'I have battled with being overweight most all of my adult life. I had lost 80 pounds once
with a well known weight loss program that had a support system. It worked, but over the next
many years it all just seemed to creep back on and I ended up gaining much more then I lost.
My job is a relatively sedate job, not much physical work.
In December 2015 my wife asked me if I would go to a Christmas dinner with her that the
CrossFit group was having, she said there would be people there that I knew. I went...
( I must preface this with I was told that this was not going to be a sales pitch), my wife
knew I laughed at the mention of EXERCISE. It was a fantastic dinner and the speakers were
better. Many things were said that hit me hard and got me to thinking. Another comment made
by a relative at a birthday party mentioned how his back discomfort that he had been experiencing for years was vastly improved since he had started CrossFit. My wife had been active with CrossFit for 6 months and I had noticed she had more energy, WANTED to do things, COULD do things that I used to be able to do. She never mentioned to me that she thought I should start CrossFit, I would have to be blind to not notice the changes it had made in her though.
Over the last 10 to 15 years I got an earful of comments that I was out of shape and my
health was being damaged quickly by being as overweight as I was. I heard it from my mom, wife, and of course my doctor. I knew they were all right, but I did not want to change my lifestyle. That is an important point, I DID NOT WANT TO CHANGE MY LIFESTYLE, no one was going to tell me what to do. All I had to do was listen to my body, my knees (already one arthroscopic surgery), my blood pressure was high, my blood work showed I had become a diabetic. I was taking medication for both.
We have just finished building a new home and I made sure all of the doors on the main floor
were 36 inch doors so that a wheelchair could get through them. I was planning on being disabled in retirement. Stairs started to scare me to go up. I always joked that I you can tell you’re out of shape if your out of breath when you get to the bottom of the stairs! This joke was staring me in the face as a reality. I dreaded getting out of car in the morning and climbing the 3 steps to get into the building that I work at. If I was on the floor in the living room at home I would wait for everyone to leave to get up off the floor, it was ugly.
I do not know what one thing broke the camels back to cause me to e-mail Doc and ask if I could join CrossFit, but I was on the road to poorer health and an earlier death. I was afraid of
making a commitment to working out. I did not think I had time in my week to schedule in a couple evenings a week for EXERCISE. I did not want to do it, but I decided that it was now or never. I had heard there was a boot-camp coming up. I thought maybe my email would bounce, boot camp would be full, Doc would laugh at me asking to join and delete my email..... I was hoping for any and all to happen.
Well, 10 minutes later I received a return email that basically stated “We need to talk”. Doc knew I was in no shape to even start boot-camp, so after talking and making a plan on how to start getting ready it all began! I had not even told my wife that I had sent the email. I did not want anyone to know that I was thinking about EXERCISE! I started with very simple things, 12 inch step ups, air squats, stretching, enough to break a good sweat and cause heavy breathing. Even starting in January I was not going to be ready for the May boot camp, I had to keep getting ready for the June boot camp. Another major change that had to happen was a change in my diet. My wife has been a great support for me on this. I started on the paleo plan and have been 90 percent on the plan since. (okay, okay I do have to have the tortilla chips with the salsa at the Mexican restaurant, and fajitas are good even without tortilla shells!). I started having my weight recorded once every other week at the doctor’s office; this was a great thing to keep me accountable for progress.
Well, June came around, and boot camp started. It was a tough thing to just show up at the first class, but I did. I survived it with several other men. There was something special at the end of the first class. It did not matter if you were younger or older, we were all wiped out! We all worked hard; we all did things our bodies did not want to do, new friendships were being born. We all got through boot camp and then like going from junior high into high school we started working out with the veterans! We were accepted and encouraged immediately. The new coaches we met were eager to help us improve form and fundamentals of the movements. I was and still am not able to do many of the movements, and this thing called SCALING was my salvation! Scaling allows you to build on the beginning movements of the more difficult moves, situps, pullups, running, whatever your biggest fear is scaling is your friend. My goal was to work hard enough that I finish up breathing as hard as anyone else, and still be alive, then I knew my effort level was on par for a good workout.
I started my weight loss 6 months ago, and started the CrossFit boot camp then regular class almost 3 months ago. I have lost 80 pounds, I am completely off the medications for high blood pressure, and diabetes. I started at well over 400 pounds and have a goal of around 240 pounds, so I am half way there. I was told that weight loss is 80% what you put in your mouth, and 20% exercise or activity. This may be true, but for me once I started thinking how many burpees it would take to work off a certain food item or drink it was not worth it to me. So my eating habits have changed significantly because I now see food and drink in a different way. With the other weight loss program that I used I did not do the exercise. I lost the weight, but when I did my back problems got a bit worse. I have not noticed this at all this time because the muscle groups that support the back are being rebuilt to support it properly.
My life is better. My wife is much happier with me. My children say that they notice I am not
grumpy all the time anymore (when your body always hurts it is hard to be happy). I had a
mid year review with my supervisor at work and he said that not only he, but many others had
commented that I was taking my job more seriously, my attitude had made a drastic improvement.
It is all a result of having made the decision to make a lifestyle change. There really is something to the saying a fit body causes a fit mind.
I have a long way to go, and I am looking forward to the challenges to come. I have noticed many improvements already. Just being able to get up off of the floor with dignity is a big thing for me. Another big thing is that I used to not be able to do a front lunge, now I can! What that means to me is now I can go to the outdoor ceremonies on Good Friday and not have to have help getting up all the time or sticking out because I am the only one standing. Functional movements! I can now work all day on Saturdays and not be done for the day at noon and have to sit for the rest of the day. I have plans on walking and seeing the sites at Yellowstone next year instead of sitting in the car because one mile was to far for me to walk. I am feeling better about my health and myself.
Not everything has been easy the past 6 months. The toughest thing for me is going to the workout. I worry about that pain. I fret to the wife about the effort. It still scares me every day I wake up and know I have a CrossFit date that evening. The other men and coaches at the workouts are great encouragement to me. I have made every class but one when work had me out of town. After every class I cannot think of anything else I would have rather done in the last hour, then on the way home I fear the pain, the soreness, and the next class! This is the best thing that I have done for myself, my family, my job, my friends, in decades and I will continue.
For those thinking about starting CrossFit, or some of our new athletes like me just starting our journey I have found great comfort in the fact that all I have to do is show up and do what I am told to do and things will change for the better! It is not easy, but there is nothing else I can
think of that I would rather be doing that gives the results that I am looking for.
I am looking forward to the improvements in the next 6 months and the new friendships.