Former Motocross Racer Bryce Gray Foregoes the Racing Life for CrossFit
Bryce Gray is not the normal CrossFit affiliate owner. He hails from a racing family. His grandfather, Johnny Gray, and his father, Shane Gray, both competed in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association). His brothers, Tanner and Taylor, are rising up the NASCAR ranks while competing in the Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series, respectively.
Gray did not stick with the family business. He primarily focused on motocross and moved to South Carolina as a young teen to train, but his time on two wheels concluded after a career-ending injury. Gray moved over to four wheels and spent some time competing in Sprint Cars before testing what is called a Late Model stock car. However, he did not particularly enjoy these experiences.
- “I just wasn’t cut out for it. I enjoy the sport. I think the sport’s sweet,” Gray said. “I love watching my brothers do it and being involved in it. But it just was never for me. I never got any enjoyment or fulfillment out of four wheels.
- “And then I one day just woke up and was like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna go play college football.’ Never played football before my life. So I started training my butt off every single day, and ended up walking on and getting a full ride to Catawba College to play football there.”
Gray only lasted one season at Catawba College before realizing that team sports were not necessarily for him. This left him in an interesting position because he knew that he wanted to compete at something while also running a business. Gray continued to examine his future while working for his family’s race team among other jobs and continuing to do old school, football-style weight training at CrossFit 77.
- “The previous owners of 77 – Paul Klein and Ken Crowder – approached me. One day Paul said, ‘What do you want to do in life?’ And I was like, ‘Well, it’d be cool to own a gym.’ And he said, ‘So why don’t you just buy this one?’”
- That simple question changed the trajectory of Gray’s life. He went from someone that did weightlifting at CrossFit 77 to someone that completed the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program and spent about a year with Klein learning how to be a business owner and all of the other intricacies of running an affiliate.
One of the most important factors was working with coaches that could program and personalize the training for each client, whether they are recovering from a stroke or are going to play in the NFL. Yes, Gray and CrossFit 77 could purchase programming from someone else, but he and Klein both felt it was important to provide this personal touch.
- “CrossFit, it’s a premium price, man. Like, it’s not cheap, right? And if you’re gonna charge that, then I mean that you need to be offering something to justify why you’re charging that.”
- “Anybody can go on Rogue and outfit their gym, their garage gym, by themselves. They can purchase programming and do it on their own. Like, what are you providing that the internet is not providing?
A packed class: The affiliate is located in the heart of NASCAR country and it sits near 23XI Racing, the team co-owned by driver Denny Hamlin and NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, so there are some members of the industry that work with Gray and his staff.
- CrossFit 77 has special programming for the employees of Roush Yates Engines, the company that builds engines for the most successful Ford teams in NASCAR. The affiliate has worked with some drivers spread across the different series, as well as the spotters that tell them where to go on the track.
- This does not mean that CrossFit 77 is only built for those in motorsports. The affiliate has a significant base of clients from all walks of life. They work in different industries and come from wildly different backgrounds, but they all have the same goal of improving their health.
- “It just goes to show that like CrossFit is all encompassing,” Gray said. “Like, it’s great for everybody, honestly. So it’s one of those deals where I mean, you know, we’ve got such a mixture of our client base and everything. It’s pretty cool.”
What about balance? Gray has a packed schedule. He is finishing up a degree in economics, he is married with a very young child, and he runs CrossFit 77. He is also about to launch a new drink company, Cerebellum, with the goal of regenerating neurons and decreasing the recovery time for concussions compared to traditional methods. This leaves very little time for traditional forms of leisure, but Gray isn’t complaining.
- “I am a big believer of my family comes before anything else. When we get up in the morning, I’m with my wife and we’re with our little guy, doing things like that. But as soon as we get a break, it’s putting more focus towards the things that need to be done.”
- “I don’t have any social media. Rarely am I ever just sitting down watching TV or anything like that. We’re constantly doing something. And it’s more so like deliberate focus towards what needs to be done.”
The schedule is grueling, and Gray has lost some sleep while finding balance. He has still embraced his life that revolves around his family and helping people pursue a healthy future. He wouldn’t trade it for anything else, especially considering that he still has the opportunity to train with his brothers.