I was a pretty active kid when I was growing up, riding bikes all over the neighborhood, playing soccer in the neighbor’s backyard, or running everywhere. I think most kids are like that. We just go, go, go, and never stop. I look at my two little ones now, and try and think back to those times, thinking, did I really have this much energy when I was little?
I was a skinny kid in high school, yet I ate like a football player. I remember coming home from school, and basically having a pre-dinner meal, and then having something to eat after dinner as well, and yet, I weighed barely 140lbs. As a kid, I grew up very picky in my eating habits, sometimes having to have a completely separate meal from what everyone else was having. I therefore grew up, only liking a limited variety of food, and a lot of it wasn’t the healthiest of choices.
As I continued on into College, my eating habits got worse, mainly because I was on my own, and didn’t feel like I had the time to make my own food. I also started becoming less active than I had been, other than rock climbing once in a while. I had tried to start a weight lifting routine, but quickly gave up on that after having some headache problems that I could not work out. So at that point, I slowly started gaining weight.
Once I graduated college, I moved, and started a job. Again, as a single person, trying to do a good job at work, and enrolling in evening classes to work on a master’s program, I found myself eating out a lot, and not eating good food. I was at this point, up to 165lbs, when I got married. I tell you what, my woman can cook, and since we dated for so long, we knew what each other liked and disliked, as far as food went, and I loved it. It wasn’t bad food, but it was so good, I just ate and ate it like there was no tomorrow. I also had bad habits at work, having snacks and drinking sodas, sometimes 2-3 a day (no, not diet). With a new wife, and eventually two little ones, I found less and less time for physical activity as well.
About 3 years before our first child, I got interested in trail riding (mountain biking). I thought this would be the perfect way to get back into shape, and lose some weight. It seemed to help a little bit, when I committed to at least 3 rides a week, but it seemed more like it was just maintaining my weight, because I still ate the same, if not worse, because I was hungry when I got home. Eventually, we moved again, and lost some of the great mountain bike trails that we used to have, so the motivation was not there anymore, until a coworker got interested in it. We started riding, but just did not have the time to ride more than a couple times a week, or on the weekend.
After a couple of years, I was changing jobs, due to being laid off, and was a little stressed about that change. I was up to 210lbs, and hated the way I felt. I had gone through changing wardrobes probably at least 3-4 times over this last 7-10 years, and even those clothes were getting tight.
A coworker (Josh Dresher), at my previous job, had been hounding me about trying a new workout program, called CrossFit. I just wasn’t really that interested, because I had mountain biking, and that was my outlet. I have to admit though, he lost some 30-40lbs, over the time that we worked together, so something had to be working for him. When I changed jobs, Josh informed me that he was opening his own CrossFit gym, with a friend of his, Aaron Schupp. I didn’t think much of it, but thought I’d humor him by showing up, and seeing what it was all about.
I did one workout, and thought I was going to die. I couldn’t believe how intense it was. We were doing some floor drills, and after about 10-15 minutes, I was thinking, man, this is a pretty tough workout. Then the coach (Craig Descoteaux) said, alright, now it is time for the workout! I was like, “You’re kidding me, right? That was just the warm-up?”
Anyway, I decided to come back, in the following days, partly, because it was free for a few days to try out, and see if I liked it. I have to admit, while I was doing the workouts, I often asked myself, why I was coming back, yet I still did. CrossFit is difficult, draining, and challenging, especially just getting started. It took a lot for me to want to come back, knowing what I was going to go through. However, after a few weeks, I noticed a major improvement. I had already lost 10lbs, and had not even really changed the way I was eating at all. Now I could see what Josh was talking about all this time.
A few more weeks went by, and I still felt like I was making progress, but the weight wasn’t coming off like it was at first. I spoke to coach Craig, and he mentioned that they had a couple of nutrition plans that complement the program. I looked into them, but didn’t really think they were for me, but I did want the improvement to come faster. I ended up reading more about the Zone, and slowly started integrating parts of it into my diet. It took some 4 weeks to convert about 80-90% of my eating to the Zone. Once I got this far, combined with working out between 3-4 times a week, I started seeing the weight come off again. The Zone still allowed me to have a lot of the foods I loved too, but also integrated fruits and vegetables into my diet, more than they had ever been.
After about 4 months from when I walked in the door at the gym, I was down to 185lbs, that’s 25lbs lost in 4 months, now going about 5-6 times a week to the gym. It is now about a month later, and I am at about 178lbs, roughly 32lbs down from my highest weight. I have completely transformed, and feel like I’m in better shape that I have ever been, except maybe than when I was a little kid. Add to that, the extra energy gained from eating healthier, and working out, and I have more energy to do other things I love, like biking, playing with my kids, or just hanging out, instead of watching TV, or passing out on the couch—unless Coach programmed a killer workout for the day! I now feel like my days are packed with a full day of life, where nothing goes to waste. Life feels better when you are healthy and not lugging around extra baggage all the time.
I frequently get asked, “What are you doing to lose that much weight?” I respond with CrossFit, and eating healthier. They are usually surprised by the fact that I spend between 5-6 hours a week working out, and that is it. What is even better, is when I tell them that the intense portion of the workout only lasts between 8 – 30 minutes, and that the other part of that hour, is spent going over technique, warming up, and stretching at the end. I often follow that up with, “Why would I want to spend 45 minutes to an hour running on a treadmill, and hardly see any results?”
What is special about CrossFit Eclipse? There are a number of things. The owners, Josh and Aaron, are passionate about their business, and how it transforms people’s lives. You will find them at the gym almost every day, working out, helping others, or just there to listen to your questions. They also picked, in my opinion, the most amazing, full-time coach ever. Craig makes the gym a place that you want to go to improve yourself. He listens to your concerns, helps you to improve your technique or form, and encourages you to break the limits you thought you had. He is not afraid to put you in your place, if you are not doing things correctly, and will require you to prove to him that you can do things the correct way, before you ever get to move up in weight or reps. Craig likes to see people come back, not get hurt, and have to take off because of an injury. You won’t find a more dedicated coach, and you will find him at the gym from before 5am, to after 8pm most days. Lastly, the other athletes make the experience amazing. You end up making friends, talking about different things, and then helping each other out by breaking records and encouraging one another. One of the best parts, is that my wife, Stacy, recently started going CrossFit as well, and having her support and encouragement has been amazing.
I found a quote the other day that I think applies really well to CrossFit, and to my personal experience. “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong
The workouts are very intense, and sometimes I just have to tell myself, the faster I do this, the sooner it will be over, and I can rest. Sometimes that is all I need to make it through. Otherwise, a little nudge from coach, such as, “That bar isn’t going to lift itself,” or “Troops are dying, get moving,” can do the trick as well. It is more a mental game than your body limiting itself. If you can keep a positive attitude, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish, and Craig reminds us of this almost every day we show up.