Andrew Goodie jumped rope during a quick drill.

By Anna Dragovich Lovasco

On Monday and Wednesday at 4 p.m., at Cor City Fitness, a CrossFit-affiliated gym in Detroit, a group of young men and women roll over, swing their kettlebells, and practice Olympic lifts. If this is not your average after school program, this is not the case.

“We are kind of a strength and conditioner program, but we are more than that,” said Helen Taylor, director of Cross City Kids Crossing Fitness. Better health.

“We usually think of fitness as physical,” says Taylor. “We want to look good, but I think we can do things and we will continue to do them as we get older.

Henry McCullough and coach Helen Taylor watched Davin Montgomery’s progress.

Taylor, the fourth-ranked black belt at Techwon Do and who has been training herself and adults and children for more than 22 years in martial arts, is a well-rounded athlete of equal age for 7- to 14-year-olds. Classes work and play.

“It’s a very subtle balance,” Taylor said. “I want it to be fun, but I’m not too strict. I want some structure and some education.”

Twice a week after school, the class begins with Taylor classes and small classes. The children are wrapped around a white board during the day, and they often decide what muscles to use. Closely imitating the traditional CrossFit format, complete warm-up – any aerobic exercise such as a stationary bike combined with weight-bearing exercises such as a Dambel Mut lift, hang-cleaning or push-jerk – follows a workout and a “daily workout”. For children, that 12-minute circuit is a great strength and facilitation exercise. When they hear the screams, they get angry, smile, and grow up.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is safe for children and adolescents to start losing weight after 8 years of age because of the balanced and post-control skills in the age group of 7 to 8 years. Moreover, the proven high frequency and light weight training is safe and does not require full muscle strength to be effective in young people.

“We are very careful about anything we do. You don’t want to lose too much weight as a teenager, but you want kids to get used to exercising, ”said Jeff Winkler, co-founder of Cor City, a financial consultant and Grosse Pointe resident of the gym. With five CrossFit trainers.

Photos by Renee Landuit
Taylor monitors McCulloch’s shape during exercise.

Core City Fitness, in its Detroit neighborhood, just northwest of Corkton and Woodbridge, opened in May 2020 and has grown to 100 members since then. He started offering CrossFit Kids last June.

“My real job is to get all the kids there,” said Winkler, who brought his son Riley, 13, and the boys and girls from the St. Paul Catholic School basketball team he coached. “There are many transitions for sports – to get stronger, to get higher, to run faster. Some of the kids who come are good athletes, but some are not yet organized. They are all at different levels.”

The 14- and 10-year-olds, William and Henry McCullough, enrolled in the third session of the program, and experienced more than physical benefits.

“This is a wonderful thing,” says Lauren McCullou, the children’s mother.

Within a few months, she had seen Henry, the youngest member of the group, make significant progress, saying that he “wanted to lose weight and get better.”

“Henry was really scared of box jumps and learned to deal with his fears and get better,” McCulloch said. “It’s not just about sports. I like how they make them so happy. I am proud of these people. ”

At the end of the exercise last week, the brothers were confronted by a helicopter. William was the last person to stand, but both boys were applauded by their coaches and peers.

Considered as a sport for everyone, CrossFit can be expanded and adjusted, which is why the kids’ diversity works. Focusing on physical activity is intended to improve a person’s daily routine outside of the gym, such as lifting something off the floor or lifting something from his head.

“We teach (children) all CrossFit activities – just as safe, slower and more appropriate for age,” Taylor said. “We want them to learn the standards of things. That’s why I ask them. I want them to understand what they are doing, why and how it benefits them. It encourages getting that information and remembering it and then using it.

Jeffrey Winkler, one of Cor City’s fitness owners, is riding a bicycle while the students are working.

Strict class size – 12 children or less – allows Taylor to monitor everyone’s abilities and closely monitor their safety. She points out that older children can safely gain extra weight, but that does not mean they should. She guides each child according to their individual competence and efficiency.

“I try not to overestimate or underestimate,” says Taylor. “They never do, but most adults never do. My goal is to make children feel good about themselves and feel that they can do anything.

Another part of CrossFit is the community. A strong sense of camaraderie ignites sports activities, and is seen in children’s adaptations, which are full of joy and congratulations. Taylor’s program promotes focus and fair play on individual goals, teaching young people to take action with their peers.

“Helen is really big and honest. “You keep track of your own score at CrossFit and it can be frustrating to see kids finishing in front of their friends. Helen talks to them about loyalty. That’s great. These skills can be used for the rest of their lives.”

Visit For more information.