, career wise. She had always flirted with moving back to Sioux Falls even when we were dating but I never thought of moving to South Dakota. First, I barely even knew where South Dakota was, and second I did know it snows like 6 months out of the year and growing up in SoCal where the weather is sunny and nice 300 days a year was hard for me to think about moving away from. Through some long talks and both of us really going nowhere with our selected career paths we took a chance, packed our car, and moved to Sioux Falls South Dakota.

From the day we got here I was determined to start CrossFit; didn’t know how or when, just knew it was going to happen. Through a lot of planning we got everything together, found a space, moved in the space December 16th, opened the doors January 5th 2009!

I had some high goals set for this thing. But wouldn’t have thought we would reach them and surpass them! We are 130 members strong. People are seeing some UNBELIVABLE results. (I think of Nate losing just about 80lbs! All the women who tell me I have never done Pullups before in my LIFE and how we have someone new every week starting pullups without bands).

Everyday we get emails from one of you about how great CrossFit is, your results you have achieved, or how it has improved your life for the good. It is sooo cool to have met everyone on your 1st day, get to know you and see the transformation happen before our very eyes (it is truly amazing).

The reason why I love CrossFit. It pushes me to a higher level. It eliminates your weaknesses. I want to be the best and the healthiest I can be and CrossFit gives me the unlimited potential to do anything I want to do in life. And mentally I get even more of a benefit. Seeing how far I can mentally push myself puts me on a high, that I will always strive to push a little more each workout. It is a life long journey of betterment and that is hard to find let alone do!

I feel very very fortunate to be here and very very grateful to have met all of you and be apart of your lives!

We have some BIG plans in the very near future! This thing is just scratching the surface. Enjoy the journey, its only going to get better and better!

Chris and Annie Mello

That’s our story. What’s YOURS?

Today’s WOD:

Oct 6

10 Responses to “Happy Birthday CrossFit Sioux Falls”

  1. So, I totally teared up. I am SO, SO glad that God led you guys to SoDak. Not just because I get a great workout 5 days a week, but because I have made really great friends. Friends that motivate me to be a better person, inside and out. Friends that have shown me how strong I am physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Friends that lift me up when I am down and encourage me to get back on the proverbial horse. In addition to all that you do for me, you have also become an important part of the lives of my children, and that, my friends, gets me right in the middle of the heart. We love you guys! We are so very excited to see all that God has in store for you and for us, and feel blessed to get to share the journey!

  2. I couldn’t agree with Amanda more. I’m so thankful to have you two in my life. You two have changed my life in more ways than I could ever have imagined, physically and mentally. I am so thankful for the friendship that I have found within you and Annie. CrossFit has become a way of life, something that I need. Not just the workouts but the other members is something that I look forward to everyday as well. I’ve never been at a place and have been so inspired by all of the stories of hard work and accomplishments. Thank you so much for taking a chance on Sioux Falls. I thank God that he brought the CrossFit family into my life!

  3. ok- even though we are all getting so much tougher at CF- mentally and physically- I still couldn’t help but get weak and teary reading your CF story- as well as Amanda and Jen’s comments. I, too, can not say enough about CF and what it has done for me- and that is just so far. I have such a long way to go, but am thankful every minute for what I am learning, who I am meeting and the amazing things I see CF doing. I don’t think that anything happens or is done by coincidence- He has a Plan. I say thanks everyday for my Plan to include you and the entire CF family and what it all brings to my life! Congratulations and many blessings for much more to come!

  4. I couldn’t agree more with what the ladies have said already…I feel so fortunate to have you in Sioux Falls! I am sure I would have never found a consistent fitness routine (that’s anything but routine!) if you hadn’t brought Crossfit here. I am one of the many members who did their first pullup EVER because of crossfit–I never imagined I would be able to do so and after 6 months I’m getting through workouts with no bands! I love Crossfit SF for so many reasons but especially because it continually proves that when you commit to improving your life and work hard at it consistently, you get results! Thanks for sharing your story and starting this amazing CF family!!

  5. Dad Mello Says:


  6. Chris and Annie

    I have a crossfit story similar to yours. I found Crossfit through my brother in law a few years ago. He was in the SEALs and we started talking about this new physical fitness training method they were using. He directed me to the crossfit website and then my intrest grew from there. I started doing the workouts on my own, both at home and at local “

  7. Ok sorry for the interuption.

    “fitness center.” The workouts I did on my own were tiring and almost puke inducing but there was something missing. So long story short you guys opened up and I had to join. Needless to say it was love at first workout. I have never been pushed as hard physically in any training environment. I have belonged to crossfit now for almost 4 months. In that time I have lost almost 20 pounds, yet increased my strength and endurance markedly. I have become somwhat of a Crossfit evangangilzer (sp?) I keep trying to convert people from the Globo gym way of thinking. Anyway I hope your success continues and thanks for taking a chance on Sioux Falls

    Mark Burggraff

  8. Chris and Annie: In a year you have touched and changed SO many lives….including mine! I still remember seeing the Crossfit commercial during the Biggest Loser finale…I knew it was something I had to check out. I am SO SO SO SO SO glad that I did. In a few short months I have lost weight, gained strength, and changed my outlook on life…I feel better about myself and my body (other people are noticing too:)
    So….Happy Birthday……Best of Luck in the Future……. and most important Thank You.

  9. Korenar Chester Says:

    Ok, so I can’t go without commending Annie & Chris as well and telling my story too! I have never had an issue with weight…that is until I had a “rare” thyroid condition that went undetected for over a year….and after struggling with energy & weight, I switched to my current awesome dr who figured it out in 1 visit. I gained almost 50 lbs over that time. For the past few years, I have struggled trying to get the weight back off and eventually lost my confidence and self-image (but I still took showers…didn’t go quite that far! 🙂 ).

    Before joining CF in late July, I had lost about 20lbs on my own. Mary introduced me to CF (thanks, gurl!) and I fell in love with it immediately! Even though my first visit I thought: “Holy *BLEEP*! I don’t know if I can do that!” I proved to myself that I can and I will. In the time of being at CF, I have lost another 19 (almost 20) pounds with 12 of them being in the first 2 weeks! I slowly started to gain my self image and confidence back. Now, I have people that even notice at work and ask me what I’m doing to get so toned and lean so quick! Talk about an awesome feeling! I end up spending about 30 minutes or more telling them about how CF has helped me both mentally and physically and how it gives you RESULTS! My husband has also complimented me and is happy for me because he not only sees physically how it is helping me (partially because he had to drill a few more holes in my belt so I don’t do the “moonwalk”!) but the big difference in my confidence and happiness! When I’m stressed, I run to CF! Nothing compares! I set my goals and I feel confident I can meet them and have a “family” that believes in me and I know is behind me 100%: the Crossfit Family. I can now run a 800m without stopping or feeling out of breath, I feel stronger (but I’m going to get even stronger!!), and I find myself not only pushing myself in the workouts but also outside of CF now.

    I haven’t felt this good in YEARS! I’ve gained not only myself back but I’ve gained many friends, which I’m grateful for each and every one of them. With that being said, I’d better quit here because I could write a novel or a Letterman top 10 list on all the ways CF (Annie & Chris) have changed my life for the better (as I tear up with good tears typing this and I’m not a very emotional person!) and I can never express in words how grateful I am that you guys have been brought into my life! I have hope again….I have confidence….I have myself back….but most of all, I have you guys now!

    Thank you very much for everything and for coming into our lives! Luv you guys!

  10. Korena Chester Says:

    See? I was so excited that I even typed my name wrong, apparently! 🙂

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