TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - When Matt and Melissa “Mel” York hop on the pull-up bar and start their workout, they are almost completely in sync. Whether they are in the middle of a pull up set or skipping over barbells to crush some burpees, the couple finishes their advanced circuit in unison.
It’s not surprising that the two are so in sync, though — they’ve always been connected through athletics.
As the owners of two Crossfit gyms in Tucson — Crossfit 646 on River Road and another on Silverbell Road — working out is their livelihood. Their typical day consists of teaching group fitness classes and running a business, which they both assume co-ownership of.
But their love story goes well beyond their passion for Crossfit athletics.
Matt and Mel first met at George Mason University, where they both completed their undergraduate degrees in the exercise science program. Matt, then a college baseball athlete, and Mel, a volleyball and track athlete, met through their strength coach.
It was because of their coach that they began training together, but it was in class that Matt and Mel really noticed each other.
“The first time we saw each other, I think we had a kinesiology class together,” Matt said. “Mel was sitting in front of us — me and another guy on the baseball team — we were probably loud and obnoxious in class and Mel was probably annoyed by us.”
Mel knew, when she first saw Matt, that he was someone special.
“I remember seeing Matt turning in a paper, walking up to the front, and I was sort of checking him out,” Mel said. “My friend was like, ‘hey stop looking at him.’”
Through team work outs and college courses, soon enough Matt and Mel’s friendship blossomed into something more. When Matt graduated and took a job in Philadelphia, the couple didn’t reconnect until they were invited to a strength and fitness conference by their old coach.
“From then on it was a semi-long-distance relationship,” Matt said.
Despite Mel living in Washington D.C. and Matt in Philadelphia, the couple made their relationship work. They would take turns traveling back and forth to each other’s cities every other weekend to keep their relationship alive.
“It just kind of made sense,” Mel said. “Then he got a job at American University and we moved in together shortly after that. It was easy, it made sense.”
Then, the two began careers in the same field — both trained college sports teams in strength and conditioning technique. Matt trained student athletes at American University and Mel did the same at Georgetown University.
Soon enough, their work brought them closer not only as athletic professionals but also as partners.
“We just learned a lot from each other,” Mel said. “Through the experiences we had with different athletes and different teams. … Everything started to evolve together and it was really fun working together.”
Their ability to work as a team made their move to Tucson and decision to open a gym that much easier.
However, it wasn’t always easy. They had to discover each other's strengths when it came to running a business as a couple.
“When we started working together, it was finding a balance between who was the boss,” Mel said. “But then, we quickly realized that we are both the bosses and we worked better when we figured out what we were good at.”
Today, Matt plans out the gym’s programming while Mel takes charge of scheduling for Crossfit 646. Helping each other find their places as co-owners, Matt said, improved the couple’s marriage.
“It’s given us more of a life,” he said. “It’s been very fulfilling for us.”
What’s kept them together all these years?
It’s their dedication to each other, each other’s goals and interests and their marriage.
“You only grow apart if you allow yourself to grow apart,” Mel said. “I think just being involved in each other’s life ... to show that interest and to be a part of it because I want to grow with him, I think that’s really important.”