The triple threat. That’s the perfect way to describe Chase Heckendorn, Ben Odeski, and Ryan Savard.
They’ve been best friends since middle school and throughout their high school years at Woodrow Wilson. Then, after graduating in 2005, the trio went their separate ways. Heckendorn and Savard headed to the University of Texas in Austin, while Odeski’s path led him to Texas A&M.
But now the three are together again in Lakewood, and they’ve combined their personalities, talents, and those college degrees in their new business, East Dallas CrossFit.
East Dallas CrossFit is a gym of sorts, but you won’t see a lot of high tech treadmills and fancy elliptical machines here. The CrossFit methodology, by definition, is constantly varied movements performed at relative high intensities in order to effectively achieve a broad, general, yet all inclusive fitness level. In other words, it’s a butt-kicking workout that will make you an athletically well-rounded person.
“Someone might say a marathon runner is fit, but is that marathon runner strong or flexible? Typically they’re probably lacking in those two departments,” Savard said. “Is a body builder fit? Well yea, he’s going to be strong, but he’s probably not going to be too flexible, he’s probably not going to have a high endurance. We try to work on everything and bring it all together. Our specialty is not specializing.”
Exercises change for each class, but activities can include weight lifting, pull ups, squats and even some gymnastic components. Classes, which last about an hour, are all led by a trainer. That’s Savard’s forte. The University of Texas graduate majored in kinesiology and leads each session at CrossFit.
“I feel like if you can establish yourself and you’re physically healthy, that’s going to carry over into being mentally healthy. I played sports all throughout college at UT and fitness and health have always been my background, especially in my degree,” Savard said.
Each East Dallas CrossFit session has about four to six participants, and the members establish great relationships with each other and Savard through the teamwork exercises. They push and encourage each other to succeed.
“Everybody gets to know each other, if somebody stops showing up they are going to be calling them and seeing where they are,” Heckendorn said.
Although Savard works as the head trainer, his friends and fellow owners Odeski and Heckendorn attend workouts four to five times a week. Their main roles, however, are a little more behind the scenes. Heckendorn, who has a degree in economics, focuses primarily on advertising and web development for the gym. Odeski, who wasn’t available for the interview, handles the finances. Their different talents and skillsets complement each other and help the gym run smoothly.
At first, however, the guys were a little apprehensive about owning a business together. They worried if it would hurt their friendship or if their friendship would make it difficult to work alongside one another.
“I think I was more worried about it before than now, because we’ve all worked together now for about a month and I have a good feel for how serious everyone is about it. We have fun, but we really get down to work when we need to,” Savard said.
Their only real disagreement so far?
“We’d like to put a UT flag up in here. Two to one vote,” Savard laughed.