Matt & Michelle Midnight own CrossFit 1607 in Williamsburg, Virginia’s New Town. The couple, along with Matt Midnight’s brother, Garrett, conceptualized the business from the Midnight’s garage. The trio connected with Scott Grafton of Iron-Bound Gym where he provided them space and “the box” was born. CrossFit enthusiasts and those curious flock from around the area for the intense, but fun workouts.
What is CrossFit?
Michelle Midnight: CrossFit is a combination of weight lifting, gymnastics and mono-structural movements—running, rowing or what people typically do as cardio. The premise of CrossFit is you want to be good at everything and not great at any one thing. So regardless of what challenge that is put in front of you, you can complete it adequately.
Who should do CrossFit?
Michelle Midnight: Anyone can do it. That’s the awesome thing about CrossFit. The workout of the day can be tailored to meet your level of fitness.
What’s up with the CrossFit lingo?
Matt Midnight (laughs): It’s a lot of abbreviations. WOD is workout of the day. Rx is a prescribed workout. We write a workout and then we scale it backwards from there. I’ll write a workout for the strongest and fastest and then we make it appropriate for others. We abbreviate almost everything.
Michelle Midnight: And the box is what we call the gym. When people join, I give them a cheat sheet with all of the abbreviations.
What is the CrossFit culture?
Matt Midnight: It’s getting people together who want to improve their lifestyle—it’s the social component, it’s the fitness component and it’s the nutritional component. The atmosphere comes together to support this. If you’re doing workouts with people and sweating with one another, those barriers get brought down. People here become friends. They start to hang out and it’s really cool to see.
Michelle Midnight: You’ll come to class and see an 18-year-old girl, a 25-year-old guy and a 45-year-old woman and you forget about your differences and you have fun. Everyone works to their potential and everyone supports everyone else.
The Paleo Diet seems synonymous with CrossFit? Is it required?
Matt Midnight: It’s not required at all. Eighty percent, if not more, of improving your performance should be focused on nutrition. It just so happens that Paleo aligns with what we’re doing.
Michelle Midnight: It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle. We choose to eat this way. We eat whole foods, fruits, vegetables and fats. Eating this way, we have more energy; we feel better. If you focus on what you can have, it doesn’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.
CrossFit has a high concentration of women. Why?
Matt Midnight: I feel like women are more likely to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new first. Speaking for me, I know I need some other motivation along the way. I think in general, women are more willing to be open, and then guys follow.
Michelle Midnight: I think women like the group atmosphere. In [the box] it’s social and you chit-chat. We tend to be vocal and get our friends to come because women like to do things in groups, right? It’s a social outlet.
Our female readers will probably want to know: Will CrossFit make them bulky?
Michelle Midnight: No. There is a very prescribed way to lift if you want to get bulked up. We tend to lift heavy weights quickly which does not result in that.
Matt Midnight: I think the only exposure people have to CrossFit is the CrossFit Games and they associate everyone with being that way. Those are pro athletes and they workout for their job. Most people who come here workout 3-5 days a week and you won’t get bulky that way.
Why did you choose to create a CrossFit business?
Matt Midnight: I was trying to figure out what was right for me. I understood exercise philosophy and the movements, but I couldn’t find something to put it all together. My brother started talking to me about CrossFit. I did more research and started doing it in my garage. Then Michelle started doing it with me. My brother would come over and eventually my garage got tight on space. We realized it was fun. I was getting stronger and it was challenging me.
Michelle Midnight: We just loved it so much that we wanted to share it with others. That was a huge motivation, to come to work and do something you are truly excited about and to help people. That’s truly amazing.