An Open Letter To Those Considering Fitness in 2015

Hey everyone! David here. Rich and Aimee let me take over the site for the day. Trusting, aren’t they? I asked for some time as a way to say thank you for what they’ve helped me to accomplish this year. For those of you that are, or have been, a part of the East 80 family, you know what a special place this is. Sure it’s a place to workout, but it’s so much more than that.

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In a few weeks I will roll up on my one year anniversary here. But it will also be a year that I’ve been on my fitness journey. Prior to last January I’d never been healthy or fit, at least not since the 5th grade. I didn’t play organized sports, run, lift weights, or anything else. Over the years my weight slowly and steadily crept up. In October of 2013 I was on a scale at the doctor’s office and it read 283.5 pounds. Even at 235 lbs, I carried the weight fairly well and didn’t feel like I was huge. At 280+ I was fat. Way fat.

I had a hard time finding clothes without shopping at a big and tall store. I was wearing size 46 pants and 3XL shirts (currently at 36 pants and large shirts which is what I wore in high school). My back hurt, my knees hurt, and walking up the stairs at home was tiring. I started developing health issues and saw more in my future. At 37 years old I had started to worry about diabetes, heart disease, and all other sorts of issues related to obesity. Walking and standing at conventions was exhausting. Fitting into airplane seats wasn’t exactly fun either.

Like I do every year in December, I decided enough was enough. January usually meant going to the gym. I didn’t mind the weight lifting, but I hated cardio. Lifting alone didn’t help me lose weight and I wouldn’t see any weight loss so after four or five weeks I’d quit. This was the cycle for years.

Why Crossfit?

A few weeks prior, my wife had started Crossfit. She’d been introduced to it by a friend and knew someone that was a member at East 80. Before this I’d never really heard anything about it. I knew a couple of people that had lost weight this way, but I knew nothing about the workouts or methods. After a little research online, I thought this might be the best thing for me because of how they address conditioning.

There are no treadmills, elliptical machines, or stationary bikes. No 45 minute runs. Sure they run, but even my lazy, out-of-shape self could handle 400 meters at a time (oh my, was I ever wrong). I liked lifting weights so surely I’d like lifting weights for cardio much more than running. I decided to give it a go for 90 days.

Why East 80?

Honestly, I chose East 80 for two reasons. 1) My wife was already a member. 2) The cost was better than other places in town, especially considering the couple’s discount. There are at least 5 Crossfit boxes in our small town. How do you choose? Sometimes God leads us where we need to be is all I can say.

Why I stay at East 80 is a much different story. You can read about my first day in this article. I was right about the cardio. It’s so much better at Crossfit (at least for me coming from a background of NO cardio endurance at all). It’s not easy, but it’s doable at any fitness level.

Even though I thought Coach Aimee was trying to kill me during my Elements introduction classes, I was hooked at day one by the excellent coaching (see article referenced above). Rich and Aimee aren’t a couple of people who fell into Crossfit and decided to open a box a year after picking up weights for the first time.

Coach Aimee explaining the workout while Brian makes sure Coach Ham pays attention.

Coach Aimee explaining the workout while Brian makes sure Coach Ham pays attention.

As head coach, Rich brings decades of formal education, experience, and practical application as a strength and conditioning coach. He is constantly reading and studying to improve his craft and learn new things that can improve our programming. Aimee also has a background in coaching and is a natural motivator who loves serving others. I’ve seen people from other boxes visit East 80 and almost all comment on how good the programming and strength training are. They’re right.

They also have backup in Crossfit Level I coaches Cameron, Brandy, and David. Beyond that, everyone here is a coach. Some of the best coaching moments have been from my workout partners explaining techniques or motivating me to get those extra few reps I’d never finish on my own.

It’s Not A GloboGym

I paid thousands of dollars to a globogym and all they did was point to the weights and say “have at it”. With Crossfit, I essentially have a personal trainer three or four days a week. And I show up. My cost per workout is a fraction of what it was compared to years of paying a gym membership and going twice per year.

The box differs from a gym in several ways. The gym wants you to pay your membership, but never show up. If everyone paying dues at the gym showed up once a week, the place would never have enough equipment or space. Stop showing up at East 80 for awhile and someone will reach out because you’ll be missed. We are a family and everyone wants to see you succeed.

It’s not about ego. When I was the last one to finish the workouts, everyone else was cheering me on. Your only competition is the person in the mirror, which is odd because we have no mirrors. The goal is to be the best you can be today, and be a little better tomorrow.

You don’t have to figure out what exercises to do. Your workouts are all planned and programmed for you to help accomplish your goals in an efficient and scientific manner. All you have to do is show up and put in the work.

20140704_e80As the fattest guy in the place I felt self-conscious. That was because of me. Every person I met was welcoming, encouraging, and helpful. I tried putting myself down, but they wouldn’t have it. I felt terribly out of place the first couple of months. Learning to interpret the whiteboard and understand what was about to happen was intimidating at first, but someone was always there to explain, demonstrate, coach, and encourage.

Within a couple of months my confidence grew. I accepted my weaknesses and worked on improving each one. Three months in and I entered my first Crossfit competition! I finished dead last. I was fine with that for two reasons. 1) I entered a fitness competition after 30 years of almost zero physical activity. 2) I finished. And I survived.

Progress Has Come Faster Than I Expected

I can now do snatches, overhead squats, and walk on my hands. I can climb an 18′ rope, flip giant tires, and deadlift way more than my bodyweight. I couldn’t do a lap around the building when I started, and I recently completed a workout that included four 400m runs. That’s a mile folks! I still struggle with double unders, but I can rip through 200 singles easy. I can hit 50 kipping pull ups in a workout and I’m dangerously close to being able to do strict pull ups.

Left 277 lbs   Right 214 lbs

Left 277 lbs Right 214 lbs

In the process, I’ve lost over 60 pounds net weight (my wife has lost much more!). I say net because I’ve actually lost approximately 71lbs of fat and gained 10lbs of muscle since January 6th, 2014. You will have the opportunity to get your bodyfat checked if you choose.

Come For A Visit

If you think 2015 might be the year you get get in shape, do it. The tools and resources are right here waiting. You can even come participate in a free class to see what it’s all about. Make a 90 day commitment and see what happens. Your membership is month-to-month so you don’t have to worry about being locked into some contract.

Time will continue to pass. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I am so thankful I’m not where I was at this time last year.

Forget the improvements in my health and fitness and I’m still a better person because of the people I’ve met, friends I’ve gained, and lessons I’ve learned. I look forward to meeting you and working out with you in 2015 as we do this together.

David Christian
East 80 Crossfit Member

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