I’ve never have been an athlete, the best description of me has always been “Band Nerd” with all that implies. I’ve always been “heavy”, but in the fall of 2011 I found myself out of breath just trying to tie my shoes. I was north of 300 lbs. I’d tried to work out at the gym many times before, but I didn’t really know what I was doing and always quickly lost motivation.
One day I stopped at red-light behind a truck with a Rotary Strength & Conditioning sticker on it. The next day I called, that evening I attended my first class. I nearly blacked out 3 times during my first class, I was in that bad a condition. I really don’t think Jason thought I’d ever come back. But I did. I came back again, and again, and again. I was hooked instantly. I loved the work.
Within a year I had lost 50lbs, but packed on a lot of muscle. I’d gone from being cut off 6 minutes into any WOD, to being able to do most Rx.
My life outside the box was also improving. I felt better, I worked better, taking my dog for a walk was better, I slept better, and I was a better husband. It shocked me how much better my life became because I was truly healthier. It became my personal mantra to do everything a little better. To do this Rep better than the last, to push myself in this WOD a little better than yesterday,eat a little better today than yesterday, to perform a little better at work this week than last, to be a better husband & father.
In the nearly 4 years of being an active member at Crossfit Eastern Shore I’ve developed wonderful, long lasting friendships that extend way beyond the walls of the box. Every day I come in and see my friends. Every day we work together to become better people. Some days they help me, some days I help them. That’s community.
I still don’t feel I have the right to call myself an athlete. I’ll certainly never make it to Carson, unless it’s as a spectator. But every day when I leave the box I know I’m a better person than when I walked in.
“I have also lost 10 sizes, going from an 18 to an 8 and now weigh 150 pounds. I’ve never felt better in my life.”
For the past ten years, I have started and restarted some kind of “fad” diet every Monday. This always led to either a quick weight loss of a few pounds or no weight loss at all. I didn’t care about my overall health; I just wanted the number on the scale to go down.
In September of 2014, weighing in at 220 pounds, I made one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made, CROSSFIT. I knew that my brother did CrossFit, but joining was not even in my near future. I never really knew what CrossFit was all about. I just knew that it must be something good, because my brother just doesn’t do anything. The day before I started, we were all at my parents eating and, I looked at my sister in law and said “I’ve got to do something, I’m miserable”. My brother over heard me and said “Katie is starting CrossFit tomorrow, why don’t you start also”. I said, “Can fat people do that?” He said, “Anyone can do it. If you want to be fit and healthy, you’ve got to start somewhere. I was scared to death. On my first day, even though I was nervous of the unknown, I felt completely at home. Crossfit has changed my life. Crossfit Eastern Shore is not just a group of people that I work out with during the week; they are a part of my family. Jason and Adam have led me to fitness levels that I never dreamed I could attain. They support me and continue to push me to be my best. I did this one for me, and I will continue to strive to reach new goals with CrossFit. It’s changed my life, along with making lifelong friends, spending time with my brother, sister in law, and nieces. I have also lost 10 sizes, going from an 18 to an 8 and now weigh 150 pounds. I’ve never felt better in my life.
“My cholesterol has gone from 239 to 149. I’ve gained 10 pounds, and have lost 2 clothing sizes. I eat pizza. I drink Margaritas. The best thing, is I no longer have to deal with the guilt that was a constant companion when I ate forbidden foods”
I’m not going to share with you a success story of loosing a great deal of weight. I’m not going to tell you I went from obese to having a “ridiculous hot body”. I’m not going to say I went from being a couch potato to being an avid runner. For me, my CrossFit success story is one of perception. Perception of body awareness. Perception of nutrition. Perception of self worth. My success deals with the mental changes that CrossFit has evoked, and luckily some pretty awesome physical changes have followed.
I have always been physically fit. I’ve ran anything and everything from a 5K to a full marathon, and not just once. I’ve lifted heavy weights, I’ve lifted light weights to “tone”. I’ve done boot camps, step aerobics, spin class, Jazzercise, Zumba, Pilates, yoga, you name it, chances are, I’ve done it at least a time or two. Along with my extensive history of exercise, I have an equally long history of dieting. There were periods where I ate too much, followed by periods where I didn’t eat nearly enough. I went carb free. I went fat free. I went sugar free. I binged, I starved. Hell, I even once joined Weight Watchers only to be kicked out 3 weeks later, because I weighed too little. Point being, I was never satisfied. Never happy with the number on the scale, or the amount of calories I supposedly burned on the elliptical. I continued on this roller coaster of self indulgence, then restriction for more than 5 years.
In January of 2013, I ran the Mobile Marathon. When I finished I hurt all over. I had been running 30-50 mile weeks in preparation, and my knees and hips were shot. I was tired of waking up sore, and I hated the way I looked. I was lean but had no feminine curves. I lifted weights, but felt my workouts had no purpose. There was no sense of accomplishment, or end goal.
I stumbled upon CrossFit Eastern Shore at the end of January 2013, after seeing CrossFit advertised online. I was skeptical. Here I was logging 2-3 hours at the gym, and this “CrossFit” had workouts that lasted on average 7-20 minutes, and the athletes looked phenomenal, and were almost always smiling. I met with the coaches, did an introductory class, and had never pushed myself so hard, both mentally and physically. My first workout lasted only 8 minutes, but it was intense. I left that day feeling like I had accomplished something. I had been given a task to complete and a time period to do it in. I had succeeded.
I began going 5 days a week, and I not only learned to appreciate what my body could do, but I learned how to properly fuel it as well. I was taught that the body couldn’t function optimally without proper nutritional intake and rest. Coach Adam gave me the fundamentals of the Paleo lifestyle, and for once I was able to just eat. I didn’t have to measure or weigh anything. Do you know how liberating that is? I used to shy away from dinner invites, and would rarely eat at restaurants out of fear, because I had no control of the calorie content of my meal. When I looked at the other individuals at the Box, no one was focused on how they looked, there were no mirrors, and there is no dress code. If someone wanted to work out in their short shorts and sports bra have at it. If you wanted to wear sweat pants and an over-sized t-shirt, no one cared. For once, the individuals I was working out with didn’t focus on aesthetics. The atmosphere was performance driven. Everyone treated each other as equals, and no one was better than anyone else.
Once I adopted that outlook, I realized the number on the scale didn’t define me. I was capable of far more than I ever thought possible. My lifts went up, and my metcon times got faster. The coaching staff were constant mentors and were there every step of the way from teaching the fundamental movements, to explaining the physiology behind each workout. You always knew what was expected, and positive encouragement was at an abundance.
Fast forward almost 2 years, and I have made more progress than I ever thought possible. My cholesterol has gone from 239 to 149. I’ve gained 10 pounds, and have lost 2 clothing sizes. I eat pizza. I drink Margaritas. The best thing, is I no longer have to deal with the guilt that was a constant companion when I ate forbidden foods. I have learned moderation. Now that I am no longer logging 2-3 hour gym sessions and depriving my body of the fuel it needs, I have a social circle of like minded individuals who push me to be the best I can everyday. This box is full of members I am proud to call family. We push each other, hold each other accountable, and anyone would do anything in their power to help another succeed.
You can get physically fit anywhere. Personal trainers are in an abundance, 24 hour gyms are popping up everywhere, but no where can shape you both physically and mentally to succeed like CrossFit Eastern Shore. I am a true testament of that.
The physical transformation is only skin deep, what is more valuable is this group of individuals who push me to be the best me everyday.
CrossFit Eastern Shore has aided me in lifetime achievements, and then some. From an early age I have known that I wanted to pursue a career in Law Enforcement. Then that time arose where I was approaching try outs and applying for the position. Coach Jason Odom and Coach Adam Pfaff, here at CFES, assisted me in preparing for the physical demands of being a police officer. They pushed me to the limits and helped me get stronger, faster, and gain more confidence. With their help in the Box, I am proudly wearing a Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office uniform daily, and can confidently handle any altercation that comes my way.
I give an abundance of credit to my coaches, but in realization, it is also the community that CFES has. All gym members push each other and encourage one another through that one WOD that is tough. That encouragement proves that us CrossFitters are tougher as a community, as well as individuals. I will always continue to be a member here at CFES and will work alongside the other athletes to grow in all areas. CrossFit has helped me attain life goals, and is currently training me for SWAT Team Tryouts coming up in the near future. now its your turn to join the community.. correction, it is time for YOU to join the CFES Family!!!
“Even though we are racing against each other through the workouts for the fastest time or number of reps completed, at the end of the day the real competition is against ourselves…that’s what I love about CrossFit.”
So I’ll be honest here…I had never even heard of CrossFit until the Summer of 2012 when my good friend told me about it. Being a single mom of a 4 year old at the time I guess you could say I was clueless…I had no idea what was happening in the sports/fitness world. Having played competitive sports since the age of 5 and through my college years, working out and being physically fit has always been an important part of my life. However, after having my son in 2007, it was extremely hard to find that extra time for myself and find a gym where I “fit in.” I was desperately missing that competitive atmosphere that had previously filled my nights, weekends and summers. I just wanted to feel like an athlete again…to be a part of something, and not just a “Only $10 a month – don’t bang the weights – kind of gym.” Once I took a peek in the “box” for the first time and before I had even attempted my first workout, I knew I had found my new home!
I joined CrossFit Eastern Shore in July of 2012 and will probably never join another gym in my life! I couldn’t ask for more knowledgeable, supportive, and caring coaches. Jason and Adam are exceptional coaches and push us all to be stronger every day. At 32 years of age I can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my life. Every time I walk into the gym there’s this initial sense of fear and anxiety, but it quickly turns into a rush of adrenaline and excitement! Even though we are racing against each other through the workouts for the fastest time or number of reps completed, at the end of the day the real competition is against ourselves…that’s what I love about CrossFit. Our bodies are machines, and we only get one chance, one life to make it our best…CrossFit does that. The members and coaches are like my second family and I finally feel like an athlete again…I have found my team.
“All the work with the barbells and pullups has helped me build up strength…”
When I played lacrosse in high school, I had compound fractured two of the metacarpals in my right hand. I had done physical therapy which helped me regain mobility, but I still had a weak grip. I wouldn’t make pasta in the house if I was alone because I couldn’t open jars of sauce.
After ten weeks at CFES, I recently noticed that it’s like my right hand was never injured! All the work with the barbells and pullups has helped me build up strength and I can feel how much better my grip is. Crossfit has made me stronger than I have ever been, even my pinky!
“I am the Team Captain and swimming faster than a year earlier…”
I started CrossFit because I was in a rut with my swimming career. I had hit the plateau where I wasn’t getting any worse, but wasn’t getting any faster either. So I cut my swim training back and took up CrossFit. Fast forward six months, after incorporating CrossFit, I am the Team Captain and swimming faster than a year earlier, when I had been swimming twice as much. I had the swim technique pretty much dialed in, but CrossFit gave me the strength I needed to be a better athlete.
Update: Jackson is now a Student at Auburn University and Interning with a corporation in Mobile, Al.
In August 2009, after about a year layoff from doing any form of working out, I realized how out of shape I was and was ready to do something about it. I started going to the gym a few days per week doing the same things I’d always done since college… the elliptical runs, weight machines, and bench press. After two months of this and seeing minimal results, I was completely bored and tired with my routine and ready to call it quits.
Around the same time, my best friend from Atlanta came to visit and starting telling me about CrossFit. He emphasized how it was different from anything he’d ever seen or done. Said they mixed Cardio with Olympic weightlifting. Finally, He told me that most workouts lasted 20 minutes or less. Since most of my workouts consisted of 30 minutes of running and another 20 minutes of weight training, a workout that only lasted 20 minutes seemed too easy. The next day we went to my gym so I could attempt my first CrossFit WOD…”Cindy”. For the uninitiated, “Cindy” consists of one round of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 Air Squats, done continuously for 20 minutes. After it was over I had made it through less than 8 rounds, was out of breath, beat down, and completely hooked. For the Next month I would get the WOD from my friend’s gym’s website, watch videos on how to perform the movements, and then complete the workout with limited equipment that I had in my garage.
Finally in December 2009 I found and joined Crossfit Eastern Shore, went through the 2 week Fundamentals Course, and have been a member ever since. For the Past 3 years I’ve had the privilege of being coached by some of the most caring, motivating, and instructionally sound coaches I’ve ever known. I’ve made great friends and have become part of a community and family that I truly treasure. And to top it off, I’ve gotten in the best shape of my Life. In August 2009, I weighted around 220 lbs. After deciding to combine my WOD’s with the Paleo Diet, I’ve reached and maintained my “fighting” weight of 185 lbs. As far as “Cindy” goes, my personal best has increased to 17 rounds, and at 40 years old, I’m looking forward to keeping up with all the “young guns” at the box for years to come.