CrossFit Dunes

CrossFit Dunes

24-hour fitness in Frankfort

By Ben Bates
Current Contributor

Benzie County has a new 24/7 fitness home. CrossFit Dunes, a veteran-co-owned CrossFit gym, is now open in the back of the former Frankfort Building Supply warehouse, which has been fully remodeled—and kept very clean, so no outside shoes, please. 

CrossFit Dunes owners include: Chad and Holly (Mick) Juras (44 and 33, respectively) are husband and wife, Marine Corps veteran and Kindergarten teacher at Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools, and both are CrossFit Level 1 Coaches; as well as Paul Danes (61), who you may remember as one of the co-owners of the Rock’s Landing restaurant at Chimney Corners Resort on Crystal Lake (which The Betsie Current profiled back in 2018). In fact, that is where discussions of CrossFit Dunes first began—in the kitchen of Rock’s Landing, where Holly works as a server during the summers. 

Chad and Holly host coach-led CrossFit classes three times per day, on average, while several other local instructors use the space to teach yoga, Jiu Jitsu, spin, and adult wrestling, to name a few.

You may be asking yourself, “What is CrossFit and why should I be doing it?” 

According to Chad—remember, this guy is a Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine), so you should listen—CrossFit is a high-intensity, functional movement that is constantly varied. A typical class will include all of these things at the core of the workout: functional movements, Olympic lifting, a lot of body-weight workouts, and barbell/dumbbell workouts. Every workout is a little different than the previous workout as the order, repetitions, and timing are varied. This all makes CrossFit different than most circuit-course or hip-type exercises. 

Rarely are the same exercises done over and over again, so the varied routine helps to shock and improve the body—in other words, there is no getting stuck in a rut. It is also done at high intensity, as hard as one can and/or the body allows. So there is no “just going through the motions”; the participant gets something from every workout. 

Each workout builds on the last, so the participant gets a bit stronger, a bit better at cardio, and an improved mental toughness. If done correctly, CrossFit never gets easier, only more intense. 

As the author, and from my own experience, I am going to add in that the coach-led workout is done in a small group setting, for which the benefits of pushing yourself with others and the social aspect of accomplishing something difficult with friends and strangers is immeasurably huge—it is very intense but also very fun and extremely rewarding once finished. 

By the way, do not be scared by the military “drill instructor” image of Chad that you are picturing in your head right now. 

Yes, he does have a large, well-trimmed, “special forces” beard, ripped physique, and the military bearing that you would expect, but this man is kind and one of the best and most passionate instructors that I have seen in my life; one that you will find yourself wanting to please. (He gives lots of positive feedback, by the way). 

What about Holly? 

I have not had the pleasure of being coached by her, yet, though I have worked out alongside her, so for someone who nurses a baby between CrossFit sets—um, yeah, she is a badass, too. (She gave birth to the couple’s newest baby back in March.)

A typical workout is called a WOD, short for “workout of the day.” It is a one-hour, coach-led class with a warm-up; a skill, strength, or core portion; and then the WOD prep, which gets you mentally prepared for the workout, followed by the actual workout. Some days, the WOD may take two minutes, and some days, it may take 30 minutes—it just depends on what the workout is on that particular day. 

The WOD is posted each day on a white board and is also available via the CrossFit Dunes StreamFit app, for anyone who cannot make a coached class in-person or who chooses to work out on their own.

If you are thinking that you have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to do these workouts, well you don’t. In fact, one of the misconceptions about CrossFit is that participants have to be super strong. 

Rather, CrossFit is encouraged for all genders and body types, 13 years and older, with varying levels of ability—and muscle. Most workouts can be scaled based on ability and certain physical limitations in order to help people complete the WOD; the exercises within the WOD also have modifiers. For instance, if full push-ups get too hard, then the participant would go to their knees and complete the push-up that way. 

That is what CrossFit is; now here are a few reasons why someone may choose to come to CrossFit Dunes, compared to what is available elsewhere.

It’s different. CrossFit Dunes has a unique approach to the way that your daily workout is accomplished. For one, the gym is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Members with the CrossFit Dunes SreamFit app on their phone can use it to open the door and workout whenever they want. (Side Note: There are security cameras, so no funny business.)  

There are a variety of classes that are coached, not just CrossFit. There is always someone to guide you and push you. It is almost like having a life coach. If someone goes to another gym, they might go in and not know what to do when it comes to weights, for instance. At CrossFit Dunes, a qualified coach is showing you what to do and making sure that you are doing it correctly—that is especially important for two reasons. First, you can hurt yourself if you use a weight incorrectly. Second, even if you do not injure yourself, you could be using the weight in a way that you are not getting the maximum benefit. 

One of the things that Chad loves about CrossFit—and wants to introduce people to—is the group/social aspect of the workout. When you are in here and working out in a crowd, you can just feel that vibe, that comradery, that extra push that is going to make you better. You want to be the best you can be, and that person working out alongside to your left or right can help motivate you. It is also a lifestyle. You are bettering yourself inside and outside the gym by eating right, drinking right, getting active recovery, getting enough sleep, and stretching outside the gym; you have to do those things in order to get better inside the gym. It is not just coming in, working out, going home, and forgetting about it. One has to continue the effort. 

Next, a testimonial about the power of CrossFit, straight from Marine Chad, may also help you to understand why you may want to give this a try.

“The reason CrossFit came into my life was that I met this individual in the Marine Corp that was in the best shape of anybody I’d ever seen. He could do it all. He could run, he could lift, he could swim, and he had this mental toughness. You could just see it. I asked him what he was doing, because I was always into lifting weights, but my cardio was so-so. When I saw what he could do, I wanted to be like him; I don’t say that about a lot of people. He introduced me to CrossFit and it changed my life. He made me a better Marine. He made me a better person. He made me want to push myself harder. He made me want to get in front of my Marines and show them and teach them what they could be, if they pushed themselves. CrossFit makes you better at everything; it doesn’t make you good at just one thing. It makes you well rounded, diverse, and good in many aspects of life. That’s why CrossFit is different than most workout programs.”  

Next, why and how he and Holly decided to open up a CrossFit gym in Frankfort.

“Well, for one, my wife and I live in Frankfort. We love this community. There’s that small-town vibe, and I love that everyone talks to everybody and helps everybody and supports local business. I felt it before we even talked about doing a CrossFit gym. Then, the more we talked about it, we got so much positive feedback that we knew we needed to try it. The other reason is that there’s nothing like this around—you have to go to Traverse City or Cadillac for the nearest CrossFit gym, and who wants to drive an hour one-way? There’s nothing in Manistee County. Nothing in Benzie County. We felt like it was the right thing to do. I felt that calling that I wanted to share the CrossFit community and my experiences with others.” 

As for this exact location in Frankfort, Chad says:

“We were very fortunate to find an available building with a big, open warehouse space. That’s what we were looking for. CrossFit gyms are typically big, open spaces. Being on the intersection of Main Street and M-22 in Frankfort is amazing. There’s easy access and lots of visibility as many cars drive by every day, especially in the summertime. The Betsie Valley Trail is right out the back door. The trail is going to be killer when it comes to warm weather—we can use it for running and getting down to the beach and doing CrossFit there. This location was really the key to the gym being successful, because it’s just a great spot with so much parking available. We were also fortunate enough to add another 2,000 square feet of space for a total of about 6,800, with another room so that we have the ability to do multiple things at once and run several classes at once.” 

There are many great reasons why someone may want to try CrossFit. To get started with CrossFit Dunes, there are four “on-ramps.” Once you complete the on-ramps, you can attend any of the CrossFit classes. 

The first on-ramp is free—that’s right, FREE! One of the coaches will speak with you about what the workouts entail, what limitations you may have, expectations of yourself, and even what is expected of you as a CrossFit athlete. You will actually do a “workout of the day,” so come ready for that. You will be shown what the gym has to offer, including lockers, shower areas, equipment, and, of course, some CrossFit Dunes merchandise. You will also learn how to schedule classes and what other classes are available. 

In fact, there are many other options on a daily basis, besides CrossFit.

The gym also offers classes in yoga, spin (stationary biking), adult wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, youth wrestling and Jiu Jitsu, Zumba, and cardio drumming, and the owners see potential for more classes to be added. These classes are all taught by a variety of local instructors and are easily scheduled on the CrossFit Dunes StreamFit app. Some of these classes happen at the same time, so if you want to do a CrossFit class but your partner wants to do yoga, that is a great option, too. 

For people who are looking to lose some weight or get healthier through diet, they also have added a nutritionist, Noel Demerly, who can teach about nutrition and help guide people on how they need to eat to hopefully live a better and longer life.

Chad also wants people to know that, with a variety of options, if CrossFit is not for you, just come in and use the gym or do spin classes or yoga—come in and do whatever you want. 

There are no excuses. The workout is always on the board. You can do it anytime, even if you do not make it to an in-person class. He just wants people to walk in and say, “This is my gym.” 

For more information, visit CrossFit Dunes at 1132 Main Street in Frankfort during normal business hours or go to or contact Chad Juras at 231-202-3326. Visit “CrossFit Dunes” on Facebook or @CrossFitDunes on Instagram.

Editor’s Note: This is Big Ben Bates’ first—and maybe last—article for The Betsie Current, after a decade of false promises and no delivery; this should help to hammer home for our readers the idea that the author must really, truly believe in CrossFit Dunes. Bates, himself a veteran of the Air Force and now currently a pilot for United Airlines, found journalism to be harder than he anticipated, so he might just stick to his day job from here on out… though we would welcome him to write for us in the future, if the muse ever strikes him again. 

Full Disclosure: Ben Bates is also the brother of The Betsie Current’s co-owner, Jordan Bates, thus why we can give him a hard time.

Featured Photo Caption: Left to right: Paul Danes, Holly (Mick) Juras, and Chad Juras are co-owners of CrossFit Dunes in Frankfort. This photo was taken at the gym’s “Open House” on January 28, 2023, just weeks before the gym officially opened on February 6 and before Holly gave birth in March to the couple’s newest baby, who she now brings to CroossFit classes—this place is family friendly! Photo courtesy of CrossFit Dunes.

Author Image
Staff Reports

1 thought on “CrossFit Dunes

  1. Love me some Big Ben! Excellent article – hope he keeps up his journalistic pursuits!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.