Scott and Abby Wilkerson share two passions in life: the one they have for each other, and the one they have for CrossFit. While visiting a Greenville CrossFit gym in 2015, Scott, a police officer with the town of Leland, met Abby, a graduate student at East Carolina University. The couple began working out together and soon afterward started dating, their mutual love for fitness and the CrossFit lifestyle serving as a strong foundation for their relationship.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Michael Cline
Scott’s interest in physical fitness and exercise began early on. Having discovered the CrossFit strength and conditioning program nearly a decade ago, he’s been an avid fan of the regimen ever since, something that has served him well in his seven years of work in law enforcement.
As for Abby, her background in sports and fitness also led her on the road to CrossFit. Abby competed in weightlifting during her time on ECU’s Olympic Weightlifting team. She is currently completing her master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology and is set to graduate this May. Abby believes that CrossFit is the ideal body workout, or as she calls it, “functional fitness.”
Once together, it didn’t take long before Scott and Abby realized that they both had a common aspiration: to one day open their own gym.
“I think it was kind of just a dream for both of us until we came together, and then we were able to both support each other’s ideas, and that’s what helped make it a reality. We both really love CrossFit and it’s where we want to be spending our time instead of sitting at a desk or doing something we don’t really love,” says Abby.
“I’ve been doing CrossFit for 10 years. I’d always loved it and had a passion for it, and I really wanted to open up my own gym. But it’s really hard unless you have a support system there to do so. Abby is very much that,” says Scott.In order to be closer to Scott and get their future together started, Abby moved to Wilmington in the summer of 2016 and by October the two were married. Together, Scott and Abby found the courage, support, and encouragement they both needed to go for their dreams, and this past January the doors of Parkview CrossFit opened wide.
So why do the Wilkersons love CrossFit?
Officially founded in 2000, it’s a fitness regimen where everything is done without machines and every movement is in some way related to the functional body motions of everyday life.
“Whether you’re sitting down, or picking something up, it keeps mobility there. You’re not stiff, sitting there on a machine doing leg curls. One of our movements can work just as many muscles as four machines at one time. Basically, every movement we do is a full body one, and all of our workouts are high intensity. You’re constantly moving the whole time, so you can get a really good workout in 10 to 20 minutes, and you’re done,” says Scott.
One big motivator for Scott and something that makes Parkview CrossFit unique is its accessibility to the County’s first responders. With 24-hour access, members can come in any time of day or night, weekends or holidays, and work out. Many of Abby and Scott’s members are local law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders, all of whom work long, non-traditional hours.
“A lot of other CrossFit gyms don’t offer 24-hour access, which makes it hard for the night shift law enforcement officers and firefighters to get in there. Even the day shift officers work from 6 am to 6 pm, and most gyms are closing by the time they get home and are ready to go work out,” says Scott.
Another distinct feature of Parkview CrossFit is that it offers members more than just the typical classes that other CrossFit gyms are based upon. Wanting to create a space where people can come in and do their own thing, Scott and Abby decided to offer a variety of options in their facility: open gym, classes, and one-on-one personal training.
“We wanted a space where people could come in and do any type of training that they wanted to, not only for classes or during class hours. There’s a need for a gym like this, and so we went for it and opened it up because we thought it’d be something good for the community,” says Abby.
Although it may initially sound intimidating, CrossFit can be scaled for any age and level of experience. Classes at Parkview are shared between people with experience and people without and while everybody does the same workout, it is adapted to meet each person’s ability.
As the gym gets off the ground and word of their opening spreads, Scott and Abby are trying extra hard to reach to the County’s first responders. Parkview CrossFit offers membership discounts for military, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other emergency service personnel.
“I just want other first responders to get the opportunity to get in as good of shape as they need to. The gym’s here now, the hours are there for you, so there’s really no excuse. There’s so much you can do to actually physically prepare yourself for the job aspect, as far as dealing with the people you’ll meet on the street. This is the workout that can prepare you to face all of that. If I can help somebody go home at night safely, that’s definitely something I support and want to do,” says Scott.
Parkview CrossFit is located at 1987 Andrew Jackson Hwy, Bldg. C, Leland, NC 28451. For more information, visit www.ecstrength.com