GR gym qualifies for worldwide CrossFit Games finals

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan-based gym has recently qualified for the worldwide CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin. They’re hoping to be named the fittest team in the world.

The team at 8th Day Gym, located on Market Avenue in Grand Rapids, has been training for a combined 40 years. They say this accomplishment has been a long time coming.

“It’s still pretty surreal,” said Ryan Schafer, the head coach at 8th Day Gym. “To reach a goal that you set so long ago, it’s pretty special.”

Schafer says his team lives by the motto “hard work pays off.”

“Being that we’ve been working at it so long, it’s pretty amazing to have it all come together,” said team member Michael Paas.

“It was kind of almost like a bit of a relief too to finally do it,” said Heather Paas, another team member.

The team recently ranked 4th place out of 20 teams at the Granite Games in Minneapolis. The team of four is now moving on to compete at the final CrossFit Games in Madison.

CrossFit is a combination of any type of fitness including gymnastics, conditioning, and more. Michael & Heather Paas don’t just spend their time training, they’re also raising two young sons.

“It takes a lot of help from other people,” said Heather Paas.

“It’s a lot of planning, being flexible, and kind of figuring out week to week,” said Michael Paas.

This team went into the competition as underdogs. They want to send a message to others hoping to follow their dreams.

“Just being patient with the process and doing it the right way, paying attention to details, that all adds up,” said Michael Paas.

“You set a goal, even if it seems a little bit crazy and you continue to work hard day in and day out, good things happen to those who work hard,” said Schafer.

Schafer says the team trains three times a week together in addition to three times individually.

The CrossFit Games take place July 27 through Aug. 1.

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