Staff Writer

On September 5, Rachael and James O’Donnell opened Grit & Grace, a CrossFit facility at 102 Main Street in Gorham. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program created in California in 2000 and practiced in more than 13,000 affiliated gyms worldwide. Members participate in hour-long classes led by certified instructors, usually three to five times a week. Sessions include aerobic exercises, calisthenics, and Olympic weight-lifting.

Rachael O’Donnell thinks that the benefits of the program will appeal to Gorham residents. “We want to make it comfortable and successful for people who thought they would not want to do it,” she said. The mission of the new company is to provide members with a fun and supportive path to achieving their health and fitness goals.

Rachael learned about CrossFit in 2011 from a Facebook friend. At the time she was looking for support to quit smoking. Within two weeks of joining a beginners CrossFit class in 2012, she had “kicked the habit.” Since then, Rachael and Jim held memberships at several local facilities before becoming instructors at their own CrossFit gym.

Photo courtesy of Rachael O’Donnell

Both O’Donnells are from Buxton. Jim is an engineer who still works at his profession. Rachael is a clinical therapist with a practice in Gorham. She believes that in many ways participating in CrossFit can build confidence, one of the goals of therapy. “CrossFit is for regular people,” she said. “What makes CrossFit special is the community it creates.”

Although a CrossFit membership is more expensive that joining a traditional gym, members do not pay extra for a personal trainer. They “get personal training and a program of workouts designed just for them,” she said. New members take a six-session beginners course. Currently members at Grit & Grace range in age from seventeen to sixty-three. (Members must be at least fourteen years old.)

The program is class-based with some open gym periods for experienced members. On Saturday mornings there is a free team workout for the community. Each regular class starts with a coach led warm-up, skills practice, and concludes with a high intensity “workout of the day,” which varies with each ses- sion. Members may attend as many sessions as they wish. Enthusiastic about her new venture, Rachael said her goal “is to make fitness fun and the best hour of the day.”

Grit & Grace CrossFit is locat-ed at 102 Main St, Unit 6. For more information, visit, or call 207-420-4205.