It was June 2009, I was about to turn 50 years old, and although I would tell people I did not know what I weighed, I knew that it was over 500 lbs. as I had weighed myself on a scale at a scrap metal recycling center which was the only scale that I could find that would weigh me. Other than I had run out of every excuse in the book that you can think of as to why I was not working out, I do not know what “clicked” as the say and motivated me to begin working out again and take responsibility for the shape that I was in. Yes I said working out again, at one point in my life I was in decent shape when I was working as a Baltimore City Police Officer. Retiring from that career to start another, taking up cooking (and eating) as a hobby and all of the other “reasons” people get fat quickly fell into place pretty easily for me.
Thus began my journey to find a way to get into better and healthier shape. Like many folks I had what I needed at home, a quality treadmill and the infamous Bow-flex system. I would leave work at the end of the day with the desire and best intentions to use them when I got home. After an hour commute in traffic that motivation went right out the window. The place that I work at even has a state of the art gym with all of the latest and greatest machines and the associated mirrors etc. I decided that if this was going to work I was going to need the guidance of someone who knew what they were doing and was willing to give me a chance.
I did some serious internet searching. Talked with friends in the military and law enforcement fields about what worked for them. I decided that the CrossFit methodology would be my path to redemption. I found CrossFit BWI via the internet I contacted Ryan via e-mail and explained my current condition and asked if he thought he could help me. I still laugh at his response, “I love a challenge and you’ll be a big one, come on in”.
So, I walk into the box my first day expecting to be greeted by stares from folks with looks on their faces of, what’s he doing here? What I got was totally the opposite. Several people walked up introduced themselves and wished me good luck on my quest for fitness. Then I meet face to face with Ryan who starts right in with “If you can do a squat, we can get started with your first workout” and away we went. At the end of that first hour I was feeling better than I thought I would and that this CrossFit stuff was not has hard as I had heard it was. That is when Ryan advised me to make sure I held on to the rail on the way down the steps. I thought what’s he talking about? It’s only three little steps. Yeah, I took the first step down and my legs started to have a mind of their own. Ryan just smiled and said told you to hold on. Once I got home and had to almost crawl out of my truck to get into my house I thought, what did you get yourself into?
Well the one on one WOD’s with Ryan started at two a week, then progressed to three a week after a month and eventually I joined the group WOD’s. Ryan not only showed me how to exercise, but how nutrition and eating right, not dieting would help me in my quest. Zone, with occasional trips into the world of Paleo have not been as difficult as I thought it would be. The entire time I got nothing but encouragement from those I ran into at the box each time I was there. Once I started the group WOD’s and started to meet even more folks and other trainers the encouragement, assistance and guidance has continued.
Well, 17 months and 155 lbs lost later. I now hit 4 WOD’s a week and can’t dream of missing one if I can avoid it. I am still fat, but am looking forward to losing an additional 100 lbs to get to my goal of getting down to 250lbs. I am stronger than I have been in years, my Doctor who cleared me to exercise but thought that I was crazy for attempting something like CrossFit has taken me off of almost all of the medications I was on. I feel and move better than I have in God knows how long. People that have not seen me in a few years swear that the only way I lost that much weight was by having had stomach by-pass surgery (it was being considered) and don’t believe that I involve myself in the kind of workouts that CrossFit does. The trip has not been easy but has been worth every bump, bruise, stiff muscle and charlie horse along the way.
My wife, Bonnie, who had never done any organized workouts, after hearing about the friends that I was making and seeing the changes that I was going through has even joined CrossFit BWI. Starting out working one on one with Shannon and eventually doing the group WOD’s. we have made some great friends and enjoy it when we can make it to a WOD together. She has even beaten me on some of the timed WOD’s!
Many people tell me that what I have done is “inspiring” or that I am a “role model” for what I have done. I have trouble seeing myself in this light as I feel that all I am doing now is what I should have been doing all along and was very late in waking up to that fact.
So if you ask me why CrossFit and why CrossFit BWI? My answer is, it works, so why not? If you think that you are to old, to fat, to out of shape. Don’t have the time, energy. I won’t be accepted by the kind of people that workout there etc. etc. etc. Don’t let me be an inspiration but rather an example that you can do it and it can be done. Everyone here is only waiting for you to step through the door and tell them what you are trying to accomplish and they will do everything they can to make you successful.