Students Assume Ownership of CrossFit Fayetteville, Mentor U of A Interns

Corey and Alexis Rees
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Corey and Alexis Rees

Corey and Alexis Rees were sophomores at the U of A when the opportunity to buy CrossFit Fayetteville came knocking two years ago.

The married couple put their studies on the back burner for a year to learn the ropes. They're back in class now, muscling through business ownership and coursework. So, what's it like to pursue a degree in Recreation and Sport Management while operating a workout facility?

"Well, it's been easy for us to relate to everything we're learning in class because we get to apply it in real life each day," Alexis Rees said. "We're also able to apply what we're learning at the gym to our classes."

The Rees' gym also serves as a clinical site for interns, so other students at the U of A get hands-on experience there. Students learn about business management, muscle movement, hydration and nutrition.

NWA Weightlifting, led by two CrossFit Fayetteville coaches specializing in Olympic weightlifting, also operates out of the gym.

CrossFit workouts consist of varied functional movements performed at a high intensity. "One of our nine coaches is there to run everyone through the class and to help scale athletes," Rees said. "This allows them to achieve that intensity, but on an individual level."

The Rees had been coaching at the gym for a year when Heidi and Ross Shively asked if they would like to assume ownership.

"They were moving out of state, and we thought it would be really lame to have to look for a new gym," Alexis Rees joked.

The CrossFit Fayetteville location had been in business for nine years when the Rees took over. In December, the gym will celebrate 11 years.

"We're incredibly grateful for this opportunity and for everyone who walks through our doors every day," Rees said. "We have so much fun running CFF and couldn't do it without our coaches and athletes. They help make our community one big family."

The Rees also extend that gratitude to faculty in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation who have offered guidance and patience.

Both Corey and Alexis Rees expect to graduate in December 2022.

This story is the latest in a series called the Dean's Spotlight, featuring outstanding students in the College of Education and Health Professions. Visit COEHP's online magazine, the Colleague, for more news from the six units that make up the College. Visit the Health, Human Performance and Recreation page for more information on COEHP's Recreation and Sport Management degree.


Shannon G. Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


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