Throwdown Thursday with CrossFit Portsmouth

CrossFit Portsmouth

The Open is coming and Box Pro Magazine is featuring unique approaches Boxes use to get members involved in the Open. This is Part Three in our Throwdown Thursday series.

 CrossFit Portsmouth in New Hampshire has a membership of about 200 people. Over half of those members have signed up for their 2017 intramural Open.

After noticing how intimidating and sport-related the Open had become, owner Sophie Ludi and head Coach Justin Mahan decided it was time for their Box to create something centered on the community at CrossFit Portsmouth.

“We shopped around and looked at what other gyms were doing and we basically decided we needed to do what we were good at, and that is putting the community first,” said Mahan. “They are the most important thing in every decision we make when we started building this intramural Open.”

Three Coaches at CrossFit Portsmouth are put in charge of a team, each with a different team shirt. A point system was developed to create a bigger sense of competition. A point is earned by members of each team wearing their team shirt each Friday evening as athletes compete in the Open workouts.

This point system has created an even larger rumble of enthusiasm than the Open workouts. This year, CrossFit Portsmouth has between 10 and 12 members of their gym, who for one reason or another, are taking time off from the workouts, but are still signed up to get a T-shirt, judge and cheer their intramural team members on.

“It has turned into this collection of our community members that just really came to support each other,” said Mahan. “Everyone kind of forgot we were doing these hard Open workouts. It’s doing exactly what we wanted it to do.”

As an athlete it is common to expect a medal, trophy or even recognition for winning a competition. At CrossFit Portsmouth, they also realized the importance of recognizing these winners and created a trophy for that reason.

“By the end of the Open, we needed something to show how proud we were of the gym, so we made an obnoxiously large trophy,” said Mahan. “It is actually more of an inconvenience now because we constantly have to roll it around to get it out of the way, but it is still really fun to have.”

Ludi also noted their Box adds a sixth week to the Open workouts, and last year it was a bowling competition. “It was a way to get everyone out of the gym and let everyone know they did a good job. It was like an end of the Open party, with bowling, and they could still get points for their team,” she said.

With the Open quickly approaching, Mahan explained the importance Facebook has in creating a buzz around the competition. Trash talk, strategy and motivation are shared on various groups to encourage the friendly competition.

“We create a Facebook page where everyone that does the intramural Open is involved in,” said Mahan. “Also, each of the teams have private Facebook pages where a lot of strategy and trash talk goes on. Everyone just gets so fired up.”

 “People are going to see a fun time and a good community where no other style of gym has that,” said Ludi. “That’s why CrossFit is so awesome, because what other fitness program does something like this?”

 What are you offering at your Box to get your members involved in the Open?


Kaitlyn is a staff writer for Peake Media. Contact her at