Melissa Graves calls CrossFit her medicine.
Last year, though, she was forced to shut down her brick and mortar gym, CrossFit MVA at 1712 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. Graves and her team of a half dozen coaches kept the ship afloat with Zoom workouts, as members who stuck it out took home weight sets and medicine balls from the gym.
“It felt like a year, but it was probably only three months that we were out of this space,” Graves told ALXnow. “Even now I’m counting every day, one day at a time until we can function somewhat like normal.”
Graves says most of her clients are vaccinated against COVID-19, and those who aren’t are asked to wear face masks during the high-intensity workouts. Those workouts include weightlifting, rowing and gymnastics, and are alternately conducted inside the gym and in an outdoor tented area in the parking lot.
“I don’t like change, and I’ve never been a person that likes change,” Graves said “Being adaptable when those big changes were thrown at me really helped me to grow as a business owner and personally.”
A former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter, the 44-year-old Graves started was introduced to CrossFit in 2008. She opened CrossFit MVA in 2014, and is personally ranked 86th worldwide and 63rd in the U.S. for her age group.
“When I discovered CrossFit, it literally became my medicine,” she said. “I got off antidepressants, I started eating better, I slept better, my mood changed. I was just a different person, like it literally my whole life and my personality.”
Graves continued, “The pandemic was just so tough on people mentally. So having us as an outlet every day for 45 minutes was huge for them, and I’ve heard from countless members tell me that if it wasn’t for these workouts that they don’t know what they would have done.”
Graves increased the monthly fee for members by $5 to make up for the additional space needed for six-foot distancing for athletes inside the box. It costs $235 for unlimited access to the gym, $210 for three workouts per week, and $185 for two workouts per week.
Nervous about CrossFit? Don’t worry if you’re not in great shape, Graves said.
“When people show up for a trial class, they see that there’s all different kinds of people in the gym,” she said. “Some people maybe are getting ready for a triathlon, there might be someone else who’s never worked out before, maybe a mom who just decided that she wanted to start CrossFit in her 40s. We have just everyone from every walk of life, and usually when people take a trial class they feel pretty comfortable.”
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Alexandria Women for Good donated $6,720 to Alexandria’s Community Lodgings from their first donation cycle! They toured one of the learning centers, met some of the staff and kids, and handed over a big check.
Alexandria Women for Good is a newly formed local Grapevine Giving Circle composed of local Alexandria women who make the commitment to give back to the local community regularly and intentionally. Each quarter they raise money to give to local nonprofits making a difference.
For more information visit: https://www.grapevine.org/giving- circle/3y6h4Ay/Alexandria-Women-for-Good
Pictured left to right: Laura Herron, Laura Turner, Kate Wiley from Community Lodgings, and Laura Bloodgood
Hi, my name is Moneim Z., and I am a blind male with chronic kidney disease, who needs a living kidney donor for a transplant. My blood type is B+, and I can accept a kidney from individuals who have blood types B and O.
To read my story, please see the attached letter.
To contact me directly, please email me at [email protected] or call at 571-428-5065. My living donor coordinator at INOVA Hospital, Amileen Cruz can be reached at (703) 776-8370 , or via email at [email protected]
Del Ray Dog Fest & Yappy Hour
The 1st Annual Del Ray Dog Fest is a fun outdoor event that will include dog-centered activities, dog menu items, live music, vendors and food on Sunday, April 2 from 11am- 3pm at the George Washington Middle School parking lot.