Glenn and John,
As 2013 has begun, I realized today that January marks my one year anniversary with CFS. I was reflecting over the past year, and thought I’d share some insights with you.
I compare who I was before CFS to who I am now, and I am astounded at the changes I’ve made with the help of this community. I had never played a sport before in my life – the closest I had come was the marching band in high school. I always grew up as an academic. I struggled through gym class and avoided any social sports or games at all costs. I was self-conscious about being judged by others for my lack of athletic ability, and hyper aware that I was not very coordinated. I hid behind books and stuck to what I was good at, because I was afraid to fail. When I was 13, I started smoking…and smoked for 10 years before quitting. I used this as a scapegoat as to why I was not physically active. It was much easier to back out of a 5k because I smoked than to admit that I was afraid I couldn’t finish.
Before CFS, I had never run a mile. I had never done a push up. I had never done a pull up. In my early adult life I had started to branch into physical activity, which consisted exclusively of the elliptical and sit-ups because I had no idea how to work out. The machinery at the gym made no sense to me, and I was too proud to ask. I tried and failed several times to take up running (which i hated), do yoga (which I was terrible at), and try videos (which I could never follow).
A few friends of ours turned us on to Crossfit, and Dre was ultimately the one who brought me in for the free class. I was terrified. Glenn, you were so patient, kind, and thorough that I began to have hope that maybe this was something I could actually do. I remember Linda spent about an hour with Dre and me after the class, answering questions and getting to know us. CC taught our foundations class at a pace that actually made sense to me, taking the time to explain not just what we were doing, but why we were doing it. I was hooked.
I’ve had some ups and downs in the past year, including a car accident that put me out for a month. I look at how far I’ve come with this community. I did my first pull up last month. I can now do 100 push ups in a WOD (though admittedly, they are not all very pretty). Today, I got my first double under. I ran my first 5k ever over Thanksgiving and came in at just under 26 minutes. These are achievements that I never thought possible. Though simple, these small athletic accomplishments are beginning to define me. I am an athlete. I can do this. I will not give up. I am strong. For the first time in my life, I care more about how I feel than how I look. Strong really is the new skinny.
Crossfit speaks for itself – it gets results. I could get fit at any Crossfit gym in the country. However, it is the community at CFS that has made me successful. The coaches give you just the right balance of pushing you to your limits, but not pushing you over your limits. I know that every single coach genuinely cares about me as an athlete, but also as a person. They care about my goals and achievements. Beyond the coaches, I look to a community of fellow athletes. The support that the athletes have for each other at CFS amazes me. The mentality that we are all in this together, all supporting each other though triumphs and struggles, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. There is never judgement, only encouragement. With the help of coaches and athletes alike, this band geek has finally found herself in the athletic world.
Glenn & John,
I wanted to share some good news with you today. I was given the OK by my doctor today to stop taking my blood pressure medication.
I was put on BP meds 5 years ago when I was going through pre-op review for a hernia, my doctor found that my BP was too high to clear me for surgery.
Thing is, I was taking pretty good care of myself, running marathons, weighed less, and was 5 years younger. But is was “Hereditary” so I was put on the meds and have been since.
I don’t know what had a greater effect over the past few months, the physical aspect of a new regiment, or the changes on my diet – but the net result is that today I am not on medication.
Glenn & John,
Before I joined CrossFit, I was working as a personal trainer at a local YMCA. I was an avid runner and was logging 20+ miles a week and fitting in strength and resistance training. I was training my clients similarly to my own training. I took the free class at CrossFit, got hooked, took Foundations really got hooked then joined.
In the last month since doing CrossFit, I have gotten increasingly stronger physically and am completing WODS or skills that I would normally never have attempted such as rope ascents, toes to bars, box jumps and all those crazy named lifts like the snatch, sumo deadlifts etc.
I have completed two 5k’s since joining CrossFit and have had PR’s both times, with finish times that I never dreamed of. I shaved a minute per mile off my pace and now am only another 30 seconds or so from the top finishers in my age division. I made those strides with my 5K times with cutting out 75% of the mileage I was putting in and now rely on my CFS WODS for my speed and strength/resistance training!
In training my clients at the Y, I have completely changed the way I go about training them and my whole philosophy and it’s made a difference in their results. They asked what I was doing in my own workouts as I now seem to have “ridiculously more energy” and have been asking them to do some “crazy stunts”-things similar to the deck of cards workout, or 400 meter runs in between our sets.
Besides all those things which are clearly good, my own mental strength is what I most proud of. I don’t say “I can’t” or “I won’t” or “I will watch” when I see a WOD I haven’t done or think is crazy. I say “that’s awesome”, “I can’t wait” and then afterwards I say “that rocked, can’t wait for the next one”. While I perform all the WODS and what not if it weren’t for the amazing coaches cheering me and my WOD friends on, it wouldn’t happen. I give all the coaches at CFS a lot of credit for being able to think on their feet, scale everything back if necessary and say “take the weight off, that’s too much, concentrate on form first” in addition to “just try the pullups with a band now instead of ring rows”. Oh and there’s nothing like coming back around the corner from one of those long sprint WODS and having one of the coaches yelling your name and telling you that you can do it and keep with it.
So I say thank to you to Glenn, all the owners and the coaches, especially Emily and Chris whom I see the most for all your support and encouragement!!
Glenn & John,
Your posting of “The Guy in the Glass” a couple days ago struck a chord with me. It was a bit of an epiphany especially since I’m not usually so moved by motivational quotes. I suppose it was just timed well.
I’ve been WODing at CFS for maybe six months, but the six years prior to that have been an athletic rut. Some people use athletics in college as a means of paying tuition or a stepping stone into being a pro. I was neither. I didn’t even really know how I got there; just ran fast enough, but never really liked it…just enjoyed the camaraderie. It was my identity and then I lost it.
When my husband and I moved to Massachusetts to change our careers, I tried being a member of a commercial gym. It just wasn’t a good fit. My job as a third party consultant made all my social interactions professional. I was not motivated to work out or make friends, I over analyzed my own programming, I was afraid to try new things I could be bad at, or judged for. This wasn’t me. Since being at CFS, I’ve found my niche. I’m passionate about working out again. I don’t feel completely isolated, on the contrary, I feel pushed and held accountable. Your box even provided the opportunity for some networking that has led to a new job. At this point I can honestly say when I “look in the glass” I see me, not who I think I’m supposed to be.
So, thank you. Thank you for helping me find my mojo.
Living La Vida Crossfit
The countdown begins. Before it ends I hear “Athletes Ready”, and I look around before realizing that the coach is talking to me. My WOD (Workout of the Day) has begun and for the next 15-50 minutes I will push myself completing prescribed exercises, trying to move a little faster, lift a little more and push myself a little harder than the workout before.
If you had told me seven months ago that I would be a devoted CrossFitter, I would have been the first to laugh. My husband had just started doing CrossFit and was singing its praises and trying to get me to go. And I would demur, “It looks too hard…. I’ll just hurt myself… I would miss the elliptical… I’m not fit enough to do Crossfit and people would laugh at me”.
Then my husband participated in a “Throw down” which was a group CrossFit competition at the box. I came to the throw down with the kids to take photos, and provide moral support. There I saw a variety of people, from the very buff to the chubby, women who babies less than 3 months ago, and a woman in her 60′s, all competing in different events. And even though it was a competition, everyone cheered everyone else on.
(Little did I know that 3 months later, I would be competing in a Thrown Down. Yes, me, Maryrose, the girl who turned ditchng PE in High School into a “Cat Ate My Gymsuit” type art form.)
I was intrigued, and signed up for the trial class at CrossFit Synergistics. And got my butt kicked. But I like a challenge and there were women at the trial class in the same shape as me, so I signed up for the Foundations Class, something our box insists on to make sure that you know how to do the moves frequently used in Crossfit. And everyone who wants to work out there goes, from a true newbie like me, to my husband who has long lifted weights and was a NSCA certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
I do not look like what you might think a typical crossfitter looks like. I am a little overweight, but not as much as when I started. I use bands to help me do pull ups, but the bands are getting progressively smaller. I went from not being able to do a single real (non-knee) push up, to being able to do 15 in a row.
These small gains, steadily made while being cheered on by my coaches and the other athletes in the box are what keeps me coming back. When I first started working out, every WOD scared me. Now, I look at even the toughest WOD and figure out the best way to scale it to work within my fitness limitations, but still give me room to grow. If I am unsure about scaling, the coaches are always there to provide suggestions and a gentle push in the right direction.
People talk about Crossfit being a cultish activity, and while that may have some merit, that can be said of the die-hard Zumba, turbo kick, or boot camp devotee. We fall in love with our exercises for many reasons. For me, it’s because Crossfit works for me.
I have also tried the Paleo diet. There is a lot of dissent among the Paleo people about the use of dairy, but I enjoy my greek yogurt & butter. Even Robb Wolfe, who is considered one of the top authorities on Paleo Eating and Crossfit believes that to get 95% of the benefits of Paleo, you only need to eat 85% Paleo. I would say that I shoot for the 85% and am probably in the 70-75% range most days.
And with doing the Paleo I learned things. I learned that if I eat a bowl of pasta I don’t feel well, so instead of pasta several times a week, a small serving is an occasional treat. I’ve learned that I if I limit my dairy, my stomach feels better, and that I really enjoy sweet potatoes.
I have read the complaints about Crossfit/Paleo, but I really think that most of them can apply to any workout/diet. Anything taken to excess is bad.
Is CrossFit hard? Absolutely, but I am so much more satisfied after a 15 minute WOD than after spending 45 minutes on the elliptical, than hitting the bagel store next to the gym and wondering why I was still fat.
I know my limits. I have worked out in boxes in MA, NYC and Maryland, and every place I went, I was pushed to do my best, but at the ends of the day, the limits I set for myself on movements, weights, repetitions or assistance, (bands, knee push ups) were respected by the coaches and other athletes.
It’s the people who work out with no respect for their limits and do not listen to their body and rest when their body says to rest and makes the modifications to fit in with their bodies needs that are asking for trouble.
If you want to learn more about Crossfit, choosing a box, and the frequency with which you work out, I recommend the website of my former box.
Today I am 10X the athlete I was back in February when I wandered in for my introductory class, and next February I expect to be 10X the athlete I am today. The gains will be steady, the gains will be slow, but thanks to the support of my husband, the coaches and the other athletes, the gains will be there.
Hi Glenn and John,
I’ve told you, like any other Soldier in the US Army I’m required to take the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) twice a year. The APFT consists of 3 events- as many pushups in 2 minutes, as many situps in 2 minutes, and a timed 2 mile run. There are standards based on age and gender and the raw scores are converted to a score on a 1-100 scale, so 300 is the max combined score for the 3 events. I’ve been in the Army for 10 years and my APFT scores have always been middle-of-the-road, somewhere in the 230-260 range, and I always felt like I could do better. Additionally, as an officer, I felt that I SHOULD do better, that it’s my professional responsibility to lead by example.
One of my early goals after joining CrossFit Synergistics was to improve my score, back on January 6th I wrote in the forum “In April I’ll take the semi-annual Army Physical Fitness Test. My goal is to score in the 90th percentile for all 3 events, which means at least 57 pushups in 2 minutes, at least 62 sit-ups in 2 minutes, and run 2 miles in 15:13 or faster.”
Today was my APFT and I’m very happy to say that not only did I reach my goals, I set a PR for both the situp and 2 mile run events, and not just for the scaled score, a PR for the raw score!! My 3 event total was 286 (60 pushups/93 pts, 70 situps/98 pts and 14:38 2 mile time/95 pts).
The difference, clearly, is the training, coaching, and camaraderie at CrossFit Synergistics. I attend physical training with my unit 1 day per week but frankly, compared to the WODs we do, that training is a joke. The only real training that I’ve done for the last 4 months is CrossFit and it shows, I’m fitter than I’ve been in years and today’s APFT score is a direct result of that. The 10 lbs I’ve lost since beginning the Paleo Challenge? That has certainly helped as well!
The next time I take the APFT? My goal is to score the maximum 300 points and I’m confident that CrossFit will help me reach that goal!
Thanks to both of you, to Chris, Chrissy, Matt and Emily for the coaching, and to all of my fellow members for your encouragement, friendship, support and motivation.
Glenn & John,
I just want you to know that the first 3 weeks of Cross Fit I struggled with lower back issues as you know. Even scaling would sometimes result in a set back that would keep me out of the box for days. Today I feel like my back issues are a thing of the past. I’m going Rx on every workout now and I’ve never felt stronger and in better shape. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be able to do as many of these movements without doing some serious damage to my back. I don’t even think about it anymore. I just grab the weight, lock my core and go. I have you, John, the coaches and all the great people at CFS to thank for that. It’s taken me over 4 years to find the solution and I firmly believe I found it. Thanks again!
Glenn & John,
I had a fantastic time and I think what you have going on at your CFS facility is amazing! I’ve been around the fitness game a long time…I tune into a trainer, his knowledge, and most importantly his philosophy and how he (or she) works with his athletes. You impressed me in all facets!
Glenn & John,
I just wanted to say thank you for the encouragement to enter the opens. Not knowing anything about it, and knowing that I normally don’t Rx WOD’s, I definitely didn’t think that I had the ability or confidence to compete. I actually laughed when John asked me if I was going to register. I joked about maybe registering for the CrossFit Kids open. After reading your email to a bunch of us who were “on the fence” I decided to give it a try. What would I have to lose? I had no goal other than to have fun and experience the open as a participant.
I surprised myself each week. Each open WOD I PR’d in some way or another. Whether it was my 95 burpees, the 75# snatch that I did twice, or my first time doing 9′ wall ball or chest to bar pull-ups, each week I left CFS feeling proud of my accomplishments and I gained more confidence in my abilities as an athlete. Now that the open is finished & I have had some time to reflect on my achievements, I am really grateful that I had an open mind to listen to you and take the risk in registering.
Thanks for your passion and for being a great coach! Thanks to John too!
Glenn & John,
Thank you so much for your inspiration, motivation, and support these last two weeks. I got so much more out of this class than I expected. You are so passionate about your profession and are a wealth of information. Your organization, preparation, and technological skills are so admirable! I am excited about returning to school and implementing Crossfit workouts. I have already told many people about the benefits of this type of training and will use it in my personal fitness program.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Glenn & John,
I wanted to write and thank you for taking an interest in my son over the past 9 months. Ever since you met him at the Gym you helped to mold him from a young “know it all” Teenager to a young man. I have always Coached Mitchell whether it was Baseball, Lacrosse or Hockey which was fine when he was young, but now that he is older and developing I felt he needed a more professional outlook on working out.
Your character and the Crossfit model have really turned him around! Not only is he getting physically stronger and faster, his confidence on the ice and lacrosse fields is showing as well. We are hopeful that your nutritional education and stretching will give him life lessons when he leaves for college in the next couple of years.
As a family we are seeing the results of the Crossfit model and having our son in that program will help to mold a healthier and better educated man down the road.
Thank you for all your efforts!
Sincerely, Alan K
Glenn, The nutrition presentation you gave yesterday blew my mind. I had no
idea that there was so much to learn about nutrition. I really want to
change the way I eat and the way I exercise through the techniques
you shared. Thank you for changing the way I think about taking care of my body through the help
of intense workouts and nutrition.
Hey Glenn & John
I have been meaning to email you for a while and now I feel like I have a million things to say!
First of all, I miss you guys! CFS was so good to me and so good for me. I am eternally grateful to Linda for badgering me into starting. I just wish it didn’t take me so long. You guys have created something really special and I’m so proud to have been a part of it. Your energy and passion towards CrossFit, living healthy, and helping others is infectious and motivating.
I really appreciate how accommodating you were during my absence from my elbow accident. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to come but you made it so easy for me to transition back into coming regularly.
I’ll be at the Master’s to cheer you & everyone else on! You guys are gonna kill it!!