From a garage gym to Crossfit Repentance in Burlington: Couple works to improve the health and lives of others

BURLINGTON -- They traded in junk food for barbells, and now, one couple is using their passion for fitness to build a Crossfit community!

"It's been a whirlwind tour and it's been great and no -- I never thought we'd be doing this at all," Joel Baxter said.

Joel and Kristina Baxter

It wasn't long ago that Joel and Kristina Baxter were lifting weights in their garage.

"People started coming to the garage and working out. At one point it was like 12,13 people a day coming to our garage and we had to back it down because it became too much," Joel Baxter said.

They adopted the Crossfit lifestyle in an effort to improve their health and the health of others.

"Life hands us all different roads. For me, I was 80 pounds heavier. I couldn't do a pull-up. I couldn't do a sit up. I couldn't do a push up. It's amazing to watch people -- their whole body and mental capacity change," Kristina Baxter said.

Crossfit Repentance

Kristina Baxter

"One of the girls at my work where I was working at the time, said to me, 'you better start working out or you're gonna lose that girl,' so I decided to take that step forward and start working out, to better myself but also to keep my wife around," Joel Baxter said.

They channeled their energy and newfound passion for fitness into Crossfit Repentance -- their brand new gym in Burlington.

"Just like anything, you can have people who are invested in their business and are passionate about it or not, and we've seen a lot of gyms around the country, visited a lot, and you can tell a good gym right away," Leah Delaney said.

"Our motto is, make your faith stronger than your fears. Never have a fear of trying to do Crossfit, because the faith you have in yourself and what you're able to do is really what Crossfit is all about.This program is to ward off the nursing home when you're 70 years old -- keeping your fitness to the maximum potential that it can be," Kristina Baxter said.

Crossfit Repentance

And whether you're a Crossfit beginner or you train at a high level, the competitive nature of it remains the same.

Crossfit Repentance

"My first experience was doing sit ups and I couldn't even do 10 in a row. I had to stop, and now I can do 80. It's kinda discouraging to be like, I wish I could be as competitive as that person, but then again, I'm being competitive with myself and I can push myself to see as far as I can go. There are things I never thought I would be able to do that I'm doing now and it's just amazing to see all the changes in my body," Demi Smith said.

"When I first started, I didn't know anything about a barbell. I didn't ever have to pick up a barbell, and then they want you to put it by your chin, put it over your head and drop it on the ground so I had no idea how to use a barbell and now that's probably my favorite part, lifting heavy weights," Leah Delaney said.

Crossfit Repentance

Crossfit Repentance

"It's fun to watch people's journeys. Demi's and some of the others who have been with us awhile. It's fun to watch their confidence grow, not just in weight loss or anything like that. That stuff happens -- but their outlook on life, confidence grow and do more things and the relationships grow stronger and have that community aspect, so its really fun to see that," Joel Baxter said.

Crossfit Repentance

Joel Baxter

"The last person gets the biggest applause, and that's kinda turned into a cliche, but it's kinda true. It's not a competition between me and you. This is us helping each other and that's way more important and that's what they're trying to build here," Leah Delaney said.

"We'd love to grow and expand and do all the other things people would say, but we really love people. To see them change and be happy and have a community do that together is our dream," Joel Baxter said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about their gym.