How has your life changed both inside and outside the gym since you started at CrossFit Julia?
I first came to CFJ for my initial fitness assessment the day after the Patriots Super Bowl victory in 2015 – almost two years ago to the day. I was at my physical lowest that next morning in every way, weighing in at svelte 230 lbs on my 6′ 2″ frame. My job is a global one and requires a good amount of travel, so a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle were easy to come by.
There are still distinct and painful memories from that first day, trying to run 200 meters with a wall ball above my head and almost losing my breakfast. I felt surprised and embarrassed by my inability to do even pretty basic physical activities that I would have sworn I could handle easily. While in part depressing, this reality furthered my resolve that a change needed to be made in my life.
So after investing in some 1 on 1 training to get the basics, I started attending the 5:30 am classes. In what seemed like no time at all, I went from having no understanding of basic movements, lifts or activities into feeling really comfortable with the challenge of each workout.
While I am by no means an elite athlete, there have been great changes in me over these past two years. While weight loss wasn’t a specific goal, I am 35 pound lighter with much more muscle tone. If you look closely in the right light you can sometimes even see an ab muscle or two! I need less sleep and even eat healthier and have so much more energy than before. My only regret is not starting sooner.
What have been your greatest victories and challenges throughout your journey?
My greatest victories have been a combination of big things like flipping the big tire, going sub-1:30 on a 500m row, and completing 5 straight days of workouts. But they have also been little things that can only be perceived in hindsight over a long period of time, such as the height on my pull-ups, the length of a plank hold or adding another 5 pounds to my best weight lift total.
The greatest challenges for me have been keeping up when I travel, trying to eat well and not hit those walls that we have all experienced where you throw in the towel and return to old habits. The community aspect of CrossFit and the accountability to yourself and others has been a great help to me in this regard. That and burpees. They are just as awful now as they were that first day…
What drives you to keep coming back?
In becoming a part of the CFJ community, my goals have been simple. Get healthy for my family and myself. Get active in life. And have an exercise regimen and gym environment that keeps me coming back each day. Having a strong group of people at my 5:30 am workout time has been so important. People who have encouraged, inspired and competed with me has really made the CFJ experience an exceptional one. Going to work out 3, 4 even 5 days a week has naturally created a consistency in my schedule outside of the gym that has had a positive impact on my family and my work.
Plus, I have a ton of goals I still want to achieve: consistent double-unders. A 400-lb deadlift. A handstand pushup. I will be there again in the morning.
What advice can you give to others?
The hardest part of CrossFit is not the exercise! In fact, the workouts are so well chosen that any of them can be modified to meet the skill level of any individual of any age. The challenge is making the initial commitment to walk in the door, leaving your fears and insecurities there and being open to meeting great people from all walks of life who can be a part of a life-changing experience for you.
For me, I am happier, healthier and feel better than I have before. Why wouldn’t you try it too?
Any other details you would like to share about your experience?
Let’s leave some for my next feature… 🙂