CrossFit Glory’s History

CrossFit Glory (CFG) had very humble beginnings. CFG was originally located in Auburn, Michigan – a place where a hot day is 85 degrees in the summer. My father and I did our first workout together in his basement. We thought we were tough, so I said we should do “Murph.” If you have done “Murph” before, you are probably laughing at this. “Murph” is: Run 1 mile, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, Run 1 mile. We would do the pull ups, push ups and squats in the basement, run up the stairs and out the door into the beautiful 40 degree rain. I finished in around an hour, my dad around an hour and 20 minutes. He was sore for a week. We were hooked.

We opened CrossFit Glory in my parent’s garage. In the winter, you’d walk in with your snow covered shoes, kick off the snow, and start warming up. We had a few rubber mats, squat racks, and a single rower. Our pull up bars were bolted to the wall and constructed of black metal pipes. Our neighbors thought we were absolutely nuts (we were though). Over time, we convinced a few to try it out.

After outgrowing the garage, we moved to a 1,200 square foot garage with its’ own bathroom! Life was good. That gym had the best running trail. No one will forget that. After two years, we were ready to expand again!

Our third location was a 3.500 sq. ft. carwash. Yes, an old car wash. This one had a bathroom and a shower! It was a large, open facility, with the coolest mural we’d ever seen. After a year, my father decided it was time to truly retire. He sold gym and moved to Florida with my mother. By the way, my mom is a saint. She let us turn her garage into a gym and bring strangers into her house to use the bathroom in the beginning. She also always got her way when we thought of workouts for Saturdays.

The new owners of the gym graciously let us keep the CrossFit Glory name to use. I decided to move back to Yuma. (I lived in Yuma for a year in 2011) Two reasons – I love Yuma and I wanted to be closer to my now wife. She’s also a saint. I took the CrossFit Glory name with me and opened up a gym in Downtown Yuma. It’s a 5,500 sq. ft. building with about 3,000 sq. ft. of workout space. I would never have believed CrossFit Glory would have ended up in Yuma 5 years ago. The gym has had an amazing journey so far with lots of time left to grow and attract new people.

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MEET OUR STAFF

Sean Smith
Owner

I’m originally from Bay City, Michigan and moved to Yuma in 2011 to be a teacher. Met my wife here and decided to stay for good! I began CrossFit the summer before my last year (2008) of collegiate swimming.

After retiring from swimming, I picked up CrossFit to fill the competitive void in my life. I love coaching CrossFit and it brings me as much joy as actually doing the workouts. Motivating people to push their limits and think bigger is a very rewarding experience for me.

Certifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Olympic Lifting
  • CrossFit Gymnastics
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer

Laiza Smith
Co-Owner

Born and raised in Yuma! My husband (Sean) and I opened this gym together in Jan., 2014 through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. While I don’t coach any classes at the gym, you’ll see me around doing office work, designing

 t-shirts, taking pictures, organizing events, and talking with members. Sean and I have a daughter named Valentina who you’ll also see at the gym occasionally.

Chris Horstman
Trainer

In Dec. 2013 I found out about CrossFit and decided to give it a try in my garage with the little equipment I had. After a while I felt like I was missing something by not going to a gym.

So I went looking for one! I had looked at some of the other gyms online but didn’t really see anything I liked. I had heard about a gym downtown that was giving three free workouts and thought, “What the heck, let’s give it a shot”. Because I would not stop talking about CrossFit after those three days, my wife surprised me with a three months membership for our anniversary at CrossFit Glory! I had found my CrossFit home!

CrossFit helps me because it is functional. Those functional exercises make me ready for anything that my job might throw at me on a daily basis.

My favorite workout would be “Murph”! It’s one of those workouts that you just have to find that dark place in your mind and grind through it! Total mental warfare going on in your head! It’s usually during Memorial Day weekend so it makes it that much more special to me with my military background.

Certifications:

  • Defensive Tactics Instructor for Department
  • Firearms Instructor for Department
  • Physical Fitness Instructor for Department
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Matt Panos
Trainer

I’m from Fairfield near the San Francisco Bay Area. I came to Yuma in 1998 while in the Marine Corps where I was active for 12 years.

I first became a CrossFit instructor in 2008. I am a NREMT Certified EMT and currently in school to become a Firefighter. I love strength training and any workout with a barbell!

Certifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • EMT

Luke Abplanalp
Trainer

Self-professed nerd and former Marine, I started CrossFit in 2008. What I really enjoy about CrossFit and CrossFit Glory specifically, is the community.

Getting to see people accomplish their own personal goals is great. Even if I have an off day, I still get to celebrate with someone who did something they never thought they could.

Certifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1

Rob Richardson
Trainer

I am an Arizona native and grew up in Phoenix and I graduated from Camelback High School. I have always been interested in fitness and enjoy pushing myself both physically and mentally.

I have completed three marathons and seven ½ marathons. I have completed several Warrior dashes and a Tough Mudder.

I moved to Yuma in 2008 and was introduced to CrossFit in 2010 and immediately was hooked. My wife and I would follow the workouts that were listed on the CrossFit website but had to modify them in order to complete the workouts at a fitness club. I finally joined a “Box” in August of 2014, and I proudly received my L1 certificate in April of 2015. I am a Physical Fitness Instructor with my department and am always looking for ways to keep in shape and to help encourage others to do the same. The variance of the workouts along with the changing intensity compliments the demands of the law enforcement profession.

Certifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Matt Schweda
Trainer

I’m originally from the suburbs of Chicago. I grew up playing various sports and in high school – football, wrestling and track & field.

I later enlisted in the Marine Corps, which eventually brought me to Yuma in 2002 where I found my purpose, wife, and a bunch of great friends. In 2008, a friend introduced me to CrossFit and the workout destroyed me. Being a avid athlete and someone who stays active, I was hooked. Between my first WOD and 2016, I worked off of crossfit.com at various gyms. I finally found a box to call my home at CrossFit Glory.

After attending for about 10 months I completed my Level 1 Certification and started coaching and continue to enjoy the challenge and enrichment CrossFit and the community brings to my life. My favorite workouts are anything where I can go 100% from the beginning…I hate pacing myself!

Certifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

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