Work brought my family and I here to Portland in March of this year. The move itself was very daunting, but I was also excited as it was also an opportunity to find a good gym that I might attend.
I visited a couple of gyms on my own, but then friend and co-worker Bill Klingler invited me here.
I went to Jump Start class and really enjoyed the coaches and the people, so I made it my home.
From there, I went to all the Jump Start classes, and I would recommend that to everyone before they jump into a regular class.
As soon as I started the WODs and tracking my progress on the main site, I knew this was for me.
I even built my own set of PVC rings in my garage in NC.
(Thanks to my wife Becky for putting up with me during my more “I must have my own box moments”).
But right after my first 101 class it felt right. It was an “ah-ha” moment for me. I’m typically a pretty driven person, and I thought I was pushing myself on my own, but the competition aspect, the camaraderie, and simply the environment really clicked for me.
It may sound funny, but I remember being intimidated by the other people in my classes. I was and still am a bit of a larger guy, and my cardio is something I have to continue to really work on (among many other things), but I was always afraid I’d embarrass myself due to inability, or let other people in class down if I couldn’t keep up.
But everyone I’ve ever met in a class has been incredibly encouraging, and never once have I felt anything but positive energy.
It’s great to complete something difficult and have a great group of people right there cheering with and for you.
Now I realize that I don’t have to be embarrassed. I’m much more comfortable both in my own skin (thanks to changes from the great workouts), and also because I know that the group as a whole is there to pull for one another.
When I joined, climbing a rope was a joke. I could barely even hold on to the rope for time. At the last benchmark, I actually made it up the rope in 17.5 seconds.
My max bench has jumped 30lbs, from 265 to 295 (just 20lbs from my high-school best).
I could not bench my bodyweight when I joined. At the last benchmark, I did 250 (my bodyweight at first benchmark) for 5 reps, even though my weight is now 245.
In 10 minutes of Cindy, I also improved by more than two rounds.
I generally only run if something really big is chasing me, but I have cut over 2 minutes off my mile time since I first started here.
I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my clothes, and my wife Becky has been super-encouraging to me, and those two things alone — and not in that order— have been by far the most important to me.
But I recently had a funny moment at work. I was wearing a belt that I had long ago given up on wearing again.
One of my very kind co-workers noticed the graduated worn lines on the belt and was like, “Holy cow, you used to be that big? You mean your gut was rubbing on that hard enough to make those lines?!”
I was not put off at all (okay, maybe a little). But yes, yes it was in fact as recently as February this year that I used to be “that big.”
As a side note, I’m happy to report that said belt has (even since the above photo a couple weeks ago) been put aside.
It is now actually completely too big for me.
I switched to a more Paleo-friendly diet, and cutting out gluten almost completely has made such a difference I’m not even sure people would believe me if I tried to explain it.
I think that the combination of the results from training and my diet these last couple of months speak for themselves. I don’t see ever going back to my old way of eating.
As far as joining — Do it sooner. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. Get it done. You will not regret it.