Chase Heckendorn, Ryan Savard and Ben Odeski attended J.L. Long and Woodrow together. They recently started East Dallas CrossFit. Photos by Danny Fulgencio

When Ryan Savard stopped playing soccer a few years ago, he missed the companionship and competitiveness of the workouts. A friend introduced him to CrossFit, and he soon was hooked on the intense workouts. After graduating from the University of Texas with a master’s degree in movement science, he returned to our neighborhood. Two of Savard’s pals from J.L. Long and Woodrow, Ben Odeski and Chase Heckendorn, also were into CrossFit. So the three of them, all 2005 Woodrow grads, decided to pool their savings accounts and open East Dallas CrossFit. The gym opened in a small warehouse behind La Parillada restaurant on Gaston in August 2011. They’re small for a CrossFit gym, and most of their clients have come from word-of-mouth, since their location is not highly visible like some other CrossFit locations. “We’ve got some good members and a cool little community here,” Savard says. Business has been steady enough that the business partners recently signed a five-year lease for the former J.J.’s Beer Wine and Grocery space at 7230 Gaston. At 3,000 square feet, it’s about twice the size of their current space. They recently finished demolition and are renovating the space, which they hope to open this month. East Dallas CrossFit offers a free class every Saturday at 10 a.m. More information is available at

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.