Three brothers. One Box. It sounds like a reality TV show. But it is far from such dramatic flare and scathing controversies. Dan, Josh and Kris Miller are three brothers who own CrossFit Shift in Lansing, Michigan.
Before the Box, both Dan and Kris Miller were firefighters while Josh Miller was in law enforcement. “When we had first found CrossFit, it was going to support our career decisions,” said Josh Miller. “When we first started we saw the value as CrossFit being fit for anything … That’s what we were looking for.”
Struggling to find a place to workout, the brothers officially started doing CrossFit in 2009 in a garage. After one and a half years of following CrossFit.com with two other friends, Dan, Kris and Josh Miller decided to get certified. In 2011, the brothers became Affiliates.
Dan Miller said that although the beginning was tough, once each of the brothers were assigned a specific position within the business things smoothed out. Plus, it helped that they had a clear vision for where they were headed. “Before we even opened, we had a pretty good idea what direction we were looking to head, and we all agreed on that before we even started the Box,” he said. “We had all agreed on the vision.”
Having grown up close, Josh, Kris and Dan Miller were not deterred when others tried to persuade them from going into business together. “Just being able to work together wasn’t very difficult,” said Josh Miller. “We had a lot of people warn us, ‘Never go in business with family,’ and we never really worried about that because we’re just really close and it works out.”
The brothers bring balance to one another, both in life and in terms of Coaching at the Box. Kris Miller described it best: their personalities are in shades of light, medium and dark. He dubbed himself as the light and — with a laugh — the nicest of the three. “As far as when I’m coaching, Josh is a lot better at getting in people’s faces [and] pushing them,” he explained. “I take a lot of time in really making sure people are doing it right, making sure that the overall goal of our classes is that this is the best hour of people’s day, and really try to instill that in every class.”
Dan Miller has stepped back from a large portion of the training aspect, instead working mostly on the business side of things. When he does Coach though, it’s with the athletes at the Box — meaning, those looking to compete or simply take CrossFit to the next level. “The way that I’ve found is the easiest with that group of people because they’re willing to work so hard is just to be honest with them,” he said. “I’m not rude or mean, but I’m just very honest with them and explain to them what they need to get where they want to.”
Josh Miller is the head trainer and the most assertive in his Coaching. “I want people to make changes. I want them to move well,” he said. “I want to make sure those things are in play, as well as making sure people have a good time. But, my biggest thing … [is] I want people to be making those changes.”
Despite their differences, the brothers don’t differ in their beliefs of striving for excellence and in making that truth part of CrossFit Shift. “We want to be the best. We want to offer something that’s going to be great,” said Josh Miller. “The way we do that is excellence … Basically everything we do we’re trying to do for our members. We want them to have a good time. We want them to have the best equipment, the best space, and really make this the best part of their day.”
Dan Miller said something similar when giving advice to other Boxes. “Strive for excellence everyday,” he said. “Talk to people, be a good listener. Comprehend what people are saying and try to relate with them, and just stick to CrossFit.”
Photos by Nicole Geller