As a pilot I will tell you that an aircraft’s performance is all based on numbers. What is the temperature? What is the pressure altitude? How heavy is my aircraft? How much runway do I have? These are just some of the things that tell a pilot what performance he can get out of his aircraft.
Because of my profession’s requirement for me to see a physician every six months it made seeing some of my personal results at the Fort easier. Just like flying, in the gym we also have numbers that can show us our performance. How much we lift? How long it takes to do a WOD? We can also look at our weight, resting heart rate, blood pressure, waist size, blood work, etc. So here are some of my “performance” numbers.
Before (May 20112) After (Dec 2012)
Medications Statins for Cholesterol NO MEDS
Weight 235 Lb 190 Lb
Resting HR 68bpm 47bpm
BP 120/80 105/65
Waist size 40 34
Total cholesterol 280+ 210 (Lower is better)
HDL 41 50 (Higher is better)
Triglycerides over 400, off the chart! 80 (Lower is better)
With the combined effect of the Paleo diet and the regiment at the Fort I am happy to report that my doctor took me off my statin medication because of major improvement in all the blood work numbers.
Okay, now back to the airplane metaphors. Performance numbers in and of themselves do not tell the whole story. There are the intangibles, how a pilot runs his cockpit and how smooth he/she is on the controls is not something that can be measured with numbers, but can only be felt and seen.
At the Fort we also have intangibles. For instance how much mobility somebody has, how well one performs a certain move, and most importantly how one feels. While it can be said that I’ve had some improvement in the “performance” numbers above, and I do have more energy and feel better then I have in years, I will also say that when it comes to many of the intangibles of fitness, I am just at the beginning of my journey. I know that the journey to true transformation will take a long time, but I am very happy to say that with the people here at the Fort, it’s going to be a great ride!
All the members at the Fort are extraordinarily encouraging. Many of them have also started from the same humble beginnings and are just as eager to go on the journey with you. The coaches are absolutely superb; they are focused not just on your “performance” numbers, but on your total fitness. While they might not know what it takes to land an airplane smoothly, they’re very good at detecting the small things that have to occur for you to reach your total fitness goals. From the enhancement of mobility, to the slight changes in technique for each movement, they are there for each and every member. They mentor you not only in your workouts, but in your nutritional needs and push you to achieve the best results. I travel quite a bit, go figure, and I will tell you that after visiting many CrossFit’s around the country, we have absolutely best group right here at CrossFit Fire.
I am a high school physical education teacher and I am embarrassed to say I could not do any of the activities that I asked of my students. I was active from a young age - playing basketball, running cross-country, trying the swim team and horseback riding. I even continued playing basketball in college. After I graduated, I continued to work out but the intensity was not the same. Exercising became less of a priority.
I was in denial about how much weight I was gaining and I always told myself I would start working out and eating better. I was FAT! I could not believe I let myself get like that. It was horrible socially; I was the person people would make fun of. I was disappointed in myself because I was a physical education teacher and I could not be a positive role model to my students.
I found CrossFit Fire in the spring of 2009. I worked on eating better over the summer and lost 30lbs right away. I started working out daily and I changed my eating habits even more after talking to Bill and Jennie about nutrition. I got involved with more activities at the fort and made some great friends.
In December of 2010, Bill starting programming rowing WOD’s to prepare us for the Chicago Indoor Rowing Championship in February 2011. I really enjoyed rowing and had no idea what I was getting myself into. Competition day came and I did not know what to expect. I ended up taking first in my heat and winning my age category; I took home a medal! I found something I was good at and I enjoyed it.
I have since trained and competed in the CRASH-B’s – The World Indoor Rowing Championship, which takes place in Boston. I placed second in the world with a time of 7:00.7. Bill created a training/rowing program for me, and we are in the process of training for the 2013 CRASH-B’s. I am proud to say that I have lost a total of over 80 lbs since starting my journey with CrossFit Fire and have become a Worldwide ranked rowing athlete!
My experience at CrossFit Fire has been and will continue to be life changing. I have made so many friends and the support from everyone is amazing. It is so great to hear people cheering for you during the WOD and high-fiving each other after. It doesn’t matter what level of fitness you are currently at because everyone supports each other. Bill and Jennie have created an environment that is inviting to everyone not to mention the knowledge and expertise they bring. I can’t thank Bill and Jennie enough for helping me become a better person both inside and out.
My whole life, my weight has gone up and down like a yoyo. Through the past thirteen years I have battle bouts of depression, had two back surgeries and gained quite a bit of weight. Then I would lose some of it then I would eventually back slide again. That was my cycle.
After finishing therapy from major shoulder surgery in October of 2010, I ballooned up 325 pounds. I found my myself in a familiar place. I was very depressed and basically fell off the face of the Earth. I hid from the world in hopes that no one would notice me. I started to hide behind my weight. I stopped going out socially. I basically would lock myself in my apartment and shut down. Finally I made the decision that this wasn’t who I was at all. I heard from our PTO president that there was a CrossFit gym in McHenry. She suggested that I should look them up because I would really enjoy CrossFit with my athletic background.
So February of this year, I called and talked to Jennie and made an appointment for an assessment and I stumbled into CrossFit Fire. I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for but I knew I needed something. I truly did not like what I saw in the mirror anymore. I thought "what the hell", CrossFit Fire was as good of a place to start as anywhere else. So, I went through the assessment and had a nice conversation with Bill about what CrossFit was all about. He seemed like a pretty cool guy and he really knew what he was talking about. So, he convinced me to join the February Ramp-up.
That first session I was thinking, “What did I get myself into?!” When I started I was SO OUT OF SHAPE! I barely made it through the workouts. I couldn’t even do ONE PULL UP! Since then I have come a long way. As it stands right now, I am weighing in at 270 pounds. That is total weight loss of 55 pounds in 6 months. I am stronger and in better condition than I have been in over 10 years. Not only all that, which is FAB-u-lous, but I have started to change on the inside. For a person who has battled depression his whole adult life, negative self-talk is something that I have a tendency to do from time to time. The crazy thing is, over the past 6 months it has reduced quite a bit. I tend to walk with my shoulders back and I hold my head higher.
Now all that is fine and good, but I would really like to dive into what makes CrossFit Fire such an amazing place… It is the community. This sense of community starts with Bill and Jennie. When they welcome you to your first night of ramp-up not only does Jennie do a little cheerleading/James Brown dance, but they also welcome you into their family as well. I truly look forward to seeing everyone everyday at the Fort. It is a special place to me… Almost like a sanctuary. Despite what is going on in my life or how bad things may seem, I walk into the Fort and by the time I walk out I am all smiles and y’alls again.
On a more personal note, I would like to thank Bill and Jennie for going above and beyond in everyway… As gym owners, coaches, but most importantly as friends. They truly care about the Fort and everyone that walks through the doors.
To all the members of the Fort… I thank you as well. You have no idea how much of an impact each and every one of you have had on me over the past six months. You have pushed and CONTINUE to push me everyday to become the best I can be. Because of y’all I dig deeper than I thought possible.
This is just the beginning… I can’t wait to see where I will be in a year! Giddy-up.
I had been out of shape and overweight for as long as I can remember. I was that kid who was picked on in gym class for most of my life. It continued on into my adult life but I grew to accept that it was who I was. I had tried several times to lose weight but it always seemed to come back. At my heaviest I weighed in at 276 pounds. I work as a firefighter and knew that there was no way I would be able to finish my career in the condition I was in. Now a husband and father of two I knew I had to do something. I was tired of feeling that way.
Some friends had told me about this place called CrossFit Fire and how great it was so I decided to check it out. As soon as I walked in I felt intimidated watching all these people in great shape working out. Turns out, they were the most positive and supportive people I had ever met. I completed my free workout and was hooked so I immediately signed up for their ramp-up. Once I was in ramp-up I knew I had made the right decision because working out was actually fun and I couldn’t wait for the next class.
Bill and Jennie worked with me to get through the workouts by helping me scale to my abilities. Pretty soon I was doing the full workouts with the others in class and was seeing results at an amazing rate. Then something happened that I didn’t expect. I actually started to feel good about who I was and the person I was becoming. I figured I would get in physical shape but never expected the mental change that took place. I was now more confident and mentally stronger than I ever thought I would be.
Bill and Jennie are truly amazing people because they don’t treat The Fort as a business but a passion. I am proud to call them both my coaches and friends. Their programming and nutritional advice is second to none and I truly believe that they along with everyone else at The Fort saved my life. When I started at CrossFit Fire I weighed in at 222 pounds and 23.5% body fat. I am now 175 pounds and have 8.1% body fat. At my annual physical, my doctor told me my cholesterol had dropped 100 points and that she had never seen that without medication. She also said I don’t have to try to lose weight anymore-words I never thought I would hear from a doctor.
I struggled as to what pictures to use in this testimonial because I still didn’t feel confident being half naked on the internet. After I saw my pictures my wife took compared to when I started CrossFit I decided I had to in order to show the progress. This was very hard for me to do. The solo clothed picture is from my heaviest. The other ones are from before I started at CrossFit Fire to present.
Thank again Bill, Jennie, Josh, Steph, Zach and everyone else at The Fort for your support and encouragement.
I started out writing a testimony about my weight loss and my journey at CrossFit Fire, but I don’t feel like that would do the last 7 months of my life justice. Instead, I would like to take you on a brief journey of finding my self-worth.
I struggled with body image my whole entire life. In February of 2011, I was way overweight, a size 14, was miserable with my life, had no confidence, avoided mirrors, and what’s worse than all of that, is that I was COMFORTABLE living in a miserable existence. I have an outgoing and fun-loving enough personality to mask all of that. When my awesome brother challenged me to fight this miserable existence, I resisted for a while. I finally caved and went on a 2 week “paleo” challenge in which I lost 7 pounds right away. My brother, at that point, pretty much forced me into checking out his class at CrossFit Fire. I went to one class, it looked pretty amazing, and signed up for ramp-up.
I remember walking in the first time thinking this would be a good experience, but that it probably wouldn’t lead to anything. I had so much fun in my Ramp-up that I decided to start going twice a week. Well, as I started getting stronger and loosing weight, I decided that over the summer I wanted to start going MORE! By summer, I was down 30 pounds and had set some lofty goals: unassited pull ups, double unders, RXd WODs, getting down to my goal weight, etc. By the end of summer, I was a size 4, achieved all those goals, and was SO close to my goal weight. I started the Better Body Challenge with the idea of honing in on my diet. Within the first week, I surpassed my goal weight (actually a pound lower)! And now, I think I’ve got another 10 pounds I can get off me. Plus, I’ve got some goals I’m working on to improve myself as an athlete.
When I started at CrossFit Fire, I figured I’d get results, but I didn’t think I’d get these results. I also did not expect to LOVE everyone at The Fort! I seriously look forward to going there and am extremely grateful to be a part of such a wonderful community! ANOTHER thing that happened that I didn’t expect, was the confidence I found in myself! I’ve done things hat I’ve never thought possible. I look in the mirror and how clothes fit and I’m happy! I’ve never felt this good in my life! Not only do I know I look better, but I FEEL better physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I finally feel confident in who I am as a person and can walk with my head a little higher and it feels awesome! I couldn’t have come this far without everyone at Fire! Thanks to everyone for forcing me out of my miserable existence and into a life filled with happiness and hope for a brighter day and better times ahead.
Two babies in less than 2 years and a lot of excessive “baby weight”; I was in the worst shape of my life. I knew that I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what to do. I had gone to a few different gyms in the past, but it just wasn’t for me. A few friends of mine had been doing CrossFit, so I figured I would give it a try. My husband and I signed up for a free intro class in January of 2011. We went early and caught the end of Team Saturday, and I thought that I would never be able to do that. Written on the board were the basics of the Paleo diet and again I was skeptical.
After completing the intro class, I felt so inspired. My husband and I signed up right away. Jennie encouraged us to take pictures of ourselves so we can “see” the results. I was so embarrassed that I took the pictures myself using a timer and hid the camera so no one could see them. I told myself that my goal would be to lose 20 pounds by my birthday, which was 5 months away. Much to my surprise, at the end of ramp-up (2 weeks) I had already lost 10 pounds.
Now 5 months later, my birthday is less than a week away and I am down 32 pounds. I have so much more energy than I ever thought I would have chasing two children around. After 2 months at CrossFit Fire, I was able to do an unassisted push-up and I recently completed my first unassisted pull-up.
Without the support from everyone at CrossFit Fire, I would not have realized my goal. Getting up to workout at 5:30am everyday was a challenge at first, but the GYG makes working out so much fun. Thank you Zach for all of your guidance and encouragement. Thank you Jennie and Bill for making me feel so welcome and giving me the tools to live my life to the fullest.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am most proud to present Dad's 90 day result pictures! He's been coming to the Fort for over a year now, but over the course of the 90 day Better Body Challenge, he really dialed in his nutrition. I'm hoping Dad will write his own testimonial so he can tell you in his own words about his journey of losing weight, and getting healthy in his fabulous 50's!
Dad's 90 day progress