WHY WE DO THIS.
Valentines Day 2009, Saturday morning 8am, my phone rings. It was my sister from Pittsburgh. A feeling of dread, she would only call at this hour if it were something terribly good, or terribly bad. The latter, our Father, out with his wife and another couple for dinner the previous night were struck by a drunk driver. My father was in a coma, his wife died at the scene. I was by his side within seven hours. I spent the next 41 hours reading to him until his extraordinary heart, quit beating.
My Father was among many things, an elite athlete his entire life and still in that category at the age of 69. He was still setting and breaking records in his sport of choice, running, and occasionally, biking. At the time of his death, he was the Florida State Champion in the 5k, and still held a state record from his high school days back in the 1950’s. After winning the Florida State Games, and being invited to run for the National Championship to be held on the Stanford University Campus, my humble father was beaming with anticipation. Nothing would stand in his way of becoming the National Champion. Well, almost nothing.
On his deathbed, I made an oath that I would do whatever I could to run that course in his honor, certainly not as gracefully or as quickly, however he would run that course. A few days after his death, I contacted the chairman of the games, explained the situation to him and voiced my request. It was brought in front of the board, and unanimously approved that I be permitted to run in my fathers honor. In fact the Games, may include an honorary division from that day forward.
All was going according to plan, except, there was a catch. I had been so caught up in work, family, and life that I had neglected my fitness. I was an out of shape, 50-pound overweight, 45 year old man who hadn’t run across the street, let alone a 5k race in years.
Back home I hit the gym, renewed my membership to the YMCA, and began to train. Through my own prescription of “variety, functional movements, non-functional movements, and intensity”, I was able to shed 45 pounds of fat, increase lean body mass, and run the race at Stanford in three short months. I started dead last, so I wouldn’t interfere with the athletes who were the best our nation has to offer, the top two athletes from each state. Something happened to me as I ran through the Stanford Campus. This was like the Olympics, in that there were events happening simultaneously all over the campus. I ran past 70-year-old pole vaulters, power lifters, tennis players and swimmers. I was in awe of what I was seeing, and became inspired.
Once home from California, I hit the gym with a new level of intensity. I started to really push myself, and my body responded quickly. I started working on Olympic lifts, jumping onto plyo boxes, and jumping rope. I became involved with a “Speed and Agility” class ran by a retired Paratrooper. He taught them how to jump rope, and to do so quickly. I came in to class and over time introduced plyo-metrics, trx bands, kettle bells and battle ropes. These young athletes were starting to really make progress, they were excelling at their sport(s), and increasing their fitness levels. My body and abilities changed so much that some of the guys from downstairs in the weight room had joined us. My journey had begun. These athletes looked to me for guidance in technique and drive to become better, fitter, faster, stronger.
I had feelings of great accomplishment when one of these individuals had attained a goal, or changed their life through fitness. I sat my family down and asked them how they would feel if I were to embark on a journey in the fitness arena. It was met with a resounding “hell yes” and all the support one could hope for. I read books, magazines, websites, and became a certified personal trainer with A.C.E. During that time period, I came across the CrossFit main site and integrated their information into new work out plans for myself, and my ever-increasing YMCA family. The Y was very lenient, I was allowed to bring in bumper plates, chalk, ropes, kettle bells, rings, chains, and even a sled. We were putting together some great workouts, and inspiring others. People would watch me do handstand pushups, box jumps, and then head to the rack to bench 365. Later, I’d see them box jumping, or trying handstand push-ups, it was very motivating for me. People would tell me that my intensity and ability to change my work outs daily, have inspired other Y members, young and old, to reevaluate their fitness goals.
Members weren’t the only ones who noticed my vigor, the head of the fitness department did as well. She had asked me to lead a “boot camp” class. Through all this, I realized what I wanted and needed to do; to open my own training facility. The CrossFit method and belief systems are a perfect fit for what I want to bring to my community. I have visited CrossFit boxes all across the country, have taken the good ideas and filtered out the bad, and built you the best CrossFit gym that I could dream of…