Gym Spotlight: CrossFit Clintonville

Celebrating 10 years this May, CrossFit Clintonville is a community worthy of recognition. They've made their mark with tremendous charitable efforts for Veterans associations including the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum, National Veterans Memorial and Museum, and The Bruce WOD Organization. The gym in Columbus, Ohio is owned by Patrick Woods, a man whose accumulated an impressive resumé for someone who didn't know what he wanted to do with his life 12 years ago...

Patrick Woods, the mastermind.

Patrick Woods grew up in family of Veterans - his Grandparents fought in World War II and his father served in Vietnam. If it weren't for his athletic prowess he too likely would have served. Woods was recruited by The Ohio State for track & field - a scholarship he couldn't refuse. 4 years later, he walked away with a degree in financial planning and aspirations of making the 2012 Olympic Team. Unfortunately, Woods' track career didn't end the way he hoped. He found himself at a crossroads. He could take a corporate finance job in Nashville, or manage a commercial gym close to home. Naturally, Woods found himself training clients throughout his athletic career, a side gig he found joy in. To gain more knowledge and experience in the field, he opted for the management role.

Shortly after, a coworker told him he should try this thing called 'CrossFit'. And so he did. Woods spent a couple of years doing workouts in the commercial gym and making a 45 minute commute to a box. During this time, he also had the opportunity to train with guru Louie Simmons, Founder of Westwide Barbell. Eventually, Woods decided he wanted to give this thing a shot. He signed the lease and in 2014, CrossFit Clintonville was born.

Culture, Community, and Coaching

You will only feel like a stranger for the first five minutes. You will be greeted and introduced to many members eager to get to know you the moment you walk through CrossFit Clintonville's doors. The community is extremely inviting, inclusive, welcoming, and diverse. Patrick Woods has countless stories of their community elevating the health of it's members: their physical fitness, but also their mental, emotional, and social health. Woods remarks the personal accounts of the gym changing a life for the better are what keeps him going. Often times he's getting told, "the bathroom needs cleaning", "this programming sucks", or "this dumbbell is broken". It reinvigorates his sense of purpose and reinforces his why to hear a moving member testimony.

Have you ever coached an adaptive athlete? Patrick shared an anecdote about the day Dave* (name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual) came into the gym about 4-5 years ago. Dave is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a condition that affects muscle functioning, and was in a wheelchair. He wanted to try out CrossFit. Immediately, Woods said "yes, absolutely, let's do this". Upon showing him around the gym, discussing modifications for movements, Woods inquired about Dave's extent of mobility. Woods eyes widened as Dave stood up, grabbed the pull up bar and performed a strict pull up. Floored, with excitement flickering into expression, Woods knew he was about to embark on a new path in his coaching journey. The following year, Dave completed his first ever Murph. As he walked the final mile, the whole gym rallied behind him until they crossed the finish line. "It was powerful to witness," said Woods.

Woods referred to Clintonville's coaches as the lifeblood of the gym. He believes was blessed with the most genuine,committed, and passionate individuals. They feed off the member's energy and truly want the members to succeed. Woods holds periodic team meetings where the coaches participate in a mock Level 2 (L2) course. If you aren't familiar with the L2 course, it requires coaches to coach other coaches in front of their fellow coaches (say coach 5x fast). Echoing LIFEAID Core Value #9: Strive for continuous improvement instead of perfection, Woods' said, "from a growth and coaching perspective, there's no perfect coach, and you can always learn more and you can always be better...". All in all, it's a fantastic way to peer review, foster consistency, and constantly raise the bar of the coaching level in the gym.

The Evolution of Memorial Day Murph with CrossFit Clintonville

Shortly after the grand opening of CrossFit Clintonville, Memorial Day Weekend arrived, prompting Patrick Woods to incorporate the annual "Murph" workout in honor of fallen NAVY Seal LT Michael P. Murphy. For many in the group, it was their first encounter with this challenging chipper-style workout: a 1-mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, capped off with another mile run. After they completed the intense workout, they raised a toast and pondered the potential of doing something more meaningful next year.

In 2015, Woods devised a plan. They mapped out a route from a member's house, exactly one mile away from the gym. The idea was to commence at the house, run to the gym, perform the volume, and then return home. Each participant contributed a modest registration fee covering necessities like food, water, and compensation for local authorities to secure road closures.


Upon finishing the final mile, they rejoiced in a backyard celebration. This post-workout festivity, endorsed by Woods' friends—a NAVY Seal and Marine—was deemed essential. They asserted, "You need to celebrate... it's exactly what these guys would be doing if they were still here; they would want you to have a good time and live." The backyard bash featured creative elements like a pickup truck bed transformed into a giant ice bath, a mega-sized slip-and-slide, and spirited games like flip cup. In subsequent years, it evolved into a full-fledged event with a live DJ and local sponsorships. Recognizing the need for official structure, Woods established the Clintonville Charitable 501c3 nonprofit, assembling a board and event planning committee.

Over the years, the Clintonville crew raised significant funds for a scholarship fund. Their contributions garnered a heartfelt thank-you letter from Dan Murphy, Michael's father. Unaware of the LT Michael P. Murphy organization's scale at the time, Woods responded with gratitude, inviting Dan to join them. To Woods' astonishment, Dan replied, "We'd love to!"

In 2021, they made it happen. By then, CrossFit Clintonville's Memorial Day Murph event had become a staple. They invited Dan to Ohio, scheduling the event for Labor Day Weekend due to Memorial Day obligations. Nearly 200 people participated, fueled by the presence of Dan, his wife, and the author of Michael's biography. Dan proudly displayed Michael's Medal of Honor and many copies were signed that day. Together, they raised $10,000 for the LT Michael P. Murphy Navy Seal Museum in New York.  While numerous large sponsors and donors bolster the Murphy's organization, it was a remarkable achievement for the Clintonville community. Woods reflected on the surreal experience of dining with the Murphy family, exchanging stories and forging connections.

Following the successful year, they partnered with the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in downtown Columbus. In 2022, they commemorated U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Edwardo Loredo with the "Laredo" hero workout. Woods praised the museum's ambiance, particularly its open rooftop offering a panoramic view of the city skyline. The following year, they honored Murphy by completing Murph at the museum, incorporating a running route through the memorial garden—a serene space that underscores the workout's significance. This year, they'll once again complete Murph on Memorial Day Weekend at the museum.

Proceeds from registration now directly benefit the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, while remaining funds from Clintonville Charitable are channeled into academic scholarships for local high school students. Recipients are chosen through an essay competition. Meanwhile, Woods continues his charitable endeavors through initiatives like The Bruce WOD, which supports Veterans by funding gym memberships to foster camaraderie post-service and avert mental health issues. CrossFit Clintonville remains committed to hosting events in support of important causes, including a Labor Day Weekend event later this year.


Patrick Woods has built something special in Columbus, Ohio. CrossFit Clintonville is a community you can count on and one you should never count out. Celebrating a decade of good people, great causes, and even better memories, Team FITAID is proud to fuel CrossFit Clintonville. If you're visiting the area, it's a surefire bet for a fantastic hour of your day.

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