Fitness came into my life at an early age. I grew up in Chicago and was always playing with the neighborhood kids. We would be outside every day playing football, baseball or riding our bikes. It wasn’t until junior high, when I started wrestling, that I realized intense sports helped become an avenue for coping with emotional issues in my life. My parents were going through a divorce and we moved to Kansas, so wrestling was my outlet for the disappointment and anger I had in my life. It was also a way to make new friends in a new state. I have a twin brother, as well as an older brother, so there was also plenty of competitive opportunities just in our daily life!
After high school, I joined the Army and physical fitness became a daily activity. It was then I realized that even though I was was smaller than most kids, I was pretty strong. When the drill sergeants were looking for a leader for the platoon from a field of 250 guys, I was the only one who maxed the physical fitness test (max push-ups in 2 min, max sit ups in 2 min and a 2 mile run). I could not believe I was the only soldier to do this! Along with the thrill of that accomplishment, I was then promoted to platoon leader and got the keys to the drill sergeant’s office! It is one of my best memories and showed me that hard work really does pay off.
After the military I entered the civilian world and struggled to find the same intense workouts I was used to in wrestling and the Army. I turned to half marathons when VW, who I was working for at the time, was giving out free spots for the Dallas marathon since they were a sponsor. I ran my first half marathon with my twin brother and it was such a great feeling of accomplishment. It also made me wonder what else I was holding myself back from? I continued running 4 more half marathons and even went back to run Dallas and had personal best finish at 1:45! I started to dream about running the Boston Marathon and found a few races that were downhill marathons, to have better odds to qualify. But after reading about those races and talking to folks that had run them, I learned how those down hill races can really take a toll on your quads and calves. A friend of mine suggested I try CrossFit to strengthen my legs and become better prepared before tackling a full marathon. I didn’t try it out then, but the recommendation stuck with me.
After my completing my last half marathon, I changed markets with VW, moved to KC and began traveling a lot. It’s very easy when you’re on the road to eat poorly, so I tried to work out in the hotel gyms, but too often I wouldn’t be able to after getting in really late after my dealer visits. I started putting on a lot of weight and got all the way up to 187 lbs! Not good when you are 5’4”. I remember the doctor telling me I was a heart attack risk. My cholesterol was super high and I felt horrible. It was at that time I moved to Denver in 2015.
After hearing those words from the doctor, I started to think about my dad who had a heart attack at 41 and was dead for a few minutes before the doctors massaged his heart and brought him back. It freaked me out. I was almost 38 and decided once and for all that I needed a lifestyle change, not a diet. That’s when I started working on my nutrition first by drinking Herbalife shakes and I started running again. I ran the BoulderBolder and really enjoyed getting back into shape. The problem was I was still missing that intense emotional release that I had fallen in love with as a wrestler and soldier. I remembered what a friend had said about getting my legs stronger at CrossFit. That’s when I looked up CrossFit gyms and found Crossfit Modig. I read all the reviews and decided to give it a try. I remember talking to one of the coaches in July 2016 and he asked me what I had been doing for fitness. I told him mostly running and weight lifting, so he excitedly got me engaged immediately into the classes.
I will never forget the first MetCon (metabolic conditioning). It was a partner workout with 15 calorie sprints on the Air Bike. Basically you sprint to 15, jump off and your partner does the same and you alternate until you reach 300 cals. All the other partner teams had finished and I was the last one on the bike…for a very long time it felt. Everyone in the box circled me and started cheering me on. I couldn’t believe it. I had never been a part of a fitness family where everyone wants to see each other succeed. I fell in love with CrossFit on that day and it’s been an amazing two years. I’ve met so many people and developed many long term friendships.
I have had some awesome results getting back down to 159 lbs and adding a lot of muscle in my legs and shoulders. As a wrestler I never worked my legs, so it has been fun to feel my pants get tighter in my quads 🙂 Mentally I have also been able to overcome stressful times at work and home and overall feel like a more positive person. CrossFit has shown me that I can compete at a high level regardless of age and height. It has also surprised me to see so many personal bests on weight lifting and workouts… again proving that hard work pays off.
Long term for me, CrossFit is about being able to be mobile when I am elderly and be able to lift my grandkids. I am married to my wife Shannon and we have three kids, so I definitely don’t want to live my golden years struggling to walk or move. I think that attitude gives me balance so that I approach my workouts with that attitude versus thinking I want to be on top of the leaderboard or I have to hit a certain max. This approach has helped me see better results because I take the rest I need to recover and has kept me injury free. I plan to be a part of the CrossFit Modig community for a long time and am so grateful I found it more than two years ago!