My family & I have embraced the CrossFit lifestyle which includes eating Paleo or Clean. A clean diet affects your energy levels, internal inflammation and directly effects your workouts. I now weigh 208 lbs with a 34″ waist and I have zero pain in my hip. The community at CFS has helped me along the way from the coaches to the other athletes. We show up everyday to be better, push each other & compete in the daily WOD. The community at CFS allows me to push myself to the next level and improve my overall level of fitness everyday.
This past year has been a very difficult time in my life. I was involved in a car accident, had emergency surgery in February, which involved spending 10 days in the hospital, and experienced an abrupt end to my 25 year marriage. Back in September of 2011, when the downward spiral began, my weight was at the highest of my life, over 200 lbs on a 5’4″ body. I was hypertensive, had hypothyroidism and type II diabetes, heading for medication therapy for all of those. I had been going to a cheap ‘self-serve’ gym, but lacked any motivation, and instruction from staff was non-existent.
My nephew, Andrew, had been coming to CFS for about 10 months, and I had witnessed an extraordinarily positive change not only in his fitness level, but his attitude toward life. He encouraged me to attend a free class. I was immediately hooked.
I was extremely skeptical about starting such an intense workout at my age and weight. I was so afraid of being ‘judged’ and ridiculed because of my size and limited abilities. My very first official WOD after Foundations included several rounds of 200 M sandbag runs!! I remember struggling to keep my feet moving, my chest heaving with every breath, and casually joking (sort of) that “I am too old for this”. Needless to say, CFS has proven me wrong!!
UPDATE: These last 3 months have seen a dramatic change in me, both physically and emotionally. I’ve been able to avoid medication for diabetes, and am working with my doctor to reduce my blood pressure meds. I shudder to think in what condition I would be now had I not started CrossFit when I did. The feeling of accomplishment when I complete a WOD, or PR, is indescribable. What thrills me the most (yes, I said thrills) is the sincere excitement and pride I see on the faces of the incredible coaches and my fellow athletes when one of us exceeds our previous time or weight. I’ve never experienced such an atmosphere of true friendship and community, especially in a gym! CFS has helped me regain my long-lost self esteem, and I’ve met people here who truly care about one another’s progress and aren’t afraid to show it. I love the feeling of collapsing on the floor after a WOD, watching everyone fist pound and high five each other.
The coaching staff at CFS is amazing. I thrive on the challenges they set for me, yet they also have the instinct to know when I’ve reached my limit. Each and every WOD is a learning experience. I’m still scaling many things at this point, but no one makes me feel less important because of it.
I plan to continue being a CrossFit Athlete (yes, I consider myself an athlete) for as long as my body is able. Based on the improvements I’ve experienced these past few months: a 30+ lb. weight loss, progression through multiple scale levels, several increases in PR’s and my soaring self confidence– I won’t be stopping for a long, long time.
I wanted to pass along some news that I’m pretty excited about- my doctor and I recently decided to discontinue my blood pressure medication!!! Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes all run in my family. I started taking blood pressure meds about 15 years ago. I was able to cut the dosage in half about 6 months ago and at my recent physical, my doctor and I decided to totally stop the meds. My pressure readings since then have remained excellent. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes-having three or more abnormal A1C readings. I have been able to reduce those readings to below what is recommended for diabetics and to almost a level that can be termed normal for a ‘non-diabetic’. From labs taken about 6 months ago: my cholesterol total had dropped 15 points, LDL dropped 8 points and HDL gone up 10 points. My triglycerides had been cut almost in half to 76. I’m looking forward to seeing more improvements with the results of my latest round of labs. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know I am beating the odds of my inherited health problems. Both my parents died too young of preventable health issues. I don’t plan to follow that path.
I started at CFS in June 2012. Since then, I have made many other ‘measurable improvements’. The reduction of meds being only one. Since last year, I have lost 50+/- lbs (I’m human, it fluctuates a lb or two here and there), lost a total of 23″, gone down 3 pants sizes and am close to the fourth. I’ve changed my diet to where I’m eating ‘paleo clean’ about 90% of the time. It’s become a lifestyle that I can live with. I WOD 4-5 times per week and really look forward to my time at the box. I’m making slow and steady changes in the scales I use, and can see improvement in most moves. I still have a long way to go to be able to RX often, but I will get there!!! Box jumps still scare the hell out of me, but I’m trying. I’ve completed three ‘obstacle course events’ during the past year: Diva Dash (5k), Ruckus (5k) and recently actually finished my first Tough Mudder (12mi). I’ve already signed up for Spartan Race in August and am considering Rugged Mania in September. I can honestly say a year ago I never would have imagined participating in anything even remotely like those events.
The most important improvement has been the way I feel. Despite a number of difficulties and stressful personal roadblocks in my life, thanks to CFS and the amazingly positive people there, I am happier and healthier both physically and mentally than I have been in a very long time. It’s been said by many others, and it’s so very true- the community of Crossfit is it’s strength. The people of CFS are it’s biggest asset, from the owners to the staff to each and every individual member. Without these wonderful people, it’s just an empty box. Thank you to everyone at CFS!!
Weight before: 195 Weight after: 175
My fitness routine in my twenties had been running 10-15 miles a week. This regiment kept my weight at 170lbs until I reached my 30′s when my weight slowly started increasing despite the 10-15 miles/week.
So, what did I do? I ran more, and more, and more. Unfortunately, as my mileage increased so did my weight. This pattern continued for 5 years until January 2012 when I was running 60+ miles per week at 200lbs with a 38″ waste. Not majorly overweight, but at 5’8″ heavier than you would expect for someone running 65 miles a week. And I didn’t feel great about it. In an attempt to break this 5 year pattern, I started my Crossfit Foundations Class at CFS as a 35th birthday gift to myself.
And Crossfit sure did break the pattern: not only did I start loosing weight, but I found that I really love doing CrossFit.
Each CrossFitter has their own reasons why they love it. For some it’s fitting in pants long since retired, or it’s the random daily workout, or its the thrill of learning something new, or maybe its simply the pro-bacon paleo stance. It’s all of this for me. Yes, I am the fittest in my life after 9 months of CrossFit than I ever was with running alone.
But, the real special sauce of Crossfit Synergistics (CFS) is the competitiveness combined with the community. I consider it to be more of a sport than an exercise routine. To me, CrossFit is more akin to a pickup basketball game than to P90X. CFS workouts remind me of my high school and college athletic practices. We compete hard against ourselves and each other. The support and encouragement of fellow CrossFitters and coaches during our competitive workouts creates a welcoming TEAM environment despite the competition. We give it our all during the workout and cheer each other on at the same time. I know it sounds cheesy, but its actually FUN getting fit. It’s amazing to see people from so many different backgrounds and ability levels coming together in this team environment.
After giving birth to my daughter in March 2009, I vowed to not become a mother who blamed pregnancy and motherhood as a reason to hang onto the extra pounds I gained throughout my pregnancy (I gained 55 total pounds with my first pregnancy). I had always been a yo-yo exerciser. I would exercise, get into what I thought was good shape, drop weight, feel good and then stop because the goals I had were attained. Maintenance for me meant waiting to feel unfit and have snug pants to get back to the gym. I was always too busy and yo-yo exercised as to not let things get too out of control. I had been in the Army National Guard for 15 years at the time and had perfected figuring out what I needed to do exactly to pass my semi-annual weigh-in and pass with an above average score for my annual Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) which consists of 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit ups and a 2 mile run. My best APFT score was during my deployment to Afghanistan, where the only thing to do on down time was to make it to the tent-gym and work out. I was (what I thought) in the best shape of my life.
Upon my return from overseas, I became pregnant and spent 9 months eating what I wanted, when I wanted because THAT is what pregnant women do, right? I justified my eating by going to the gym 3 times a week and walking on the treadmill or doing low impact elliptical workouts. 55 pounds later (I’m only 5’3” tall), a traumatic c-section that left me on the couch for 6 weeks and the rainiest maternity leave ever, I went back to work with 30 extra pounds on my body. It was demoralizing to not fit into anything in my wardrobe and to feel so un-fit. With my next APFT and weigh-in on the horizon, I somehow managed to get back beneath my authorized weight limit and barely passed my APFT within 9 months of giving birth (nothing short of a miracle really). Though I passed my tests, I was not exactly my pre-pregnancy size. I attributed my new size to my post-birth “Mom” body.
Only 12 months after getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight, it was time for baby #2. I was determined not to gain 55 pounds, remembering how difficult it was to lose the weight afterwards with my daughter. Well, excuses, excuses, but being pregnant in the summer led to ice cream daily and all the steak and yummy summer food I could handle. I did meet my goal of not gaining 55 pounds, but still gained 50 pounds (and I was pregnant a week less the second time around). My son was born on September 1st, just in time for fall and the dreaded winter months where I would typically gain weight, not lose it.
During my pregnancy, a friend (my workout buddy) had been telling me about her husband’s new passion in CrossFit. I had never heard of it but learned that a ‘box’ had opened in Ashland, close to where I live. I committed to checking it out as soon as physically able. I did the trial class with Matt and was pretty smoked. I wasn’t even able to do a ‘regular’ push up at the time, which was embarrassing for me after so many years in the service. I signed up for Foundations when my son was 12 weeks old and decided it was time to try something new. The Foundations class was a great pace for me, learning moves and not worrying about weights (quite yet) but just form. Little did I know that my ass was about to get kicked in only a few short weeks.
I started Wodding 2x per week and immediately realized that my brain and body were not on the same page. My body was not doing the things I felt it should. I had always been stronger, faster and leaner than I was at that time. It was the single most frustrating thing in my life to mentally believe I was a ‘fit’ person and to have a body that wasn’t cooperating with this mental image. This alone drove me to work hard, cope with scaling because it was the appropriate thing to do, and work my ass off until I could eventually become someone to RX a couple WODs a week and be a person another new Mom might talk to about starting CrossFit. I also learned that the “Mom” body was a bunch of bull. Though my weight is not too far off from my previous adult ‘low’ of 132, the clothes I wore at that weight hang off my body. My size 8’s and 10’s are a thing of the past and I am replacing the clothes in my closet with 4’s, 6’s, smalls and extra smalls. I never thought I’d be that size, ever! I don’t think I was that size even as a teenager.
Now, 10 months later, I continue to push myself harder every month, setting specific goals to continue moving me towards faster times in METCON WODs, heavier weights in weight training and better technique in things like pull ups, toes-to-bar and double-unders. I WOD 3-5 times a week and strictly schedule my calendar to make sure I fit in my workouts each month. I never liked going to work out in the morning and now I am excited to get up and go to CFS on mornings that I am scheduled to do so. I love the community, motivation and support from my CrossFit peers and friends I have made. I love being inspired by some phenomenal athletes and I love that I have been able to inspire a few others out there. Most importantly, I love how I feel about my stronger body and the example I am setting for my children.
In November of 2011 I broke my leg, playing hockey, so I was searching for a way to jump-start my recovery. My Crossfit experience began the following March and it has transformed me.
There have been so many benefits:
- Since the end of competitive sports I have not been able to retain motivation for exercise. Now I can’t wait to go to Crossfit. I wish I could attend more.
- My cholesterol has dropped 18 points, (eliminating the need for medication).
- I’ve become part of a family of individuals who share common goals and care deeply about each other’s success.
- My mental health has improved dramatically: Personal boundaries have been crushed. Self-confidence has grown. Stress levels are at an all time low. I have focus and feel calm.
- I have no dietary limitations, yet I choose to eat healthier and drink significantly less. Because of this I feel amazing.
- My work life has benefitted dramatically due to an uptick in productivity.
- I’ve shed my body fat and replaced it with muscle.
- Every time I repeat a workout, I have been measurably better than the time before.
- The movements (handstands, kipping pull-ups, sledge hammers, tire flips, Etc.) are so much more fun than any standard gym exercises,
- I know the names of at least 75% of the members and have made many friends. That doesn’t happen at a standard gym.
How do these benefits manifest themselves? The secret sauce is the atmosphere created by the coaches and athletes. This competitive environment has a buzz about it when everyone’s adrenaline starts pumping. The countdown starts, “Athletes ready, 3-2-1, GO!” and it’s on. No one is done until the last athlete finishes. Grunts, groans, screams and loud music are followed by cheers, bells and congratulations. It’s a rush. My personal challenges have been flexibility and strength. Each and every coach has taken an interest to get me to a place where I can complete all of the movements today and at significantly more load than just a short eight months ago. To destroy a previous personal record is incredibly satisfying and motivational. I’ve come a long way and look forward to continual improvement for many years at Crossfit Synergistics. CC, MLE, Glenn, Matt, Joe and John- Thank you for a better me.
Crossfit – A Family Affair: It started out so simple: a quick email to ask Glenn if he did strength training for teenagers. On a quiet April morning, we met at “the box” which was still being painted and not yet opened for business. Looking back now, oh how naive we were…
The brief 15-minute meeting with Glenn extended to over 60 minutes of our teens’, Elizabeth & Nicholas, fitness being tested on squats, ring dips, and pull ups. We heard about core, intensity, WODs, GPP, nutrition, and the importance of sleep. The kids were sold… and I was completely intimidated. As a working mother of three, much of my recent exercise consisted of climbing in & out of the car to drive them somewhere. Sweating in a box with elite athletes and a skeleton on the wall was not in my comfort zone.
The kids loved it. Pretty soon, our 10-year old, Julia, signed up for kid’s crossfit too. But it wasn’t enough. Our son, Nick, was relentless in his quest for my husband, Nabil, and I to share the experience and to get fit. Somehow he talked us into the Introduction class and managed to keep a straight face while lifting me out of the car afterwards.
This first year at Crossfit has made a tremendous impact on our family. Dinner conversation revolves around that day’s WOD. We share a new language (snatches, cleans, wall balls, paleo), new friends (Fran, Murph, Angie), and celebrate when someone PRs. Crossfit helped Elizabeth, now playing D1 field hockey at UPenn, start off on the right foot: the only freshman to pass Penn field hockey’s required run test and the trainer’s choice to demo all the lifts because of her form. Nick passed his Crossfit Trainer Certification at 17. In addition to practicing handstands everywhere we go, Julia ran a 6:38 mile, missing the Middle School girl’s record by just 7 seconds with no running-specific training. Finally, together Nabil and I are down 50 pounds and 5 pants sizes. (It is the first time I have fit into size 8 in 20 years!) Nabil has gone from the green band to doing 13 strict pullups, and I’ve graduated from walking the 200m to running a sub-10 minute mile. Along with the measurable success Crossfit brings, there is a special camaraderie at the box that encourages and celebrates working hard.
As a side note, crossfit is contagious. When my brother came for an Easter visit, we talked him into the Introduction class as well. He and his wife, now members of a Crossfit in Florida, are also down a combined 55 lbs in the last year. Our story shows that anyone can do Crossfit. So, no excuses; it’s time to get moving!
September 2012to September of 2013.
59, boxy, and buxom is tired, borderline high cholesterol, and borderline high blood pressure. She decides to take action. A few weeks after this picture was taken, I began the search to reacquaint myself to a fitness routine. I found Crossfit Synergistics because my son Michael and his wife Meghan were already members here. My daughter, Denise also was participating in a cross fit community in Connecticut. I saw the results they had and heard their enthusiasm. What really drew me to trying it out was when I heard them talk about the diversity in membership. Both genders were well represented. There was a wide range of ages, capabilities, and performances. This was all the encouragement I needed to explore further. After all, if I didn’t like it there were many options out there.
And so, 59 becomes an athlete! Yes, for the first time ever I was being called an athlete. Ha, ha, ha. Off and on, all my adult life I have exercised. Early on, I did some running. I did aerobics, step up programs, nautilus, a little tennis, barbell free weights, yoga, and even had a personal trainer for several years. In all those years, no one ever called me an athlete. Until now.
I became an athlete when I walked through the doors of CFS in mid-October of 2012. I entered nervous and with trepidations. Would I fit in? Would the coaches accept my presence? Would the other athletes accept my presence? Would I be considered too old? Would I be able to participate without totally embarrassing myself, or my son?
One of my first successes was the 20” box jump. It felt so good being able to master that very early on. However, pudgy 59 had weak ankles. As a result, for months, I had to withdraw from all impact activities. No box jumps, only step ups, no running, no power lifts, no jump roping. So, one of my first successes actually became a goat!
And so: oops, there went the first head game. Nancy vs Nancy. It was tough to accept this set back. With the help of coaches, willing to modify WODS, so that I could get a good work out in spite of limitations, my mental attitude improved. Gradually, over the months, I have been able to work most of these activities back into my work outs. Still, overzealous workouts of high volume that include the above movements, will leave my left ankle in particular, talking to me, “Warning. Warning. Slow down. You push too much.”
There have been many head game hurdles to face. I don’t like some of my limitations. I know. Neither does anyone else. But really, when 20, 30, and sometimes 40 newbies come in and pass me by in a couple of weeks I’m tempted to really play the head case game. I’m learning to let those moments be short lived. They are not productive much beyond a little wallow. When to push, when to pace is the game I often play. Practice at making that decision is paying off at better calls.
So, after many months, with 59 gone, 60 is stronger than 59. 60 has normal cholesterol and normal blood pressure. 60 is 35+ a few more pounds lighter than 59 and yielding much thanks to two whole 30 initiatives and the steady maintaining of mostly Paleo clean.
60 can even run. Yes, a little slower than most but 59 found that a challenge. It is something I let go of in my early forties. I actually participated in a 5.2 mile race this summer with a decent time of one hour. I wave good bye to the limitations of 59 and younger. 60 is steadily improving form, is growing stronger, and gathering speed, endurance and agility. But, 60 still gets impatient when my body is often slower in making these gains than I would like it to be. Still, I am more confident in what I can do. I try to accept where I am while anticipating with relish where I am going. I don’t need to do a hoochie koochie dance and announce every little success as if I was the four year old showing off to Mommy and Daddy.
One year from my first week of cross fit classes at CFS I am about to participate in my third competition, fourth if you include the Opens. Although. Competing was never really on my mind when I began cross fit I have enjoyed the experiences immensely. What a thrill and eye opener these experiences have been. I get to measure my performance to the performances of others and again, measure my performance to my own expectations. I am not a BIG DAWG performer. Yet, no one here has ever made me feel that way.
As I move into year two my goals will evolve. I know want to master moves that I still haven’t got down yet. I want to be stronger, faster and have more endurance. Mostly, I want to show that being older doesn’t mean giving up on fitness.
Thank you so much, Glenn, John, and all the other coaches and athletes for you sharing your knowledge, your inspiring motivation, and overall support. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.You know the answers. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to all the people here who have contributed to my feeling welcome. The owners, coaches, fellow athletes have been so knowledgeable, supportive, and encouraging. As a result, I took to Crossfit like a fish to water. I love it. It is fun. It is hard work too. But, I love it. I love the people. I love the program that is like an IEP. (Individualize Education Plan). I love goal setting. I love learning about my own limits, physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual. I appreciate the support and feedback I get from the BIG DAWGS and little pups.
Before CrossFit Synergistics – Weight 200 Pounds, 37 Inch Waist
On CrossFit Synergistics – Weight 168 Pounds, 32 Inch Waist
My whole life I had played sports on a pretty regular basis, and tried to go the local gym at least a few times a week. I played hockey a few times a week, and would also try to squeeze in some cardio whenever possible. About 7 years ago, I started a new job where I worked 3pm-11pm. I had no idea that at this point my life would change for the worse. My whole schedule changed and I found myself not going to the gym as much, not being able to play hockey as much anymore, and eating later at night. It all concluded in May of this year, when I finally realized that I needed to make some major changed in my life style. I started going to a local chain gym, and found it extremely hard to motivate myself to simply walk in the door. After a month of getting no results, I realized that I needed to try something different.
I had heard of CrossFit before, but really had no idea of what I was getting into. I had heard from other people that CrossFit was simply for people who couldn’t or didn’t want to lift weights, or that it was all body weight exercises, and no strength training. People kept telling me the only way to get in shape was to go to the gym, lift weights, and do cardio. I heard CrossFit was for girls, and guys went to the gym and bench pressed!!
I remember being apprehensive and nervous walking in CrossFit Synergistics for the first time on June 18, 2012 to begin my foundations course. Before I left for CrossFit that day I hopped on the scale, and I weighed 200 pounds. It was kind of depressing seeing those numbers, and I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. I had no idea that walking through those doors would change my life so much. I was scared, out of shape, with no self-confidence that I would actually succeed in accomplishing my goals.
I met with Coach Chris to took my three foundations classes. His knowledge of CrossFit, and the Paleo diet was incredible. After the first foundations class I literally almost passed out on the floor of the box. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice, but I figured I would at least give it a try. I finished up my foundations classes, and was looking forward to my first real WOD. I completely changed my eating and shopping habits because I figured if I was going to do this I would give it 100%. I threw out every piece of junk food I had. I went to the supermarket, and shopped on the outside aisles just like Coach Chris had said. It was more expensive, but I was hoping it would be worth it in the long run.
My foundations class was only with one other newbie, so the day of my first WOD I was extremely nervous to be with people who actually knew what they were doing. Would they laugh at me because I was new and didn’t know how to do any of the moves? Would they laugh at how much weight I was lifting? Coach Emily was leading the class that day, and made sure I met everyone in the class. Although I realize now that even if she didn’t introduce me, that people would have done it anyways. It happened to be raining out that day, and the WOD was “Blake.” It called for weighted walking lunges. I remember Coach Emily saying that we could do them inside if we wanted to, or do them in the rain. I decided to do them outside with Coach Glenn and a few others. As Coach Glenn said “We embraced the suck!” At that moment I knew I had found the perfect place to change my life and get back into shape.
The next few months were not easy at all. I was often sore, and always tired! The WOD’s kicked my butt in a different way every day. My shoulders, my arms, my legs, my abs, and every other part of my body got sore. The varying workouts always kept me motivated, and if I wasn’t the Coaches and other people doing the WOD were always there for encouragement.
I think that’s what makes CrossFit different than going to your local gym is the Community. It amazed me that people cared so much if I could finish my WOD. There is always someone encouraging you even if they are in the middle of doing power cleans. If you are struggling, someone will be pushing you. If you think you can’t do one more burpee, someone will be next to you telling you that you can. Everyone may have their individual goals, but at the same time it always feels like they are pushing you to reach yours as well. It is now 3 months later, and I feel and look like a new person. I look forward to heading to the box 3 times a week. I get mad when I look at the WOD for a day I am not going and it’s something I am weak at. I make progress every time I walk through the doors and I can see and feel it. I sleep better now, and my acid reflux I had is gone. I take my dog for longer walks, and feel better after. I had to buy new shorts because the old ones were falling off, but to me that is money well spent. I wish I had found CrossFit Synergistics sooner.
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.
John, Glenn, Elizabeth, and Linda, I am not one to toot my own horn and this is in no way meant to be that, but I did want to say ‘thank you’ to all of you – and not just you, but to the coaches and everyone else in the box. I have seen blog posts and testimonials about lifestyle changes and weight lost due to CrossFit, but I wanted to share an achievement that I not only attribute to hard work both on and off the tennis court, but also the work I have done in the box.
The 2013 USTA New England Rankings were just published and I achieved my goal of being ranked #1 in New England for the 4.0 Division. Tennis and I have had a very long love-hate relationship for a lot of different reasons, but about a year and a half ago I thought very seriously about quitting for good. A good friend of mine is USPTA coach and I asked her if she would be up to the task to taking me on as a student. I committed to hours with her on and off the court. Tennis is a hugely mental game as well as being physical and therein was my biggest issue – I was my biggest enemy. CrossFit has taught me a lot about myself as an athlete. I started a year ago – just 6 months into my tennis rebuilding process as a way to change up my fitness routine. Well, it did a whole lot more than that for me. It changed the way I think, it changed the way I look at myself as both a person and an athlete. I challenge myself every time I walk into that box and I feel like I have embraced those challenges, no matter how uncomfortable they have made me. I have learned that it’s Me versus Me and not me versus anyone else around me. This is not like training for a marathon or a triathlon, this is a whole different ballgame. Thank you all for not only welcoming me into this great community, but for pushing me, laughing with me, and continually challenging me.
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.
Just wanted to drop a note to say “Thanks”. I was preparing for a week of wakeboard training in FL. It works like this: Every boarder gets three sets a day ranging from 15-20 minutes, depending on how tired they are, for 5 days. I was the only student to do 3 sets on ANY day, (I did 3 sets each of the 5 days). My sets were from 30-40 minutes each. I was not once out of breath. My day to day recovery was excellent Today, (the last day), I was paid a very high complement from the #1 wakeboard instructor on the planet: “I have never seen anyone go as long as you all five days, ever. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. It’s totally unreal and just doesn’t happen. You’re amazing.” I gotta tell you that felt real good. Most importantly my fitness allowed me to enjoy my time on the water and focus on drastically improve my boarding, (11 new tricks!). CrossFit made all the difference. Thanks to you and all the coaches, seriously. See you back in the box soon!
Hello Fellow Crossfitters.
I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my Crossfit Journey thus far…my story started November 5…my first day of Foundations. Chris made me feel welcome and reassured me that my fitness goal can be met no matter how daunting the seemed at the time.
In the past, I’ve tried various classes and/or gyms with little to no result. I found most simply boring.
In October, I had the opportunity to be in the same room asMelissa Palma and Emily Shanks. Being in that room with these two amazing ladies changed my life. I was inspired. I knew right then that Crossfit was for me.
Since joining on November 5, I have been welcomed into this amazingly unique community. I have learned more about my ability to dig deep when it counts – as a result of this new ability, I come to class each day ready to give the WOD everything I’ve got for that day.
Since November 5, I have lost 37 pounds. I have a bit more to go. And more importantly, I have been taken off my high blood pressure medication & I no longer need the pain medication that I took daily for muscle and joint pain!!
When I joined The Crossift community, I heard from family & friends: “that Crossfit is not good for you” & “those people who do Crossfit are bizarre” & the best so far is “omg…Crossfit is a cult!”.
To those people I say….this “cult” has improved my health significantly…so far 37 pounds lost, down 3 dress sizes, and no need for medications.
I feel great. I am getting stronger and stronger…bring on the “cult”!!!
This past month following the Paleo diet has been a challenge, but it certainly has been fun. In January alone, I lost 17 lbs. i lost weight and I didn’t have to starve to do it!!! That’s not to say that the first 10-14 day sugar withdrawal was fun…it was NOT!!! The mood swings were not fun for the family round me…but they survived….barely!
But, having made it thru the woods, I will continue the Paleo Diet thru February and see what kinds of gains I can make.
I have even been inspired to participate in the Games.
Crossfit has made such a positive impact on my life in so many ways. Most of the, are not visible but are just as important to me. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special community. You all inspire me everyday to continue on my fitness journey. And for that I love all you Crossfitters…thank you for being you!!
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 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 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.
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,
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,
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!!