“Start Fresh, Today”: An Interview with Jake Platt, Founder of Northwest CrossFit

by Fit After Fifty
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We got a chance to sit down with Jake Platt, founder, president, and CEO of Northwest CrossFit, and talk with him about his definition of fitness, finding the perfect trainer, how CrossFit fosters a community, and advice for anyone beginning their health journey.


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What does fitness mean to you?

JAKE: Fitness is all about the connection between spirit, mind, and body. It really starts with the spiritual side of things. Being in touch with yourself, having a deep connection with yourself, being able to quiet your thoughts, meditate, and be mindful — that’s really where fitness begins. The physical side becomes a manifestation from that point. If you have a great, positive outlook on life, practice good behaviors and habits, have a sound lifestyle and make healthy choices, the physical fitness side naturally becomes an extension of that.

What is functional fitness?

JAKE: Functional fitness is based on primal patterns that the body was designed to be able to do frequently, and well. These multiplane movements — for example, moving in the sagittal plane, the frontal plane, and the transverse plane — are fundamental movements in everyday life. When you bend over to tie your shoes, you’re going to have a slight twist in your body. You are bending over, one foot might be in front of the other, and you’re going through all of these different planes of movement. When you break these fundamental, functional movements down, you get things like squatting, lunges, stepping up onto things, picking things up, carrying them, reaching out, pulling, pushing, and having the ability to hold onto all of these movement patterns for as long as you possibly can. That’s really the secret to longevity, and functional fitness.


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How do you find a trainer you trust?

JAKE: The first thing I always suggest is to go to the top. Look at where the top people train — where do they go? When you see someone and you think, “Gosh, you’re really fit and strong. How did you get that way? What did you do? Where do you go?,” ask them if they know somebody who can help you out. A lot of times it’s not about who has the best endorsement on Yelp, or the best ads on their social media; sometimes it’s somebody very close to you. Going through training, you want to find someone you’re really compatible with, because if you’re not compatible, you might hold back and not communicate. The center point of having a successful trainer/client relationship is communication.

[Related: How to Choose a Personal Trainer for Senior Fitness]

What are your thoughts on gym as a community?

JAKE: I come from a CrossFit, bootcamp type of business. We always try to make everyone in our classes feel like family. This is a community. It’s like a family, or a social club. Everyone’s there supporting each other, rooting each other on, and encouraging each other. There’s rarely any judging going on, and people are just having a good time. Everyone accepts everybody for where they are at in their fitness journey, which provides a really great sense of security for a lot of people. This sense of community keeps them motivated, and encourages them to keep going and keep committed.


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How do you feel about fitness as a preventative measure to injury?

JAKE: Keeping yourself fit is a great buffer for a lot of negative things that can happen in life. For example, if you’re very fit and you get injured, you’re more likely to heal quickly. The same thing can be said about your mental outlook. If you get injured and you’re depressed, your cortisol levels are up, and your overall outlook on life becomes more negative. That in itself becomes its own cycle, and having a good meditation practice and adjusted fitness routine can help combat that negativity and keep you focused on your journey.


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Finally, what advice do you have for people getting started on their fitness journey?

JAKE: Start fresh, today. Because every day, you’re reborn. Every morning you wake up, it’s a new day. You’re reborn into this world as you come out of your sleep. It’s a new opportunity, so you want to look at life that way — here’s my second chance right here. Every day you have that second chance. Every day. I think that’s just sitting down and saying, “I want to make a change in my life, and it’s going to happen right now.” Changing your attitude, and just believing, “I’m going to do whatever it takes in order to make this happen.”

[Related: Starting to Exercise After Age 50]

Follow Jake on Instagram to get more tips on health and fitness! Have advice of your own to contribute? Share your story with us!

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