RX Fit brings cross-training to Ford City

Owners of a newly opened gym in Ford City are from left to right: Kiera Wolfe, Kelly Check and Jillian Emberg. Friday August 15, 2014
Owners of a newly opened gym in Ford City are from left to right: Kiera Wolfe, Kelly Check and Jillian Emberg. Friday August 15, 2014
Photo by Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
| Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, 1:11 a.m.

With a move to a new building and an increasing interest in cross-training workouts, things are starting to shape up for a Ford City gym.

RX Fit owners Kelly Check, Jill Emberg and Kiera Wolfe moved in July from a rented basement at Twist and Shout Academy on Sixth Avenue to an expansive space at 601 Fourth Ave. That property had once been an indoor shooting range.

“It was hard to find a facility to accommodate this kind of gym. But we were able to find one that worked for us. And it was located in Ford City,” Wolfe said.

The three started RX Fit last year. Often known by the trademarked name Crossfit, cross-training combines weightlifting, core training, gymnastics and cardio exercises.

“You're mixing that all up. You're combining all of that for your whole well-being,” Check said.

The variety of the workouts and the way they push participants to the limit keep cross-trainers coming back. Many tout improved strength, speed and endurance, said Emberg, a certified Crossfit trainer.

“It is a different kind of workout. It's really empowering, like you accomplish something every day you leave the gym,” she said.

According to Crossfit coach Dave Pancik, cross-training is still new to the Armstrong County area.

“Some people don't even know it exists,” he said.

Those who do know likely have Pancik to thank. The retired Lenape Elementary teacher started leading cross-training workouts there for fellow teachers and others in the area.

That's when the women behind RX Fit jumped on the cross-training bandwagon.

Pancik retired last year and moved to Ohio, where he started Crossfit gyms with his son, Scott, who placed fourth in the 2012 International Crossfit Games.

When he did, the three bought his business and struck out on their own with RX Fit.

Pancik is glad to see that Check, Emberg and Wolfe found a home that fits cross-training so well.

“It looks like they made a move in the right direction,” he said.

For Lenape Elementary teacher Sean McLafferty of Pittsburgh, stopping by the gym before or after work is easy enough to do. And it has paid off — he said he has seen his waistline decrease and his strength increase. But it's the camaraderie that cross-training offers that keeps him coming back.

“Everyone's pushing each other and cheering each other. There are a lot of people to push you,” he said.

Though cross-training, sometimes known as circuit training, has a tough reputation, the gym offers a fun, “playground-like” atmosphere with everything from pull-up bars to tires to sandbags to use in workouts, Emberg said.

RX Fit takes advantage of the nearby walking trail along the river. Members train some days on Fourth Avenue.

Taking workouts public has raised some eyebrows, but the gym's neighbors have seemed welcoming, Emberg said.

“We always get wisecracks, but residents are fun and accepting. It's nice people are so open to it,” Emberg said.

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315 or jmartin@tribweb.com.

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