Philly’s New Trap Door Athletics Makes Fitness An Adventure

Owners Emily Record and Cassie Haynes Grassia are getting locals out of the gym to put their fitness to the test.

Participants at Trap Door's summer camp // Photo by Nat Arem

Participants at Trap Door's summer camp // Photo by Nat Arem

Earlier this week I got wind of a new local company called Trap Door Athletics, an initiative of two CrossFit athletes aimed, as the website states, at taking “fitness outside the box.” If you’ve ever done CrossFit, you know “box” is the word CrossFitters use to describe their gyms. So this is fitness outside the gym. Interesting. Also: fun.

So I called up the trainers behind the company, Emily Record and Cassie Haynes Grassia, to hear more about what they’re all about, how they’re actually fun-ifying workouts (trust me—I was skeptical, too), and what events they have coming up. Read on to see what they had to say—or, check out their free FlashWOD at the Art Museum tomorrow evening at 6:30 to try it out for yourself.

When did you guys launch?

Cassie: We started in March of this year. We’re both athletes—we train and compete in CrossFit. We started Trap Door because we wanted to provide athletes of all abilities adventure-fitness opportunities outside of the the four walls of a gym. We train hard with some really amazing athletes, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that you’re training for activities that aren’t confined to a gym. So we provide people with opportunities to test their athletics outside of the facility.

Opportunities like …

Cassie: It’s all event-based. We take groups of people to do different things. Like, for example, we do these FlashWODs around Philadelphia every month, sort of pop-up workouts in places like Rittenhouse or LOVE Park. The aim of FlashWODs is to provide people with a fun, free opportunity to get outside and do something. People will stop and be like, What is this? What are you doing? We’ll encourage them to jump in and join us. We’ve had groups as big as 60 people.

Emily: The workouts are never longer than half an hour. The idea is to get people who like working out to get together and be a little more social. We never tell exactly what a workout will be ahead of time—part of it is a surprise—but at tomorrow’s you can expect to use the steps and do various body-weight movements. The workouts are scalable to any fitness level.

What other fitness excursions do you organize?

Cassie: We take groups of people rock climbing, to Parkour workshops or cirque aerial training with gymnasts. We look for opportunities people wouldn’t think to seek out on their own and apply their fitness. We do day excursions and multi-day excursions.

Neat. What kind of multi-day trips have you done?

Cassie: A couple weeks ago we took a group of 20 athletes to summer camp. We went to Indian Head Camp in the Poconos for a long weekend. This one happened to be all CrossFit athletes, so we could tailor the week to CrossFit-specific workshops—things like Olympic-lifting seminars and gymnastics workshops. But then we also did a big game of capture the flag at night. And we had them doing all sorts of hilarious things like a three-part rowing relay. We had a blast.

How did you come up with the idea of “adventure fitness”?

Cassie: It was between this and a food truck. Emily’s still a big fan of the food truck. We have totally different backgrounds in terms of our experience in sports and professional experience. Mine training is in law and public health, and Emily’s is software engineering. But we both have this passion for CrossFit and training and travel. We noticed that other sports have their active-fitness opportunities—you can do cycling vacations and yoga retreats—but nothing for CrossFit or really general athletes. So, we wanted to fill that niche.

What events do you have coming up?

Cassie: Well, the FlashWOD tomorrow, of course. And then in November we’re doing a weekend in Lancaster we’re calling, “Move Primal, Eat Primal.” It will include a daylong workshop in MovNat, so we’re working with a MovNat-certified instructor who will teach us how to move naturally in our environment and use things around us for fitness, like shouldering logs, carrying stones, that sort of thing. The second part of the weekend will focus on eating primally. We’ll have a cooking demo that’ll focus on different cuts of meat, what to look for when buying meat and meat preparation, followed by a plated meal with the recipes.

You guys obviously love CrossFit. For someone who’s never done it, what can they expect?

Cassie: I think CrossFit is fitness for people with attention problems. It’s constantly varied. It’s the sport of being able to do lots of different things, and there’s something in it for everyone. So one person might excel at one part of CrossFit but another person will rock another aspect, and you can learn from each other. You can be a small woman who’s done gymnastics her entire life and it’s going to be challenging in different ways than for someone like me or Emily. CrossFit is everybody’s game.