The funny thing about my story is, I didn’t start out looking to get in shape. But for one reason or another CrossFit found me and changed my life forever.
Growing up I rode bikes with my family and worked at the local bike shop. I dabbled in wrestling in 6th grade and lacrosse in 9th grade. I loved the sport, but hated the training and quickly lost interest. After going to college I started down an unhealthy path. Drinking and partying regularly, I was eating whatever was around (mostly Taco Bell) and smoking a pack of Camel lights a day.
After dropping out of college I was working at Starbucks trying to find my way in life. I started to notice a group of regulars that would show up around 7:30 every morning for coffee. They seemed like fit, healthy, people, not by the clothes they wore, but by the weird glow they had. That group of people had an infectious mood of fitness and happiness that was tangible when they came through the doors.
One day I struck up a conversation while fixing a latte, asking who they were and where they were coming from. One of them introduced himself and he explained they were from a CrossFit gym around the corner called Hammerdown.
At the time, I had no experience working out, let alone CrossFit; I had no intention of getting in shape. I started to look at everything I could find on the internet. YouTube videos of CrossFit consumed my life for the next few weeks until I realized that I wanted to not just work out; I wanted to be a “CrossFitter”.
I went to check out the gym with no idea what I was walking into. My very first workout was called “The Filthy 50” and it was a laundry list of movements with funny names and strange objects I had never seen before. The coach of the class paired me up to work next to a woman who was in her late 40s and at the time I was 19.
After the workout was over I had no idea what happened or what I had just done; only that it was hard, and the woman who was more than twice my age almost lapped me in the workout.
I’ll be honest…I didn’t enjoy it; but I wanted to hang out with those people who had infected me with a feeling positivity and health. So I said, “I want to sign up!”
Then I heard the price. $179 a month.
I was shocked. I didn’t know of any gym that cost that much, let alone one with no machines, no showers, and no mirrors. Where was I?
But I had made up my mind before I walked through the door. I was going to be a “CrossFitter.”
I bit the bullet and figured I would make it work even though I was making nine bucks an hour as a barista. Excited and nervous, I drove home to tell my sister I had signed up for a gym! Naturally, she asked the price. After telling me I was an idiot, she said, “you better go every single day to make that membership worth it!”
So I did…I dove in head first and “drank the kool-aid.”
It was exciting, challenging, and every day was different. I remember the days when I was too sore or tired to workout, I had this weird feeling like I was missing out on something. There were areas where I excelled and other areas where I did not. I saw every day as a chance to improve and do something better.
After a few months of classes, I started to feel like I was part of the group, but something was missing. I felt like I was lying to myself and living two lives. One where I was a healthy, fit individual going to the gym and pretending to be one thing, while simultaneously continuing to smoke heavily, drink, and eat whatever I desired.
I remember leaving the gym after crushing a workout, only to light up a cigarette on the car ride home. All the while looking in my rearview mirrors, praying that none of my friends from the gym would drive by. I started to love my life in the gym and realized just how unhealthy I really was. I decided to commit to stopping smoking, and I did, cold turkey, on January 1, 2011.
The next week the gym held a Paleo challenge, a month with no sugar, no processed food, and no dairy. Giving up sugar was hard, but I was committed. I lost weight, got healthy, and began to have a crude understanding of my body and its relationship with food.
Over the next 7 years, my pursuit of increased work capacity was endless. I was relentless about my training regimen, my nutrition, my mobility, and my sleep cycle. I stopped drinking, I pushed away friends, and I nearly lost the gym that I built.
I was so consumed by fitness and health…that it became almost unhealthy.
Then I got injured.
Life became busy and I continued training at the same level while losing focus with recovering and proper nutrition. The path of healing and recovery was humbling, to say the least. It showed me that no matter how hard you work for something, it can be taken away in an instant. I started focusing more on my business and less on fitness, which helped me grow as a businessman…but hurt my credibility as a coach.
I wasn’t practicing what I preached. I was barely working out, I was eating like crap, and I had gained almost 30 pounds. Thankfully, my lovely wife, Morgan, was there to set me straight and tell me that I needed to be the example I was encouraging others to be.
Today, I am working out again, eating healthy, and even gaining new skills and setting personal records! I have a much better relationship with fitness than ever before, and I have a new perspective on why I do what I do. I fell back in love with CrossFit and the gym I built.
My purpose in this world is to help guide people to change their lives for the better through the power of health and fitness. If you need help along your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out, I will always help in every way I can.