Now is the time of the year that many people make promises to themselves about changing their lives. Whether it’s to lose weight, get in shape, eat better, work less, have more family time, or any number of ideals. I’m going to focus right now on the two I know best. Losing weight and getting in shape. Countless hours will be spent on treadmills, elliptical riders, and aerobics rooms. The seekers of fitness will sweat and feel good about their efforts (as well they should). But what if there was a better way? What if you could cut the time spent working out in half and get double the benefit? Wouldn’t you want to know about something like that? Well, put down that shake weight and I’ll share some of my journey with you.
I’ve spent much of my life working out. I’ve run marathons, ridden in tons of organized bike rides from 10 to 100 miles, raced in many multiple hour adventure races and triathlons. I’ve logged hours and hours and hours at the gym. And honestly, looking back at how I used to work out, I’m really ashamed, embarrassed and bummed out that it was nowhere near as effective as it could have been. But I didn’t know better. I thought that split days of back and bis, chest and tris along with some time on the treadmill was the ticket. I had my favorite exercises and I used them, and used them, and used them. I didn’t change it up. And my body showed it. I looked the same from one year to the next. Maybe I needed a different supplement or protein powder- so I tried a bunch of them. Nada.
Shortly after getting married in 2000, I went from gym training to riding mountain bikes. I loved it! I had a blast on the trails and got the byproduct of fitness by riding. Those were good times and while my body composition was ok, I still had a pretty good level of body fat and was pretty weak due to lack of strength training.
I 2002 my wife, Laura, started training for the Baltimore marathon. After she completed the marathon, I was in awe of her accomplishment and wondered if I could do it as well. We began training together in 2003 for the inaugural Rock ‘N Roll Arizona marathon in Phoenix. In January of ’04 we completed the race together and at the finish line I said, “I’m never doing that again!” I said the same thing after the next two marathons I completed.
Even with all the running, riding, and activity I still had not achieved the body type that I was looking for. The chronic cardio and carb-loading (typical of most endurance athletes) combined with the lack of strength base kept me “kinda fit” and “borderline chubby.” Then I found CrossFit.
CrossFit is where I turned a corner. It was so cool (actually it really sucked)! My first few CF workouts (WOD- workout of the day) showed me that I was weak, inflexible, and even lacking in power and stamina for that type of work. I was hooked! I wanted to get better at this stuff, I had to get better at this stuff– overhead squats, more pull ups than I had ever done, snatch, clean and jerk. Nothing ever looked hard or difficult when I saw the WOD online. I would go to the gym only to be humbled again and again. Little by little my strength, stamina, and proficiency with CF movements increased. By the time I took my Level 1 Certification six months into starting CF I still wasn’t doing a lot of the WODs as Rx’d (as prescribed) but I was sooo much better than when I had started.
At my certification we did a workout called Fran on the second day. I had never done Fran as Rx’d and was pretty nervous. They had several heats going and the cut off was 10 minutes. I thought, “There’s no way I can do it under ten. Maybe they’ll let me use the girl’s weight.” I asked one of the CFHQ trainers, Todd Widman, and he looked me in the eye and said, “You’re doing it as prescribed, brother!” Oooo-K, I’m doing it Rx’d. Let’s go. Todd gave me a game plan before the WOD and coached me through it. I completed it in 8:51! I. Was. Pumped!
My CF journey continued after that with a renewed passion. I threw myself at the WODs and learned a lot about work capacity and myself. I learned that many of the limits I had were self imposed. I learned how to manage my breathing and thinking for optimal efforts. I worked hard, smart and with intensity. I enjoyed every single time I stepped into the gym or on the track to workout. My fitness grew by leaps and bounds. But that wasn’t the only benefit, the focus on core strength tremendously helped my lower back disc injury from high school.
I have learned a lot over the last 3 years of CF training and 1.5+ of coaching. I took the CF Certification to better learn the sport of fitness that I was falling in love with. I had no intentions of training or coaching anyone. Now I can’t imagine not doing it. I love what I do. I feel so blessed to be a part of CrossFit Waxahachie. I love seeing people light up when they hit a PR (personal record). I love seeing people lose more weight than they thought possible with our strength and conditioning. In this day and age of the “cheap and easy” what we’re asking people to do is neither. CrossFit training and quality eating is simple but not easy. It takes time (but much less than logging miles and miles) and effort but the rewards are immense.
I still have much to work on myself. My strength to bodyweight ratio is good and my body fat % is much lower than when I was putting in 100+ miles a week on the bike (even with workouts that last anywhere from 5-30 minutes)! This past year for me was huge in hitting some of my goals- namely hitting a 205# clean & jerk. But highlights include competing in the Texas Throwdown, PRs in WODs that I love to hate like- Fran and Helen, increasing my handstand push up numbers, better hand-balancing & hand-walking prowess along with making many more life-long friends who are training here at CFW.
Thank you for making 2010 AWESOME! I‘m very excited about 2011!