Industrial Revolution CrossFit *An Interview with Kelly Carse: Founder, Owner, & Coach*

I have a really special interview to share with you today.

A little backstory: I, hesitantly, went to my first CrossFit class in January of 2015 after friends and family insisted I try it. I was really impressed by how welcoming and positive the CrossFit community was. There were people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and body types. The perception I had about CrossFit and the reality were so opposite! I feel thankful for my friends and family that encourage me to try new things — and I encourage you to do the same! Having a coach and community that help you develop the correct fitness techniques and strategies will really skyrocket your results.

If you’ve been curious about CrossFit, go check out Kelly’s gym. There’s no reason not to — your first class is free! Go for the adrenaline and stay for the friendships. Be sure to tell her Winter Moon sent you.

Without further adieu, Kelly Carse!


tell us about Industrial Revolution CrossFit (IRCF)!

Industrial Revolution CrossFit (IRCF) is Rhode Island’s newest CrossFit Box, located in a former Harley Davidson showroom where the locomotive charm and character are still intact. We opened our doors on March 1st of this year. We had 50 members the first month, and as of May 1st, we are now closely approaching 100. We have a staff of 14 seasoned coaches, including myself, whose positive energy and ideas helped design and create IRCF. We embrace inclusivity, so each member feels respected and feels an integral part of the community. We offer 5 CrossFit classes per day and a boot-camp style CrossFit, called Revolution-X, 4 days per week. We have large, beautiful locker rooms for men and women with 2 showers in each one, private lockers, yoga room and a full bar where we will be serving smoothies, protein shakes, and coffee. There is a warm and inviting community space where members can hang out and get to know each other.


what inspired you to start IRCF?

I was inspired by a desire to create something new and different. I wanted to create a CrossFit box full of love, grit, support, good energy, and brand new equipment! So, I joined hands with a group of like-minded CrossFitters who were hungry for change and who had some revolutionary community spirit. When Pawtucket, the home of the Industrial Revolution, turned out to have the perfect space, the name was born: Industrial Revolution CrossFit.


tell us about how you came up with the name IRCF?

The name actually came from one of our coaches, Niki Brazier. There were 6 of us texting back and forth in a fury trying to find a name that captured the spirit of our community. Our name, Industrial Revolution CrossFit, captures and reflects not only our geographical location, but also our revolutionary spirit, and the grit and grandeur, might and mettle of our nation’s industrial revolutions.


what would you say your big vision for IRCF is?

My vision is to maintain a box where athletes can be all that they can be, where athletes are inspired to be the best that they can be, while feeling part of a community that recognizes and supports their quest for fitness and overall wellness. Along with an active nutrition program/component, we will be featuring workshops on gymnastics and other ancillary fitness, health and wellness programs such as yoga and sports massage. We will soon be opening a juice bar, and we look forward to getting outside as the weather improves, as there are ample nearby hills to run, fields to play on, and no doubt we will be firing up some paleo grills as the summer sets in.


when did your passion for fitness and coaching begin? when did you realize you loved CrossFit?

Through the encouragement of one of my sisters (she owns two CrossFit gyms in Massachusetts), I ventured to try it out in January of 2009. I was in the very first foundations class this gym ever had, not realizing at the time the impact this fitness phenomenon would have on me. After 18 months of CrossFitting, I qualified for the first ever Masters Division held at the CrossFit Games in Los Angeles, California. That was the summer of 2010. I finished 6th in the world out 15 participating athletes. In the process, I fell in love not only with the sport, but also with the people within the community. I found that I flourished not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. The community inspired me to go for my Level 1 Certification and become a CrossFit Coach the fall of that year, 2010!


tell us, what inspires you in your personal life and in business?

What inspires me most are stories of women who have overcome incredible odds and have fought back to demand and receive justice. I am a strong believer in justice and empowerment and when I am experiencing hardship, either personally or professionally, I can always look to those stories to garner the strength and determination I need to overcome my own challenge. Their memory and stories also feed my desire to fight for justice where I can, and to create a space where people, especially women, feel empowered and respected.


tell us about the team members that are a part of IRCF?

IRCF has a coaching staff of 14, including myself. All of us are seasoned CrossFitters who take our sport of choice seriously, attending certificate programs and workshops. Our coaches are very involved in the community, and they participate in the decision-making process for the box. We are a very democratic gym, and we have a lot of fun!

if you had to choose one person in your whole life that has inspired you (alive or deceased), who would that be and why?

This person is Coach MacFadden from my Junior High School. He was the boys’ Jr. high school track coach. Novel in its time, he took on a group of us girls when there was no track team in existence for girls. He treated us like we were equals with the boys, and his generous spirit and willingness to go where no one had gone before: starting a girl’s track team, has always warmed my heart and inspired me. He gave so much to his athletes. So much so, that we athletes would work hard and do anything to please him. He encouraged me to continue running in high school where I became the first person ever from Ashland High School to go to the Ohio statewide meet in track! His courage, boldness, and sheer level of activity continue to inspire me to this day!! I can’t remember everything he said to us, but I still remember how he made me feel: empowered and strong!


where do you live now?

I live in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

what place on this planet feels most like home to you?

The place that feels most like home to me is Seattle, Washington.

what made you decide to open IRCF here in Rhode Island?

We searched high and low for the right location. We wanted to be centrally located, with easy highway access, but mostly we wanted a large, safe space that could accommodate all of the programming we envisioned. We wanted a clean building in good shape with lots of amenities and possibilities. My wife, Donna Nesselbush, heard about a gym in Pawtucket that was going out of business. We went to check it out, and voila…it was the perfect building, space and location. Pawtucket is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, so it was completely meant to be.


what would you say is the best business advice you’ve received?

The best business advice I have received is to continue to believe in myself, our mission, and our vision no matter what and do not let anything or anyone deter us from that. If you believe in it strongly enough in your heart and add hard work, you will overcome all the obstacles and doubt you may face.


describe Rhode Island in a few words.

I have come to love Rhode Island for its ethnic diversity, its food, its art and culture scene, and for the richness of its gay community.

what is your favorite season, why?

My favorite season is late summer. I love the heat and feel of August because it reminds me a lot of my childhood and the fun we would have as kids in Ohio!!

what do you enjoy doing on your time off?

I enjoy time with my wife, Donna…going out for dinner, taking a walk on the boulevard, or a weekend away. I love being in her presence.

when do you feel the most creative, alive, and excited?

I feel the most creative, alive, and excited in the early evenings. There’s something magical about that time of the day!


what is one thing you can’t leave your house without?

The one thing I can’t leave my house without is my iPad, as sad as that is. It’s the reality of a business owner.

when do you feel your best?

I feel my best after I’ve just coached a class and witnessed athletes achieving their goals!!


favorite quote.

I don’t have a favorite quote, but I have a favorite poem. It’s “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

what is the best place you’ve ever traveled to?

The best place I’ve ever traveled to was Turkey…an unbelievably gorgeous country with some of the kindest women I’ve ever encountered.

what is one thing you want the world to know about you?

I want the world to know that my strongest virtue is love and my strongest value is justice. I share my love as freely as I can, and I will fight injustice wherever I see it!


what words of advice would you give to someone wanting to start their fitness journey, or are nervous to start CrossFit?

The words of advice I would give someone are to believe in achieving the impossible. I love the Henry Ford quotation, “[w]hether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” CrossFit is about digging deep inside yourself and mastering movements you never thought possible. It’s about reaching a higher level physically, emotionally, mentally and for some, even spiritually. It’s about being a part of a community that believes in you and applauds your achievements.


how can Winter Moon readers start their journey with Industrial Revolution CrossFit?!

You can start your journey with CrossFit at IRCF by going to our website at and signing up for a free intro class. You are also free to stop by our gym at 154 Smithfield Avenue in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and get a look and feel for our place.


what kinds of social media can we follow you on and how can our readers contact you?

You can follow us on our FB page, Industrial Revolution CrossFit and of course, our website at
You can also email me at Kelly [at] IndustrialRevolutionCrossFit [dot] com.
We would love to hear from you!!



// interview + photography by Olivia //

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