In 2009, Christian Aguirre was sitting in his high school history class when his phone lit up with a call from Santa Cruz. He quickly checked his voicemail after it rang through; his application to become a CrossFit Affiliate was accepted. Thus, CrossFit Proper was born in Corona, California.
Aguirre had always been involved in extracurricular activities, from jiu-jitsu to guitar lessons. Eventually he found CrossFit when his parents convinced him to start going to a garage gym with them, which is now Canyon CrossFit. He was constantly aiming to improve himself and those around him, so after getting his Level 1 at 16 years old, the next step was to become an Affiliate.
“My parents were like, ‘If you want to become an Affiliate you have to go to the L1 and do your certification and then after that there’s an essay you need to write,” said Aguirre. “I did all of the essay writing and the paperwork behind their backs, without them knowing. I called my parents after I got the voicemail saying I was accepted to be an Affiliate saying, ‘Hey we need to pay a grand to become an Affiliate. I did all the stuff,’ and they were like, ‘What?’ It was kind of like put up or shut up, and I put up.”
A unique aspect to CrossFit Proper is their partnership with ABC Hopes, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities. Aguirre noticed how happy the participants were to just be involved in something and he knew there was more to be done. As CrossFit Proper grows, Aguirre hopes to tap more into serving these various specialty populations, like those with intellectual disabilities. The Box currently offers a specialized fitness class for ABC Hopes participants and family members. “There’s just such a big need for it,” said Aguirre. “I don’t see why they shouldn’t be offered workouts. People with intellectual disabilities are totally capable. It’s just a matter of figuring out how, and how to help them.”
Throughout his time of running CrossFit Proper, Aguirre has learned multiple lessons, the main one being it is important to recognize the Box is a business, not a hobby. By doing this, the growth of the business will be substantial.
“It’s not a bad thing to treat your gym like a business, because that’s going to allow Affiliates to do the things that they want, whether it’s treating people with disabilities or helping a family in need if their house burns down,” said Aguirre. “If you treat it like a business, you can keep it going for 10, 20, 30 years and imagine how many people you can help in that time frame.”
At the end of the day, it comes down to passion. No matter what happens in his day, CrossFit is there for Aguirre, his family and his community. “That passion drove me past the obstacles of owning a gym, and it still does today,” said Aguirre.