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I came into the box after driving by for several months watching people running and carrying stuff and pushing stuff around the parking lot. I was 57 years old and close to 250 pounds and would get winded walking up the driveway. I was noticing people of all age groups doing this stuff. So one day last August I stopped by and asked Coach Rob “Do you help fat people lose weight?” Rob said we have all kinds of people with varying levels of fitness and the next class was 6:30 a.m. the next morning. I showed up and part of our warm up was to run 400 meters. Of course I ran (kind of sort of) to the 400-meter mark instead of the 200 meter mark. I think Rob thought I had left.
The next time I came in to the box Coach Juan came up to me and introduced himself. I did not know he was a coach at the time, just somebody working out. I thought the people were actually nice here? Not only were all the coaches extremely helpful and made the workout fun; I was extremely impressed with how encouraging all of the athletes were at the box. Travis comes to mind as giving good advice and encouragement. The last time I had been to a gym in the 90’s, my experience was mostly jerks walking around looking at themselves in the mirror. Coach Nicki was extremely helpful those first few weeks and still is.
Most of last fall I spent gradually getting my health back and actually started losing weight! I could always count on Scott S. and Todd to be in my 6:30 am class and pushing me and encouraging me. I then screwed up my knee. I thought I was back on the couch for several months. Blair told me to come back and they would take care of me. Whatever the WOD or warm up was, whoever the coach was that day, they would instruct me how to modify my workout not to hurt my knee. Gradually my knee got better and my workouts became more and more intense. I was gradually dropping weight.
To sum this up, I now weigh 197 pounds, dropped 4 pants sizes and went from a 46 suit jacket to a 42 and my fitness and outlook on life has greatly improved! I cannot thank Blair, Rob, Juan, Nicki, Rick and the rest of the athletes and coaches at Anywhere Fit enough. Thank you.
From Dec. 2007 to Dec. 2011, I experienced life events that chipped away at my health – physically, mentally and emotionally. I did not have a strong enough foundation to weather the storm. It was a slow grind (like a long WOD). Any one event not necessarily one to put me off track so intensely but all put together they took their toll. The next thing I knew I was depressed, out of shape and heavier than I had ever been in my life. In March 2012, on the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing, I decided that I needed to get my life back, to start living again. That was how I was going to honor him.
I always told my two daughters that in order to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. Think of the safety spiel on an airplane. When the oxygen mask is released, you are told to put it on yourself first, then assist others around you. I wanted to raise strong, happy young women so I needed to be that example for them. My oldest was heading off to college and my youngest would follow soon after. When they were gone, what was I going to do next? What did I want to do with my life?
If I met someone new and they said, “What do you do for fun?”, what would I say? I looked for ways to be happy, simple things, what was interesting to me, reconnected with friends and family, how can I do something better/new today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year? I put myself first and that was okay.
In March 2013 (year 2 since Dad’s passing), I was feeling more adventurous about what I wanted to do to celebrate being alive. People in my family generally live a long, healthy life. Would I admire them from the sidelines or get up and get moving myself? When I looked in the mirror, I thought I looked okay. I stayed away from the camera though. When I did see pictures of myself, I was in denial about my appearance. In May, I saw a picture of myself and it hit me – I was a “Biggest Loser” contestant! That same month, a good friend suffered a “cardiac event”. He is only 2 months older than me. What would happen to my girls if that happened to me? My friend had actually already started CrossFit about 6 months prior and another coworker was doing Kaia fit. They would talk about their workouts each day, comparing “war stories”. I admired their excitement. I asked my friend where he worked out. Since I live 30 minutes from him, he told me about a box closer to my home, a recommendation from his box owner. It was Crossfit Anywhere.
I drove by after hours to take a look. My daughters said, “Is that the place, Mom? The one with the guy bending over in pain as their logo?” Yep, that was it. On Monday after work, I drove from my office to CFA to see if I could make it to class in time. I was greeted by Denny Wilson. He suggested I go home, change and come back for the 6:30 Anywhere X class.
I had no idea what I was in for, blissfully unaware I like to say. Dominic Brissey was my coach for class. That first workout was 100 burpees, 1000m row and 1 mile run. My head said, “Sure, you’ve got this” but my body said, “Um, no way!” Dom scaled the workout so that I didn’t die on the spot based on the time it was taking me to perform this fabulous combination of movements. I was last to finish the WOD but I wasn’t made to feel bad about that. My level of fitness was obvious but I instantly felt safe with the coaches and supported by the other athletes in class. I had so much fun I came back the next day. It wasn’t until the second day after that first workout that it finally hit me. Pain. I couldn’t move or bend my arms to even touch my face. But crossfit was all I could talk about with my daughters and coworkers. Can you believe what I did?! I took a few days off, rolled out my arms with a tennis ball and made plans for the next week’s workout schedule. I had to go on a business trip and I didn’t want to lose any momentum while I was traveling. Better yet, I looked for a box near my hotel and meetings, contacted them and made arrangements to visit. Who the heck was I? I had never done anything like this before.
It was August 2013. I was ready to make a change and have not looked back since.
My goal was to lose 60 pounds in one year. I figured 5 pounds a month was attainable. I started working out 2-3 days per week and slightly changing my diet (removing pasta, sweets, snacks, fast food, alcohol most of the time). I was so excited about how I felt after a WOD I talked about it to anyone who would listen (or pretend to). I thought that as I worked out I would be able to work away a bad day by thinking about it – like a “take that” attitude. But instead I thought of nothing else but the WOD. How was I going to get through this one today? How far would my coaches push me, how far would I push myself? I didn’t know any different when certain WODs that I had never done were posted so I just showed up and did what I was told. I left feeling strong, empowered and in control of what kind of day I wanted it to be. I learned to not look at others and compare myself to their capabilities but to look at myself and compete with what I could do today vs yesterday. When I felt like I couldn’t do more, I listened to everyone around tell me I could and eventually believed that I could do anything that I set my mind to. I agreed with Crossfit Anywhere’s philosophy that fitness can be attained anywhere and was applicable to real life. It was not just inside the box. I found myself comparing day-to-day activities (carrying a heavy awkward box up stairs) to movements or WODs I was doing (1 mile uphill object carry). I looked for ways to be active when I wasn’t doing a WOD or if I missed class for some reason.
By mid-July 2014, I had passed my weight loss goal (66 lbs.), worked out 4-5 days per week plus yoga, revamped my eating habits to be cleaner, cooking more at home, educating myself on what to eat to meet nutritional goals. My body shape completely changed and now I had to buy a whole new wardrobe! I was going on vacation with family that hadn’t seen me in a while. I made sure that I made time to be active and was even able to get a cousin to join me at a local box. Turns out, the owner is a friend of Blair’s and had gone on an anywherefit trip to Iceland. We took a picture together which I shared with my oldest daughter at school now living 6 hours away from me. She was so shocked at my transformation she posted a before and after picture. Seeing myself side by side in those pictures was amazing. The outpouring of support from my crossfit family for my accomplishment was incredible. I never thought about stopping this way of living, it was now my lifestyle, but it made me think that I could keep going and it wasn’t beyond possible. I just had to figure out what I wanted to do with the energy.
In Dec. 2014 I participated in a 1,000 burpee challenge to be performed over the month. I considered it a mental challenge and performed 575 in 60 minutes, stopping only because my coach asked me to. I was also voted by my coaches as the most physically transformed over the year. I feel blessed to have these people in my life. Crossfit is a community, my family. No matter where you go, most other crossfitters feel the same way. It takes a village to raise a crossfitter. I don’t think I would be where I am today without this experience. I’ve lost a total of 75 pounds and am in the best shape of my life thus far. The physical me is a reflection of how strong I feel on the inside and vice versa. They are all related, work hand in hand, balance each other.
In 3 months I will have been crossfitting for 2 years. I have completed 2 Opens, jumping in rank from 1942 in 2014 to 426 in 2015 in my age division worldwide. My goal is to qualify for Masters Regionals in 2016. I have competed in 2 other local competitions and will be traveling to Cyprus in June 2015 to compete internationally in the Maters division. In August 2015, I will join 30 others and crossfit through Greece for fun! I plan on getting my Level 1 coaching certification and start sharing my passion with others that are ready to make a change in their life. Family, friends and strangers tell me how I have inspired them to be more active, to live healthier, to be the best version of themselves they can be. That is the ultimate compliment. I was just trying to do that for myself. And it all started with a few burpees…
on the differences between his experience at his original CrossFit gym and CrossFit Anywhere.
#1 I started there in Sept 2011. I passed out of his foundations class after just 1 class and went onto the on ramp and into the general classes. I progressed fairly quickly and knew by the February of the new year I needed to do more volume as I was finishing on the leader board in all the met cons, but my strength lacked. I asked to do the competition team programming. It turned into a big ordeal where he was resistant to it. Finally I had to tell him I was going to quit the gym so I could go find a place that I could do more. At this point he finally agreed to let me do the advanced programming. I flourished.
At CrossFit Anywhere, I was told ANYONE could do the level 2 competition programming that had interest. It wasn’t some exclusive club within a club, it was truly inclusive and was based on your desire to do more, to compete. It didn’t matter if you had muscle ups, were 50 yrs old, or whatever. Blair welcomed you to do what you could do.
#2 Usually in CF, you go at a certain time and so you see other members that go at that time. You end up forming a community within a community as you get to know some folks better than others. I got to know Cory and Alex very well and we trained together a lot. I started to see 2 things go on. First, Alex was being treated rudely on a regular basis by the ownership and one of their longtime members. It was weird. Cory and I were kind of baffled at how blatant they were dissing him. Secondly, since we were doing the competition programming, we got very little coaching since the coaches were with the main class. That’s fine but all of thesudden we were being told that helping others was discouraged unless you were a coach?? So not only were we told that we weren’t allowed to help people (who were clearly in need of help since a coach can only be in one place at a time), but now we weren’t even really supposed to help each other??
At CFA, Blair encourages us to help each other, get to know each other, and work as a real team. It was a huge contrast.
#3 2 of the coaches left this gym and came to CFA, other members have come to CFA (I’m sure that they get members from other boxes that go there too) but in the end, I’ve had conversations with folks and ultimately it wasn’t the programming that drove folks away (although I will touch on that in a second), it was the management’s handling of people and policies. And the facility is pretty nice compared to many of the boxes I’ve visited. A problem was that you rarely saw the owners unless you came at night. Barring that, you might never get to see them. As a business owner for the last 19 years, I can tell you there is a huge difference between on site accessible owners 8+ hours a day and what can be considered absentee owners that are there only an hour or 2 a day.
At CFA, Blair is there EVERYDAY and is always very accessible. His gym is ridiculously clean for a CF box. It’s actually kind of a joke with all of us, that its too clean to be a CF gym. His programming accounts for atlas stones, gymnastics, air dynes, and has lanes and lanes of Oly platforms. Ultimately what we thought was good programming/facilities turned out to actually have some holes in it once we showed up at CFA. The 1st week we were at CFA, Jason andBlair coached Alex and Cory 1-on-1 in their Oly lifts and Cory PR’d. The next week Cory PR’d his deadlift cuz his setup and been off the whole time.
So in the end, yes there are differences in the 2 places. Yes, I didn’t like how my friend Alex was treated. But I thought the place was a good gym and I didn’t really have a problem with it per say. But once I went to CFA, I saw what the next level looked like. Did I disparage the owners or lie or try to steal members? No. I just told folks the truth as you see above. That I had opinions as stated. But if the owners can’t look at themselves as a cause of trainers and members leaving and instead cast aspersions on those that leave, that’s just cognitive dissonance to help them sleep better.
Every business has a culture. I’m allowed to appreciate one over another. It doesn’t make the one I don’t prefer bad. It just makes the one I do prefer better (in my opinion).
on the idea that crossfit makes women “bulky”.
I’ve just had my 1st anniversary at crossfit. I’m 74 yrs old, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 71 yrs of age. I consulted with a dietician about wt loss & I lost about 10 lbs & my Dr. told me I had lost about 30% of my muscle…not good for diabetes… Muscles have a lot to do with sugar uptake & insulin use. I like crossfit because it has brought my muscles to a better place. Do I look it..NO!! I have lost 50 pds since I’ve been at crossfit in one year!!! Those muscles have NOT been allowed to atrophy!! And that has helpedy diabetes. Along the way I’ve been diagnosed with inoperable grade 4 pancreatic adenocarcinoma & I have missed going to crossfit for 4 mos. it’s done a lot to mrote weakness & so last week I went BACK to crossfit & I can already FEEL the difference!! The coaches we have are TERRIFIC!!! They work WITH you. I’m on chemo & my blood picture is GREAT… The oncology team told me, “on paper you look GREAT” & I told them ,”in person I don’t look too bad either!!”
on how much progress she’s made in a short time.
Two years ago today I walked into my first CrossFit class, looked at the whiteboard and thought: What are cleans? And I’ll never ever do three rounds of 15 pullups. Are they nuts?!… I was totally intimidated, but felt completely welcomed by Blair and that 9am class. In the two years since, I’ve made so many lifelong friends throughout the CrossFit community and gained a second family at CrossFitAnywhere.
I’ve learned how to clean, do pullups and so much more, but CrossFit’s not just about the workouts. It’s the people that you workout next to, sweat alongside, cheer on and are cheered on by that make it so great. It’s about the Community.
So grateful to those that welcomed me that first day, and all those I’ve met along the way.