// What was your life like prior to your CrossFit training and why did you want to start working with a coach?
My life BCFJ (before CrossFitJulia) was a skinny, weak attempt at happiness. Chasing women I could barely catch, ordering drinks I could hardly lift. A switch at my work had me commuting to Omaha each week, where I feared the inevitable 300-pound weight increase due to all the inflight snacks. A quick trip to a local “Fit2Fight” (Nebraska’s military-style version of CrossFit Training, complete with drill sergeant) gave me the motivation I needed: I would find a kinder, gentler boot camp in Colorado, with a trainer who didn’t use a whip as a reward.
Working with a coach at CFJ has been amazing; the group exercise environment provides the motivation and reinforcement I need, and without all the Kleenex. Trainers offer expert guidance, holding me accountable for my own success through smart and challenging workouts.
// What have been your greatest challenges (physically, mentally, emotionally) since you began your CrossFit Training?
I’ve spent a lifetime being active. From 2000 to 2008, I entered a ton of contests and triathlons (Ironman, Xteira Championships, the Denver-to-Aspen bike ride, Boulder Adventure racing, Elk Mountain, etc., ad nauseum). I also whitewater raft and am an avid back country skier (I own a private ski resort north of Steamboat and one of these days, when I can swing a hammer without fainting, we’ll have a roof). Seriously, during those years, I was physically in the best shape of my life.
Then it all collapsed. In December 2008, I was buried in an avalanche which should’ve killed me; instead, I got lucky. I came out with a shattered pelvis, a broken leg, and contusions like a galaxy of stars. I am now the proud owner of a dead leg, a ‘bear trap’ pelvis (not available in stores), two metal plates and ten screws holding everything together. To say I felt broken is an understatement; I was starting from scratch, taking 12 weeks to start walking again, and balance is still a challenge.
It has taken me awhile to get back to where I’ll never be again, and the process has been discouraging at times. Physical therapy and my own regimens have helped a lot, but CFJ has been pivotal in pushing me forward in my recovery. Increasing my agility and mobility (for example, getting down to a full squat when I don’t have feeling in my foot!) has been a challenge, and I appreciate that CFJ tailors my work outs to suit my needs, while still pushing me to press past the boundaries.
// What have been your greatest successes (physically,mentally or emotionally) since you began? How does your body feel now compared to when you started and WHY?
My greatest success (at this minute) has to be the muscle-up. I tried longingly, painfully and bitterly to achieve these for a year and a half. I suppose Julia couldn’t stand listening to my sobs anymore, and developed a transitional plan for me. Don’t you know, after ten days on her program I did it!
Since starting CFJ 18 months ago, I can safely say that my strength has improved significantly, to the point where there’s a roof on my ski resort in my future.
// How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit transferred over into any other areas of your life?
Instead of chasing a number of women, now I’m only chasing one– but that could be because I’m so exhausted from the CFJ workouts. My agility and mobility have improved markedly, and so have my charm and my strength.
Equally gratifying is the change CFJ has made in other areas of my life. When my girlfriend’s son was battling some depression and the inevitable push by his peers to drink and do drugs, I took him to CFJ, where he immediately fell in love with the program. In no time he became a junior coach, and is now kicking my behind as a full level one CFJ coach. My own kids have benefitted from the programs, too– my daughter, Annie, completed the six-week Evolution Class at 13 years, and my son, Zac, will soon out-rock me in the muscle department.
Heck, these used to be my very own work outs… but I don’t mind. We’re building a strong physical bond, but more importantly, building a strong family bond.
// What are the advantages of CrossFit style training compared to your previous workout styles?
The key thing here is team interaction. Sure, I love biking, running, swimming, back country skiing– but those are all, basically, solitary pursuits. Even spinning, though in a group, is one-dimensional. CFJ offers a change up and I really value that with any workout, leaderboards rank and provide honest feedback. Having that group dynamic is inspiring and helps to build goals by seeing other people’s strengths.
True tale: There was one work out when I was the last guy going, and the team came back to help me, completing burpees with me (Yes, burpees), even after they had already done theirs. That’s motivation, baby. I also like the competition– and I’m looking forward to the day I can ‘best’ those pregnant ladies in my classes.
// What advice can you give to others?
First, avoid the clap. That’s just good advice. Second, there’s no crying in CrossFit. Seriously, I would tell people NOT to look at scale and only look at the board as a motivation, not a detractor! Continue achieving your own personal goals. Scales lie– you’re always going to gain weight when you add muscle– and if you stick with your program you will literally re-sculpt your body. And the board can be a great motivator if you don’t try to beat Gordon’s score.
Most important of all: Avoid injury. Don’t overdo it by lifting more than you should before you should and work on technique. Listen to the coaches and solicit feedback from them, they are our guides. And we love them.