“This place is different,” I told my daughter Candice as we left a free session at Mitten Fitness in Dexter last August. She agreed.

Mitten Fitness in Dexter takes a unique approach to physical health. Sure, it’s a workout. The personal attention and encouragement by the trainers, the camaraderie and support by other members, and the immediate physical change are things other gyms talk about, but at Mitten Fitness these things are a vibrant reality.


Everyone is invited to experience Mitten Fitness for themselves Saturday, Sept. 14, with free community classes at 8:00 am, 9:30 am, and 11:00 am as well as chair massages and free physical therapy assessments. It was one of these open house events that drew my daughter, Candice, and I into Mitten Fitness Crossfit two months ago. Our initial intimidation was quickly dispelled as we were caught up in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Now, for the first time in our gym career, we can’t wait for the next session.

Some of the 8:30 a.m. gang just before class begins. The entrance to the gym is in the rear of the building, all the way to the end.

“I love this gym, the people, and the community,” says co-owner Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson. “Mitten Fitness is the place where everyone of all ages and backgrounds can come train to become the best possible versions of themselves. We are here to help in any way we can and that’s what I love about it. You are never alone in your fitness journey here.”

Mitten Fitness began as Crossfit Dexter in June 2011, when original owner Keely Tamer began coaching CrossFit to just 9 people out of her pole barn in Hamburg. CrossFit is often defined as “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” and incorporates a wide variety of exercises including cardio, weightlifting, and gymnastics.

Hutch’s enthusiasm sets the tone for the social aspect of the gym. We have enjoyed the workouts, but what has drawn us into Mitten Fitness is the camaraderie of the members. People were introducing themselves. Being new, my weights are lighter than a lot of the folks, guys and gals. I often modify the exercises often at the suggestion of the trainer. I do fewer reps too, but everyone is encouraging. Nobody is competing. Candice and I appreciate that.

The workouts include a lot of movement with resistance such as walking with the resistance bands. Sounds easy, and it is, but you can feel the effect.

Membership for the new Crossfit gym grew quickly in the early days as more folks caught on. As membership grew, Coach Tamer needed more space to accommodate the eager, local athletes of Crossfit Dexter. In December of 2013, the gym opened a new space on Broad Street in Dexter hosting CrossFit classes six days a week with a staff of six coaches.

As Crossfit Dexter continued to grow from its humble beginnings, more classes, coaches, and diversity were added to the fitness programming. In February 2019, co-owners Joshua Fink and Ken Hutchinson opened a 6000+ sq ft facility at 7275 W. Joy Road and expanded the gym’s offerings under the name Mitten Fitness.

“I started working out at Crossfit Dexter in September 2012 overweight and out of shape,” says co-owner Josh Fink. “I was instantly drawn to the group training atmosphere, the hands-on coaching, and the excitement and diversity of the workouts. When I began in 2012 in had no expectation, that as a 40-something- year-old, I would be doing gymnastics including chest to bar pull-ups and handstand push-ups and that I would be in the best shape of my life and stronger than ever.”

When the chance came, Josh jumped at the chance to join Ken Hutchinson as a co-owner of the gym. Like a lot of the folks involved, he found the support and encouragement of the members irresistible. He wanted to help make that possible for other people. “Nothing is more fulfilling to me than seeing our members work hard to improve their health and fitness and how their lives transform as a result,” he says.

Danielle Wehrman PT DPT, of Paramount Physical Therapy works on gym member Michelle Brasseur who has paced me through a few workouts now.

Candice and I are two months into Crossfit at Mitten Fitness and were recently talking about that transformation. We agreed that we felt a difference after just the first session. In addition to being in a group of regular folks just like us enjoying what we’re doing, we were drawn into the gym by the personal attention and encouragement instructors provide during each workout. We REALLY appreciate the modifications available for the exercises. It really, truly, honestly, and refreshingly is a judgment-free zone. Nobody is competing, except with themselves. I don’t even compete with myself.

For Candice and I, it is a matter of how one right thing leads to the next right thing, a domino effect. Exercise leads to small adjustments in eating which lead to small improvements in self-image and mood which helps relationships. All these small adjustments accumulate over time and life subtly improves.

Candice especially enjoys the camaraderie of other women. “One of the great things about Mitten Fitness is how it empowers and encourages women to be strong,” notes Josh. “One of the best moments we have at the gym is when a mother who hasn’t done a pull up since elementary school gets her first unassisted pull-up after months and months of hard work.”

Sure, Mitten Fitness is a gym with workout classes and programs. There other gyms. But I’m telling you, there are no other gym cultures like this one. All I can tell you is that you have a chance to experience it for yourself free of charge this weekend. Come.

Mitten Fitness has a variety of programs for different levels of interest. The gym offers Endurance, Kettlebell, and Burn (High-Intensity Interval Training – HIIT) classes along with CrossFit classes (as CrossFit Dexter) six days a week, Weightlifting Programming, Fossil Fitness (classes geared toward an older demographic) and classes for middle school and high school athletes.

Personal Training is available individually or in small groups.

Mitten Fitness also hosts Paramount Physical Therapy’s Dexter office with Danielle Wehrman, PT DPT.

Mitten Fitness is having an Open House on September 14, 2019, from 8 am to 1pm – with free community classes at 8:00 am, 9:30 am, and 11:00 am as well as chair massages and free physical therapy assessments.

You can learn more about Mitten Fitness by visiting their website.

2019 Open House Flyer