CrossFit transformed this military vet's body and now he owns a gym in Rigby - East Idaho News
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CrossFit transformed this military vet’s body and now he owns a gym in Rigby

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Dave McMullan opened CrossFit Empyrean on Sept. 1 at 458 North 4000 East in Rigby. Watch him demonstrate some moves in the video player above. | Rett Nelson,

RIGBY – Like many Americans, Dave McMullan of Rigby has always struggled with his weight.

As a U.S. Army veteran, McMullan has always been strong but then he got married, had kids and “ballooned up to 425 pounds.”

“I was like, ‘This is not what I want for my life.’ I had taken a CrossFit class one or two years before this time. A buddy of mine said I should come try it, so I did and I liked it,” McMullan tells

Having a coach work with him in the class reminded him of drill instructors from his military days. Over the course of a year, he changed his diet, attended CrossFit classes religiously five or six days a week and lost 160 pounds in the process.

Thrilled with the positive impact it was having on his life, McMullan decided CrossFit coaching was his life’s calling. He got his coaching certification and eventually opened his own CrossFit gym.

CrossFit Empyrean opened Sept. 1 at 458 North 4000 East in Rigby inside the old Manwaring Cheese building. Since launching the business, McMullan has acquired about 45 members and he’s seen a wide spectrum of people attending classes.

“Most people that come to this gym right now are moms and dads. They’re normal people. You’d probably pass them on the street and you’d never think this mom could deadlift 300 pounds, but she does,” he says. “The brass tax of CrossFit is being able to have a quality of life until you’re old. A lot of our clientele really buys into that.”

The word “empyrean” comes from Greek mythology and refers to the highest heaven, paradise or perfection.

McMullan currently offers six classes a day, three in the morning from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. and three in the evening from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

McMullan’s favorite part of the job is watching his clients gradually progress and improve and he says the benefits of CrossFit go beyond transforming your body.

“It’s also transformative emotionally. It gave me the confidence to go back to school and finish my degree,” he says. “There’s just something about pushing yourself and finding out who you really are. They’re putting everything they can into this and it hurts but at the same time, it’s fun. It’s almost a peek into your soul.”

He’s hoping to continue growing the business and eventually move into a bigger space. He’s excited to help others transform their lives.

Classes are $90 a month per adult or $160 for couples. New customers get a free trial week to try it out. Visit the Facebook page for more information.