Upstate Nevada is more than a workout center for CrossFit in Reno. With a mission to give back to the community, this nonprofit organization provides free and reduced gym memberships to everyday heroes in the Northern Nevada region. Why? Because heroes need help, too. And what better way to help than providing them with a supportive community and opportunities to live healthier lifestyles? 

Upstate’s Everyday Hero Program serves community members of all ages and abilities, including active and retired military personnel, first responders, teachers, nurses, and children and adults with physical or cognitive impairments. 

It also offers memberships for individuals who aren’t eligible for the Everyday Hero Program. Their monthly fees help cover and sustain the program. With this approach, Upstate dedicates its services to helping individuals from diverse backgrounds and professions overcome challenges. 

Upstate is a place for community members to escape and connect with people over shared experiences, said Sarah Hughes, a REALTOR at Dickson Realty and a board member of Upstate Nevada. 

“We’re bringing it back to the basics of connecting with people,” Hughes said. “We want to provide fitness to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access.” 

We asked her to share what she loves most about giving back to the community and what’s next for the future of CrossFit in Reno. We also talked to Greig Jameson, the founder, and president of Upstate, who shared what inspired him to help everyday heroes and community members combat adversity. If you want to learn more about what Upstate is doing for the community, keep reading. 

How Upstate Nevada Is Giving Back to Everyday Heroes With Crossfit in Reno 

It’s true—not all heroes wear capes. You can find everyday heroes doing CrossFit in Reno, wearing workout clothes and tennis shoes. You can also find them behind the chalkboard of a classroom, driving in an ambulance, or serving food at a local eatery.


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Everyday heroes are community members within essential industries that must show up to their profession with courage, strength, and ingenuity, regardless of the circumstances. This is why many frontline workers suffer from mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other stress-related disorders. And since the pandemic started, this worldwide issue has gotten worse

Jameson has friends and family members working on the frontlines and talked about the weight they carry on their shoulders. 

“I have paramedic friends who see some crazy, life-altering stuff,” Jameson said. “Working out is the perfect stress reliever for them.”

First responders and frontline workers often experience more negative and challenging experiences than the average person does—this can be true for people with physical and cognitive impairments, he explained. 

“My mother was a special education teacher,” Jameson said. “I basically grew up in her classroom, and I’ve always wanted to give back to the community but never knew how. But then one day, it clicked.”

To offset the negative, Greig founded Upstate Nevada to provide a support network for community members that need it the most. 

Mental Health Comes First 

With mental health as its number one priority, Upstate provides a space for community members to come together and connect over shared experiences. 

“Mental health is first. Physical fitness is second,” Jameson said. 

Upstate has hosted several community talks on mental health for members to attend. Jameson and Hughes talked about the first, impactful speech of a U.S. Army Chaplain. 

“He talked about living life the way you want to die,” Jameson said. 

“It was amazing,” Hughes added. 

Jameson explained that many people don’t understand the stressors that first responders and frontline workers experience. He spoke about the adverse exposures that law enforcement officers experience, leading to higher rates of suicide and divorce

“Police officers have more family and personal problems,” Jameson said. “We want to help provide them with a positive environment to release stress.” 

Upstate also offers free memberships to veterans struggling with addiction to visit the gym three days per week through the VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than one in 10 veterans struggle with substance use disorder. 

Turning Values Into Action


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Since exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression, Jameson and Hughes believe that simple lifestyle changes can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. But starting a consistent workout routine isn’t always easy.

“The hardest thing you’re going to do is walk through the doors,” Jameson said. “If you can get past that, then everything else will be fine.” 

Hughes spoke more about the mentality of people who want to get in shape but may be intimidated by the gym atmosphere. 

“People often say that they need to get in shape to start working out,” Hughes said. “They want to prepare themselves.” 

“You don’t need to prepare yourself to learn a new skill,” Hughes added. “You take a pottery class to learn a new skill, and the same goes for working out.” 

Upstate follows the CrossFit methodology, and every workout is designed to help members succeed, improve their fitness and move them towards their goals. Upstate upholds a solid commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion following this methodology. Upstate’s coaches are certified in Level 1 CrossFit, and many are also qualified in Adaptive Training and CrossFit Kids courses. 

If you’ve ever been unwelcome or felt out-of-place in a gym, then it probably wasn’t a CrossFit gym, Jameson explained. The CrossFit community welcomes people just starting and people who have trained for years—cliquishness is not tolerated. 

To ensure CrossFit values are taken into action, Jameson created gym rules for team and community members to follow. 

“The first rule is high-fiving after every workout,” Jameson said. “The second rule is when a new member walks into the gym, our team members will greet and welcome them.” 

Upstate has two full-time coaches and a part-time staff whose main priority is to talk to members when they seem like they’re having a bad day. 

“We want you to know that you’re not alone,” Jameson said. “We’re all in this together.” 

The third rule at Upstate is no cellphone use. 

“We’re not here to take videos of ourselves working out,” Jameson said. “We’re here to work out and be a community.”

Smartphones have become a nuisance in gyms across the country, Jameson explained. He is the first to tell someone to put their phone away while working out. 

“If I see the classic thumb scroll, then I’ll remind them of the no cellphone rule,” Jameson said. “But, if they’re on-call for work, then it’s OK for them to step outside.” 

The Future of Upstate Nevada Crossfit in Reno


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With money and transportation as a concern, Hughes spoke about the possibility of getting an Upstate van in the future. She also shared how community members can get more involved with events and donorship opportunities. With an annual golf tournament, Upstate will hold its most significant event at LakeRidge Golf Course this year. 

“Community members can donate, enter the raffle for prizes, and play a round of golf,” Hughes said. “It’s a great way to get the word out about the gym.” 

Upstate is also planning its third-anniversary party for staff and members to enjoy food and drinks together. 

“Sounds like it will be ‘80s prom-themed,” Jameson said. “We want it to be a big party for members to have fun and unwind from the holidays.” 

After three years in business, Jameson and Hughes are also celebrating the success of their vision for a community-based gym coming to life. Hughes spoke about starting from square one and figuring out how to open a nonprofit organization. 

“We didn’t know where to start or what we were doing at first,” she said. 

After figuring out the logistics, their team of passionate individuals successfully opened a nonprofit for CrossFit in Reno. But shortly after, the COVID-19 shutdown largely impacted the fitness industry, and Upstate needs continued community support. 

“We operate at a zero balance every year,” Jameson said. “With the more funding we receive, the more coaching and free memberships we can provide.” 

Upstate has plans to expand from a 250-person gym to a 500-person gym with about 20% to 30% free memberships to adaptive athletes and everyday heroes. 

“We’re giving back to the community that gives back to the community,” Greig said.

At Dickson Realty, we are proud of our team of neighborhood experts who are willing to help enrich the lives of community members. To learn more about living in Northern Nevada—and how organizations like Upstate Nevada CrossFit in Reno are people live healthier—contact one of our neighborhood experts today.