SeaCoast Crossfit aims to brings confidence
Fitness, charity, and movement for real life: SeaCoast CrossFit’s JENNIFER DEPOTO brings her signature blend of health and wellness to Wilmington’s Southside.
Hailing from the Washington, D.C. area, proximity to the beach and loved ones prompted a mid-pandemic move to Wilmington in 2020. Less than two years later—December 22, 2021– her dream of opening a CrossFit gym came to fruition at 1316 S. Fifth Avenue.
DePoto sees CrossFit as functional movement, tailored to life beyond the gym.
“So much of what we do here can relate to the outside world. It’s like life, but with a barbell,” she says, with a laugh. There are workouts for different body types, fitness goals, and levels, with clients ranging from age 7 to 71.
“Anyone can do this,” she says. “It’s especially beneficial as our bodies age,” she adds. “Once you lose skeletal mass, you need to be in here!”
From soccer, swimming, to division 1 field hockey, DePoto has been an athlete her whole life. She boxed for almost a decade, loving the rough and tumble physicality of the sport. Through it all, bodybuilding has been her happy place. “I did triathlons for four years, then had enough of the endurance stuff,” she says, with a laugh. “I came back to my passion with the barbells.”
Most people jump straight into classes, she says, but there are all different ways to get into the game. SeaCoast offers month-to-month memberships, commitment-free— “we want to be sure it’s for you!” she explains—and a one-month membership includes a free foundational movement series. “It’s a great opportunity to work with one-on-one, and get to know each other.”
One of her main passions is helping women discover, develop, and own their strength.
She encourages clients to move past the stereotype of how women should look, to a place of owning their capacity. Empowerment and independence—beyond yielding physical results, her programs cultivate inner changes.
“A lot of women want to try it, but they have a fear of the concept, or of becoming too bulky,” she says. ‘They ask, ‘Am I allowed to do this? Is it OK?’ ‘Yes, I say. Lift some weights, be strong, and let your body feel beautiful.’”
Another passion involves giving back. Through 911 Promise, which she founded in 2016, DePoto and fellow athletes run from D.C to Ground Zero and D.C. to Shanksville, where Flight 93 went down. Combining sports with fundraising, the nonprofit provides scholarships for children of fallen first responders and the military.
Her commitment to the community now extends to Wilmington, where a portion of gym memberships will facilitate training at-risk youth.
“CrossFit is a unique sport,” she says, of its effects on young lifestyles. “It forces you to be healthy: drink water, eat right, get enough sleep, and let your body rest.”
“I was an at-risk youth myself,” she says, “and sports were my saving grace.”
DePoto’s goal is to make CrossFit a staple in the community, for as many lives as possible.
“I’m so passionate about this!” she says. From grilling to seminars to competitions, building community means having fun. “We have a good time,” she says. “You’re not going to find a more fun gym.”
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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