Way up in northern Michigan, right on the coast of Lake Michigan, lies Traverse City. Known for its scenic beaches, wine, and most of all, locally grown and world famous cherries, it is a local gem that drives in tourists during the summer months, changing the population from about 50,000, to almost 500,000 overnight. While tourism is its main attraction, there is a growing love in the area for strength sports.

Because of its scenic layout, Traverse City has traditionally been home to many endurance athletes, runners and bikers alike. But a small group of people at Cold Front CrossFit have teamed up with Traverse City Barbell Club and Bulky Boys Barbell Club to create a place for people wanting to try strongman and push themselves to the limits.

Cold Front owner, Trevor Van Timmeren and his wife, Dempsey, have developed a small group of great coaches who are getting people into CrossFit, weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman. Nick Murray, who is a strongman athlete himself, helped bring strongman into Cold Front by merging them with Traverse City and Bulky Boys Barbell clubs. Now, they have a large area with great equipment for anyone looking to be the best strength athlete they can be.

While I was up there, they were holding a seminar with speakers like Kalle Beck, a long time strength athlete and founder of Starting Strongman, Mike Caruso, a two-time World’s Strongest Man competitor and strongman coach, and Steve Barkley, a long time strongman competitor, promoter, and an integral part of United States Strongman.

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At the seminar, the presenters talked about the history of strongman, implements, programming, and nutrition. On day one, attendees got to listen to the presenters talk about these things in detail, ask questions, and served as a way to network. On day two, all the attendees had hands on coaching and training on implements such as the yoke, log, farmers, and deadlift. Mike, Kalle, and Steve went very in depth with technical aspects of how to correctly train and perform your best on these implements.

Nick Murray, who organized this weekend had this to say about Cold Front:

“Strongman is relatively new to Traverse City. In the past, strength athletes in Traverse City have had to cordon off sections of commercial gyms and store our equipment in back rooms and closets for years. Cold Front CrossFit has been a Godsend to the Strength Sport community in the Northern Michigan area. Trevor and Dempsey Van Timmeren, the owners of Cold Front are set on creating a performance and strength-centric gym, the first only one of its kind in the area. Myself, and a few others (George Bullard, Hilary Turner and Mike Chisolm) make up a local strongman team called the Traverse City Bulky Boys, and once we found that we be would losing our corner at the local gym due to it being shut down, we were on a mission to find a new place to train. We all had contests coming up, and we needed to train. Luckily, Trevor and Dempsey opened their doors to us after just one meeting. They loved what we (The Bulky Boys) stood for and that we just wanted to help grow the strength sports in Traverse City. Their philosophy is in line with ours, that it’s all about building a great community while learning and growing stronger together.

Cold Front has been more than generous and accommodating with us and Strongman as a whole, especially being a foreign sport to them coming into their gym with all of our equipment (it’s not even stored in a closet or back room). All of us were welcomed with open arms and we have a great relationship with not just the coaches, but the members there as well. This seminar was just the beginning and you will be seeing a lot more coming from Cold Front Crossfit."

It’s great to see small gyms like Cold Front CrossFit welcoming strongman into their doors, and going out of their way to bring in top notch education for their members. It will be great to see them grow, and to see more top notch athletes come out of Michigan, which has a long history of producing some of the best strongman athletes in the country. If you’re ever there, make sure to top in and get a training session at Cold Front, and then enjoy the town (especially in the summer).

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