The Wolf's Den

The Incredible Story of CrossFit Winter Garden and Lee Lovette

Winter Garden CrossFit, The Wolf’s Den, is an extremely well-known gym in our community. With over 20 accolades including Winter Gardens' best gym for the last 6 years, 4 nominations for Orlando Weekly’s best gym, and Southwest Orlando’s best gym for 4 years, owner Lee Lovette has built a legacy in our town.

Born and raised in Key West, FL, Lovette considered that home and never imagined leaving. He had been a police officer for 15 years, was a defensive tactics trainer, and SWAT trainer, and had his dream home with his wife and son.  In 2009 a friend took him to his first CrossFit class and according to him, it totally kicked his butt. After that, he jumped in headfirst and began competing and eventually getting into coaching and programming. In 2016 he came to Winter Garden to visit family and fell in love with the area. After returning home, Lovette couldn’t shake the feeling that he had another calling. “It wasn’t a whisper, it was an echo in my ear to move to Winter Garden and start my own CrossFit,” Lovette said. “God was telling me that this was our path.” Five years away from retiring from the Police department, Lee left everything he had ever known and set off on a new adventure.

In September 2016 Winter Garden CrossFit officially opened. It was a struggle those first few months. Not knowing anyone in the area, business was slow to grow. He and his wife were sacrificing all their time and money into making this dream stay alive. That Christmas, he even sold his truck to make sure he could take care of his wife and son. Then, in February 2017, they won Best New Business in the Winter Garden Rants, Raves, Review page, which now has nearly 50 thousand members. From then on, the gym continued to grow and never stopped.

In 2017 Lovette decided to form a Special Olympic team. After just one month, he took his team of five to the Area Games to compete and swept the competition winning all gold medals and all athletes qualified for the State games. They went on to sweep the State games with all gold medals as well. Since then, the program has completely transformed into 27 Special Olympic athletes and qualifications for the World Games and USA Games. Lovette continued to push the boundaries when he found out there was no CrossFit for this team. Not only did he give all his Special Olympic athletes completely free access to his CrossFit gym, but he and his wife also wrote a special program called Functionally Fit. “Functionally Fit is an entire CrossFit program for enhanced athletes. We call them enhanced because it’s not a disability in my world, they are enhanced,” Lovette explained. They presented their new program to the Special Olympics and got complete support to pioneer this. Since the start of Functionally Fit, they have transformed the health of numerous people. In 2019 Lovette took his athletes to the Atlantic Coast Classic, which is one of the largest CrossFit competitions in the state and they were able to compete in a completely enhanced program. “We have completely broken down the barriers for these athletes,” Lovette said.

Over the years Lovette has built a place of gathering for the community. They have Super Hero Sundays from 8-9:45 am where they honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and from 10-11 am they have a Sober Sunday class free and available to anyone that needs a sanctuary for recovering addicts. During COVID, he wanted the gym to be a place of serenity for people. They turned to all outdoor workouts so they could still gather safely, and held small weekly events for people to just get together. They even gave free memberships to any members who had lost their jobs during COVID. “It was never about the money. It was about being blessed and giving back to others,” Lovette said. “If I wasn’t giving all my success and surrendering to God each day, I wouldn’t be where I'm at. This is His grace and His glory, and I just happen to be living in it.” The Wolf’s Den is so much more than a gym. It’s a place of friendship, community, family, love, and support.

"If I wasn’t giving all my success and surrendering to God each day, I wouldn’t be where I'm at. This is His grace and His glory, and I just happen to be living in it."

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