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Patners in Business & Life – PANHANDLE CROSSFIT


By Olivia Crosby Photography by Nick Trail
It all started with a few posts on online health forums where Adam and Kirstie Cantrell motivated other fitness enthusiasts, “Let’s work out together!” The group started exercising frequently at Bay Memorial Walking Park and, in 2009, it developed into personal training classes. Today, it has evolved into Panhandle CrossFit, a health studio with growing membership numbers located in Panama City. Adam and Kirstie’s gym-family has increased so much, they are now in a 6,500 square feet, climate-controlled facility. They recognize how far they have come and are praising their amazing team of five employees and growing!

“Being in business and working together all the time can be very tough. We get along very well and balance each other.”

Working together being married how does this work for you?
Kirstie: Being in business and working together all the time can be very tough. We get along very well and balance each other. I think that is why it has worked for so long. Adam: The proximity can be challenging at times, but we manage it with clear and concise roles and responsibilities. We try not to get hung up on difficulties, instead, we feel very blessed to be able to work with each other daily.

How did you meet and how long have you been married?
Kirstie: We met through mutual friends in high school and have been together for ten years this past December.

Who does what and how do you share the responsibilities?
Adam: As many small business owners understand, we wear many hats. Kirstie handles most of the day-to-day stuff and acts as general manager. If you call or swing by, you will most likely speak with her. I am responsible for the fitness program design and am the head coach. If you need specific personal training, you will most likely consult with me.

What are your personal goals and professional goals?
Adam: Originally, when we started Panhandle CrossFit, we wanted to create a community of likeminded individuals who place a strong emphasis on their health, fitness, and overall well-being. We know how hard it is to create good habits and make them stick. So, we are able to accomplish our personal and our business goals in one by being surrounded by so many great people looking to improve themselves.

Do you have any children?
Kirstie: In 2013, we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. He has grown into a handsome, polite and helpful young man. He is already working and working out at the gym. This past year we were delighted to find out we have a baby girl on the way.

Does it get tough to be around each other both professionally and personally in your marriage and raising a child?
Adam: Working and living together can definitely be a challenge. We have found that having clear personal and business roles helps our family function without too many headaches. Ultimately, we get along really well and couldn’t be happier.

Do you have any tips for other couples?
Kirstie: Working and living together really isn’t for everyone. It can mean bringing home work-related stress, it can also mean bringing personal stress to work. You truly must enjoy each other’s company and communicate well.

What are your strengths and weaknesses in working together?
Adam: Kirstie brings organizational and management skills. She works well with lists and tasks and keeps everything together. She is like the glue that holds the business together. Her weakness would be that she is a little shy. Being in front of a camera, for example, is not her favorite thing.
Kirstie: Adam is very extroverted. He has such a big personality and loves talking in front of big groups. He brings high energy and technical ‘know-how’ to the gym. He can be unorganized at times, but I am there to balance him out.

As a married couple, do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions?
Kirstie: We always make sure to get a babysitter and spend a nice evening together, whether it’s dinner, a movie, or something else Adam planned for us. We try to make it more about us and not discuss work or the kids. Which, as most parents know, can be challenging.

Successful in their family and their business, Kirstie and Adam make an impact on their gym-community walk through the doors at Panhandle Cross-Fit and you will notice how the entire gym functions as a family. And new members are always welcome! But Kirstie and Adam are humble at the same time, mentioning often how thankful and blessed they are to be able to do what they love with the one they love. Both also have other jobs. Kirstie works as a Realtor for Keller Williams and Adam runs a commercial landscaping company. They have their plates full, but they always put what is important first.

Like Panhandle CrossFit on Facebook and follow them on Instagram, or visit their website at panhandlecrossfit.com

Olivia Crosby

Olivia Crosby is a long-time native of Florida, born and raised in Panama City. Olivia is Congressman Neil Dunn’s Regional Director. She is a member of the Emerald Coast Junior Women’s Club, a member of Bay County Chamber’s Leadership Bay Steering Committee, and a big sister in Big Brothers big sisters program. Prior to joining Dr. Dunn’s team, Olivia has had ten years of experience working in politics and government for the private sector, along with state and local officials. Olivia graduated Florida State University with her Bachelor’s in Political Science and Communications.

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