How did Crossfit change me or why Crossfit to begin with?
In order to answer that question I have to give you some background. I was your typical kid growing up. I loved technology so Athletics was not my area of interest. I played Little League and Pop Warner growing up but I did not get back into sports until I was in Junior High and High School where I wrestled for a couple seasons and played golf. I was not the athletic type personality mainly because I just did not enjoy it and I always felt anxiety playing even though I was pretty decent at sports. Six months after High School I started a job in the communications industry and I am still going strong with the same company for 15 years now. I was an outside worker for many years and for the most part I kept slim from the physical nature posed by the job I had. Then I advanced into an office type role in the engineering group. Stress, sitting in a chair, long days, working nights, 60-70 hours per week and eating garbage all came crashing down on me. They say you always gain “the office 20”. Well I gained the office 70.
I went from wearing size 32 jeans to size 40. My marriage was suffering from me basically being a tired and angry Jabba the Hut all the time. I was put on the highest dosage of Lipitor a doctor could prescribe at the age of 26. My cholesterol was almost 500 and my triglycerides were at 1650. If you know anything about that, then you know I was a ticking time bomb. By the time I was 29, my blood pressure was averaging 155/90 with a resting heart rate in the high 90’s. I had been admitted to the hospital twice because it was thought I was having a coronary event. One such occasion my primary care physician connected an EKG to me, since I was having chest pains, and said he was going to call me an ambulance to transport me to the hospital for “abnormal results” of that test. I had just started my family and I honestly thought I would never see my kids grow up with how things were going. The conversation with the ER doctor during the last time I was admitted for a possible heart attack was powerful. Simply put he told me, while I held my 18 month old daughter, that I was too damn young to be having this conversation and I should stop and smell the roses and get myself better if not for me then for her, my daughter. Easy words to say but how do you do that?
I had no idea what to do. I tried the fad stuff, it failed, I tried other structured diet plans, they too failed. I know I have a food problem, and it is a struggle every day for me. Nothing ever took or lasted since I would always give into to my cravings and weak will power. I would lose 30 lbs then put them back on and do it again. Life went on like this for a couple more years and finally my gallbladder gave out at age 33 from being constantly inflamed. I was then diagnosed with a fatty liver during pre-checks for gallbladder surgery, which I was told increases my risk of getting liver cancer by about 3 times. I was starting to get concerned with how much my body was falling apart because of my sedentary ways and what I kept eating which included anything and everything. I had let myself slip so far that body parts had to be removed from me. I had my gallbladder removed in December of 2013 and I said I have to do something.
After talking with my brother who has been doing Crossfit for years, I walked into Blade on January 28th 2014 with extreme anxiety about it. I have always been very self-conscious about anything to do with working out or Athletic anything. Taking the first step into Blade was nerve racking to be frankly honest. The familiar smells of “The Gym” were coming back to peg out my nervous meter. I met Chris and Claire that January 28th. In that conversation I felt safe and that this was going to be ok. They made me feel like this was the right thing to do. I showed up the next day knowing this was going to be very tough. Chris and Claire greeted me and took the time to make sure I understood what to do, how much to do, and when to do it. They coached me through that first day in a way I have never had before. They were right there to stop me when I was doing it wrong and help me do it right, encourage me, and guide me the whole way. I am not going to lie, it was tough. It was physically one of the hardest things I had done in any sector of recent memory. However, instead of being angry with how hard it was like normal when I did something physical, I felt good about it for a change. I felt like people actually cared. I was cheered on, I was high fived, I was supported, I was… well I was everything opposite of what my anxiety about going to the gym had told me it would be. That one day has turned into countless days since then. I am still doing it 10 months later. 3-4 days a week and loving every minute. I even got my 62 year old mom to do it with me and she loves it just the same and is now improving her health. I started weighing 240 lbs. I now weigh 225 and have put on 13 lbs of muscle, that translates into quite a bit of fat gone. I am wearing belts I have not worn in 10 years, I had to buy a new wardrobe because my old one fell off of me, seriously, my pants would fall off if I did not cinch a belt around them. My blood pressure is a nice 118/70 and my resting heart rate is in the low 70’s. My cholesterol is getting under control nicely and with continued improvements to my diet and continued Crossfit, I will be medication free for good very soon.
Chris and Claire and the Blade Community have made it so easy for me to win the battle with food by coaching nutrition and always being available to answer questions. I struggle every day to undo the years I abused my body with poor diet, stress, overworking, and neglect. However, I struggle knowing my Box Mates along with my Coaches are there to pick me up, walk beside me, and elevate me to a higher self. That is what keeps me going. The Community and the Coaches at Blade.
So to answer the question one may pose: How did Crossfit change me or why Crossfit to begin with?
Simple answer is: The Coaches and the Community at Crossfit Blade have tapped into a place inside of me that I all but forgot about and left for dead. I found a renewed spirt to be more alive, more energetic, a better husband, a better dad, and just a better person. Crossfit Blade quite literally may have saved my life, helped in part to save my marriage, and has given me another way to show my children how to better themselves. If this sounds too good to be true, and you are like I was, I dare you to come find yourself again with me and the community at Blade.