Matt Rice Photography
Kelli Bender
February 22, 2017 05:30 PM

Muscles don’t come from long naps; if that was the case Maximus would have big biceps under that golden fur.

His owner, Noah Ohlsen, is a different story.  The CrossFit professional spends most of his time at the gym he owns. But reps and runs can get monotonous, so luckily he has Maximus the golden retriever to mix things up. The loyal dog serves as both coach and cheerleader, accompanying Noah to the gym, nipping at his heels during jobs and offering high-fives after tough workouts.

While Max isn’t doing any heavy lifting himself — he finds that the gym mats are the perfect place for a snooze — his presence is a constant encouragement to Noah.

The CrossFitter talked to PEOPLE about how much Max means to him, how he keeps his pooch healthy and easy ways you can include your dog in a workout routine, no weightlifting required.

How did Max come into your life?

I grew up with goldens in my family so when I finally got my own place a few years ago, I knew that was my next move. My girlfriend found an ad for golden puppies on Craigslist; Max was the last one when we went to check him out. The rest was history!

How has Max changed your life?

Man, that guy is incredible. His unconditional love and excitement for people is infectious. He’s pretty obedient (still has his puppy moments) and hangs at the gym with a pretty mellow demeanor most of the day.

How did Max get involved in your workouts?  

The night I got Max, I took him to my CrossFit gym, Peak 360. I had some snatching to do and it took him a very brief period to adjust to the noise and weight dropping, but he’s a pro now. He mostly watches and naps while I train all day, and a couple times a day we’ll run around the field across the street so he can get his workout in! 

Matt Rice Photography

How does he help you stay fit?

He is my “silent” training partner in the sense that he’s ALWAYS at the gym with me so I don’t feel alone, especially if I’m the only one working. Outside the gym, we will take walks in the morning and evening, which is a built-in recovery flush for me! 

And how do you help him stay healthy?

He’s moving ALL day at the gym. Aside from his quick naps, he’s following me around from movement to movement and playing with the other gym pups. Every now and then, Max will end up chasing me around and beating me on a couple set pushes.

What is Max’s favorite part of your workout?

He usually likes when they’re over. Then he can give me love and go back for another nap! 

What reactions do you get from others when they see Max at the gym?

I think people love to see our relationship. He’s always very interested in what I’m doing and when I collapse to the floor at the end of a tough workout he runs over to give me kisses. 

Matt Rice Photography

What advice do you have for others who want to make their pet part of their workout?

First, check with your vet to make sure they can handle the activity you have planned. Second, make sure they are eating quality pet food, like Nulo, for steady energy at the gym or even a good run. Lastly, just stay active! Love them, spend as much time with them as possible and have fun. Most CrossFit gyms are dog friendly, so I highly recommend checking out your local gym with your pup!

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