Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dedicated To Change

I can't help but share Jon's story with all of you. He represents everything that us coaches and Crossfit Central have dedicated our lives to. Jon made no excuses, got sick and tired of being sick and tired and did something about it. Jon's story has inspired me and I know will do the same for you. Here it is.

Before the change.

When I started CrossFit a few months ago, my 30th birthday was only a few months away, and I set a goal to start my 30’s as fit as when I entered my 20’s. It was a lofty goal since I was already in the worst physical shape that I had ever been in my life at 200 pounds and 24% body fat. Before starting CrossFit, I had let myself fall into a very inactive lifestyle and an overall unhealthy way of living. I consumed my life with negative thoughts, ate out for every meal with no regard to what I was putting in my body, and had lost focus on my life goals. I had been sitting around thinking for months how I could change the course of my life, and when I stepped through CrossFit Central’s doors, I knew that I had found something that could possibly fulfill what I had been looking for.

My first day of On-ramp at CrossFit with Crystal Nelson is one that I will never forget. By the end of the class, I was collapsed, sick, and unable to complete the introductory exercises. I felt defeated and out of energy to the point where I thought I would be unable to continue. My mind set was still negative, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to make the changes to my life that needed to be made, but I picked myself up and kept coming to class. Coach Crystal’s motivation and vast knowledge about exercise and nutrition helped start filling my head with the tools I would need to begin my journey of improvement and was exactly what I needed to kick start myself into a whole new way of life. I started making connections with the people in my classes and with the other coaches at the gym, and began to experience the whole community aspect that CrossFit Central provides. Since I was in such bad shape when I started CrossFit, I decided to repeat the introductory On-ramp course for another month, but I also decided to add the CrossFit Kettle Bell classes into my weekly work outs as well. I attribute the Kettle Bell classes and coaches Randal Setzler and Chris Hartwell to how I was able to drastically start seeing significant gains in my health and overall fitness. I found myself becoming more engaged in my everyday life and waking up early each morning with renewed energy. After On-ramp, I began taking CrossFit classes with coach Zach Thiel. Zach is true motivator. His attitude and personality are some of the major reasons I work to get better every class.

Over the past few years, I have tried fad diets, personal trainers, and box gyms with no real results or determination towards a continued commitment. One of the things that I feel sets CrossFit Central apart from my other experiences are the coaches and people that work to make this place succeed. All of the coaches bring different backgrounds and skills to the gym and are genuinely dedicated to improving peoples’ lives. They are constantly communicating new ideas and working to learn new things to help people meet their goals. Their guidance comes not only through the classes they teach, but through the community and family-like atmosphere they bring with them to work every day.

One of the major things I learned from my time at CrossFit, it is that you can only get so far with the workouts that you do while in class. A lot of what you can gain out of CrossFit comes from the diet and nutritional changes you implement into your life. After my first month of On-ramp, I had reversed my diet from fast food and burritos to a strict Paleo diet. I already started feeling better and seeing improved results in my workouts and mental state of mind, but I knew there was so much more to learn, and I still had goals to meet. My next step was to implement the Zone blocks into my daily diet as well. I cannot thank coach Big Mike enough for proactively taking me aside and helping me map out the best zone plan for my body and goals. After my third month of pursuing these new food goals, I felt as if I had hit a plateau in regards to my weight loss. I then started the Lean Turkey Challenge put on by CrossFit Central, and began food logging and Zoning everything that I ate. Through this challenge and especially through the mentoring by my coach Lisa Thiel, I felt not only accountable to myself, but also accountable to my coaches and teammates. I was able to dedicate myself to healthy eating and consistent exercise and lost 10 more pounds in less than a month. My blood work from the physical I had with my family doctor after three months of CrossFit showed drastic improvements to my cholesterol and all of my other medical numbers had dropped well within normal and very healthy limits. I have become very conscience of what I eat now checking nutrition labels and doing lots of individual research with the guidance of our CrossFit community. I now enjoy food as a vehicle to energize my body instead of a way to satisfy a craving.

I not only achieved my original goals that I set out when I started CrossFit, but gained so much more along the way. I dropped 30 pounds and now weigh less than I did when I was in college. I dropped my body fat below 13%, lost over 4 pants sizes, my resting heart rate and blood pressure are drastically lower, my stress levels have evaporated, and I can see so many physical changes to my body as a whole. I can participate fully in activities that I really enjoy such as wakeboarding, tennis, volleyball, and soccer that were previously very difficult for me. Where I couldn’t run further than the end of my street before, I consistently run for miles without tiring. Today, I am much stronger and wake up every morning ready to go with constant energy throughout the day. I now have a clear grasp on goals I want to achieve, a fresh outlook on life, and a whole new sense of motivation and drive that will carry me throughout the rest of my life.

I take CrossFit with me now wherever I go by trying to encourage others that I know to find ways to improve their life through diet, exercise, and positive thinking. My new found focus doesn’t leave me time for any negative things to enter my life, and my motivation to continue to improve my life continues to come through this fitness community at CrossFit Central. Not only is my relationship with myself much improved, but also my relationships with my wife, family, and friends. My wife and I have been doing CrossFit together for four months now and it has drastically improved our relationship with each other. We are now a team again and have a stronger connection than ever before. I never thought that something as simple as diet and exercise could change my life in such a significant way. I know that I am now ready to set new goals and move even further ahead to challenge myself to become a stronger person both in the gym and in my everyday life.

After the change.

It just go's to show anyone can do it, no matter the situation, and no matter the circumstances.
You have the choice, you have the power to change. Now go do it!


Carey Kepler said...

Congratulations! Isn't life awesome?

thank you CrossFit Central for changing lives!

Veronica Pike said...

Wow, Jon....I had no idea! That's awesome! Certainly a credit to your hard work and dedication. =)