How has Crossfit St. Pete helped you improve your physical and mental health?
Crossfit has been a catalyst to so much positive change in my life. If it weren’t for CrossFit, I would not found the confidence to believe in myself to accept the type of job that I’m in now. I use to never believe in myself until Corssfit. When you work your way through a 30-minute chipper WOD, you realize that you can do anything.
What was your biggest challenge in all of this and what are you most excited about heading into the future with CrossFit St. Pete?
The nutrition and energy. I’m ashamed to admit but when I started CrossFit I would swerve into a fast foo drive through and shove French fries into my mouth after a hard workout. You can’t make any progress or gains if you are putting bad stuff into your body. It wasn’t until I was finally fed up with no progress after years of working and struggling at CrossFit that I decided to make changed into what I was putting into my body. Everything has changed. I wake up everyday at 4:30 am. It is a struggle to make into the 3:30 pm class everyday. It wasn’t until I started to make it a priority that I realized that even though I may be dragging when I walk in the door, as soon as the clock counts down and it’s time to start the energy appears!
My journey with Crossfit St. Pete began when I hit my rock bottom. I was overweight, depressed, and had a drinking problem. I was about to lose everyone I cared about. One day I woke up and said no more. I decided I needed to find a new path in life, I knew I needed to completely change everything. So I moved to St. Pete into a residential treatment program.
After researching numerous ideas to “get fit” I cam across Crossfit and it seemed like a great option. Crossfit St. Pete came up as the closest location. This gym miraculously was literally behind the residence I would be staying in, I believe it was an act of God. From the moment I spoke with the Owner and Coach, Christopher Hays, on the phone I knew this would be the pace for me Having never done crossfit before I was intimidated, would I fit in? Would I be able to perform the movements? After my first foundation class I was relieved and completely hooked. Everyone was so welcoming and nice, there were scaling options and this was way more than I could have even expected. I began classes right away and came to realize that this was not just a gym, this was an amazing community, a sport, a lifestyle. These coaches became my mentors, these athletes became my friends. I had a new found passion in life.
I committed to working out at least five days a week and after doctor Joseph Matlese’s health seminar, I successfully altered my diet. The coaches here truly care, they build you up, push you to your max and are just looking out to make you can achieve the best you personally can. Over the next few months I felt myself transform. I was not only gaining physical strength and shedding fat but mentally I was building myself into the person I wanted to be. Words cannot express how much this place means to me. Crossfit St. Pete is a place you can go where people know your name and are glad to see you. Where no matter what shape, size, age, walk of life you come from you will fit on. The best part of my day is when I finish my workout at the box, no other feeling can match the sense of accomplishment and personal pride!
What was your biggest challenge in all of this and what are you most excited about heading into the future with CrossFit St. Pete?
The biggest challeng for me was trying to go through all this while becoming sober for the first time and living in a rehab, but it turns out this is exactly what I needed to get me through that point and I will NEVER look back.
I am excited to further my growth as a crossfitter and I want to compete! This is my new life. Crossfit St. Pete will always be my home and I plan on being her for many years to come.
Meet Tracy. Tracy has been on her weight loss journey since March 2019. When she noticed that she wasn’t getting her results from a typical gym routine, she decided to join #CFStPete in October and try to improve her fitness and health. Fast forward 5 months, Tracy has lost 25 of the 33 total pounds from just CrossFit! She trains with use 5-6 times a week. She has been listening to our coaches about good nutrition and lifestyle habits, and has been following a Whole-30 diet since starting CrossFit. Not only is she more fit physically and mentally, she now has an amazing community to support her every step of her journey.
She is a prime example of a consistent athlete that is disciplined in training, nutrition, recovery, sleep and mindset.
On May 2nd, 2012 I walked thru the doors of CFSP overweight and feeling defeated. I ha tried for 12 years to lose the weight I had gained during my pregnancy. Weight Watchers, South Beach, Adkins, gym memberships, at home programs and even appetite suppressants. Short of wiring my mouth shut, I was at my withs end and gave CF the ultimatum. Either you work or that’s it. Meghan Dorman greeted me with her usual smile and proceeded to walk me thru, what I assumed was the beginner level workout. I figured our little intro tour was over and she was walking me over to sign up when she looked at me and said “now that we are warmed up, let’s do our intro workout.” Yes, I thought the warm up WAS a workout. She then handed me a medicine ball and put me thru, what I was sure was the worst 7 minutes of my life. An AMRAP of 7 wall balls and 7 burpees. I think I made it thru maybe a round and a half. But when I was done, I could not believe I survived and though, this is exactly the kick in the pants I needed. I liked that the workouts were programmed, and they were not hours and hours long. I felt amazing as I got stronger with the barbell, but always fell short when it came to the body weight stuff. It wasn’t just about the physical side of it though. I was gaining confidence; my self-esteem was growing; my waistline was shrinking, and I was learning how to break all those terrible food habits I had. Unfortunately, after 2 1/2 years, I had some scheduling changes and I had to leave. Over the next couple of years, I tried TRX, spin class, Les Mills, swimming, and rock climbing. It was fine for a bit, but I made the decision, I was going back to CF. In January 2017, I returned to CFSP. I was happy to have my barbell back. I still had my struggles with body weight stuff but rather than fight it, I put my trust in my coaches, and trust in the process. Things started getting a little easier and I started improving. Over the summer I had been itching to do a solo competition, so I started doing research. I found one but it wasn’t going to be easy. It was strictly body weight movements. I knew the only way I would get comfortable being uncomfortable was to force myself to do this. The phrase, “embrace the suck”, was basically my motto to do this. At first, it was awful, and I doubted myself, but in the end, I am so glad I put myself out there. It made me a better all-around athlete. I still love barbell work but the confidence I gained by becoming a better athlete has increased my performance tenfold. You cannot have one without the other, which I never really got until now. I’m still learning, I’m still growing and every year I continue to make progress. I will be forever grateful for Meghan Dorman, who lovingly pushed me to come in and try CF. She never made me feel as if I was being judged for how I looked or how i performed a movement. She took me by the hand to help teach me about proper nutrition and it truly saved my life. Without her, I don’t even want to think how I would’ve ended up. Over the years I have had several coaches, but none as amazing as Chris, Lina, Andee, and Meghan. These 4 people have helped me take this journey to the next level with their wisdom, their patience, and their belief in me, even when I don’t have it in myself. There is so much more to learn but I am up for the challenge and looking forward to seeing what this next year brings.
Being able to workout with everyone at CFSP is an inspiration to me. I think everyone there as a family. Prior to CFSP, I was a complete couch potato with my job being my only activity. I tried YMCA for 2 years with no weight loss and total boredom. I took prescribed speed and vitamin B and lost 50lbs, but quickly regained it. Then my husband tried to get me to run which lasted approx 2 sessions of a mile or less. We tried riding bikes which lasted about a year and then it got cold and we got bored and now we have 2 great bikes with flat tires. By May of 2015, I had reached a breaking point and I knew that something had to change or I was going to have multiple diseases related to obesity. I knew a former member of CFSP and asked her how to get started. I came in on a Wednesday evening and did a trial class with Meghan Dorman and have not looked back since. This is the first and only time in my life that I have enjoyed exercise. The coaches are so much more, I consider you all my friends and mentors. The first month of CrossFit I could barely walk and had to use railings to go up and down the stairs. I used s much Epsom salts I now have to have my tub refinished, but there is nothing more worth it. The exhilaration I get from a great workout leaves me feeling like a super hero. The only time I ever had any trepidation about continuing this journey was my first Memorial Day. It was my 2nd week and I walked in to about 40 shirtless(probably a gross exaggeration) buff men all doing pull-ups. I was so intimidated I tried to walk out. Jon Fultz stopped me and asked me if I could do mini Murph: it was a 400m run, 5 RDS of 5 Ring row, 10 push-ups, 15 squats, and another 400m run it took me 30 minutes but I did it. This year I did Murph vested 12# and my goal for next year will be strict pull-ups and maybe 20# vest. Everyday I feel healthier and more alive. The hardest part is good nutrition. With the help of Chris, Joe, Andee, Meghan, and Lina I have come up with a nutrition plan that is finally working for me. The process is long and arduous but with the help of all the fantastic teammates I have at CFSP, I will take every step until I live a long healthy life. I will continue to show up everyday. Scott calls himself the CrossFit widow because I am there so much. I look forward every 3:30 class when I can see the Golden Girls (Tami Perkins, Miguel Fuller, Courtney Winger) these members push me to places I never knew I could go. So much so it looks my futire includes another WOD Wars in April. 2 years ago I was riding a couch and now I can compete in CrossFit competitions. Honestly it’s pretty surreal. Thank you all for your camaraderie, support, and inspiration.
I can’t believe it’s already been 1.5 years since I started my journey to becoming a better version of myself. And that journey all began with CFSP.
A couple of years ago, my life felt completely out of control – I was no longer in charge. Let me explain the problems, (1) I had horrendous job with unrealistic deadlines and expectations. I was literally working 24/7 to support a global company with 100k employees – and commonly would work 2-3 days without even sleeping. (2) Due to an extreme job where sleep was rare commodity, I gave little attention to my diet. Late night pizzas, McDonald’s everything, milkshakes, etc. became the standard. I knew these were the wrong foods, but I didn’t seem to care… and finally, and predictably (3) my personal life had gone into a major rut.
So over the course of a year, I had managed to gain 60 pounds. These were not happy pounds – I felt that weight every time I stood up from my extreme sitting sessions while at work, every time I crawled out of bed (whenever I went to bed), any time I had to shower, put on shoes/clothes, etc. You can get the picture. I aged 30 years in less than a year. Is this how the rest of my life was going to be? Was it going to get worse? I popped Tums life candy – it became a needed relief from the onset of acid reflux, which I never had before. So, what other physical and mental ailments were coming? Was this just the price of getting older?
It was in early July 2016 that I decided to introduce some kind of change. I was in the middle of major, career-making/breaking project, so I knew I wasn’t going to make much headway there. How about the diet and what about exercise? I had generally been in good health, and have religiously worked out at globo gyms since 1991. I was bored, same old weights, cardio, etc. I was done – I needed something different, something to jump-start the new version of me.
I began research – and came across CFSP’s website. I heard of Crossfit but knew nothing about it rather than it was hard and the adherents were annoyingly cult-like. Despite the reputation, I submitted an email to the website requesting a callback. Chris Hays gave me a call the next day and convinced me to give it a try. I came in and let Chris put me through the foundations. It was hard – it was July – so lots of heat and humidity, with those extra 60 pounds – I felt every single movement. I couldn’t run 50m without having to gasp for air. Chris Hays took a profound interest and worked with me. Yes…it was hard, but that’s exactly what I needed to go through to get past the rut to get to the next level. Chris designed the workouts to accommodate my limitations, but with an edge to help me progress quickly.
So those 60 pounds melted quickly. Yes…I changed my diet right away – gone were the pizzas, milkshakes, etc. Between July – December 2016, I had dropped 45 pounds…then finally a few months later, I dropped the last 15 pounds – I made my weight goal! Was I finished? Not by a long shot. Although the weight target was a goal, it was just a mean to an end. I wanted my health back – I wanted to walk without pain, get out of bed without pain, put on socks without pain…and guess what, that cleared itself up pretty quickly too. The acid reflux? I haven’t experienced that since December 2016. So does that mean I’m done with Crossfit? Absolutely not! Those were my initial goals – I feel I need to constantly set new ones – that’s the beauty of Crossfit. For instance, for 2018, I’m targeting RX workouts by default. I still haven’t been able to climb a rope, do a handstand push-up against a wall, do muscle ups, do double-unders (well)…but I will get there, I have no doubts.
So what about my other problems? I got a new job with lower stress and realistic deadline. What about my personal life? I am currently in a new relationship and loving every minute of it.
I do owe a great deal of gratitude to Crossfit, the coaches, and people at CFSP, and in particular to Chris Hays. Without his infectious spirit and personality, I would have given up a long time ago – I feel that he took this journey with me. We have grown together in immeasurable ways, I consider him part of my family.
For anyone on the fence about staying with Crossfit – use my experience to convince yourself to stay with it and constantly challenge yourself. Every burpee, every wall ball, every sprint, and squat has a purpose. Have I learned something? YES – I AM in control of my life after all, Crossfit gave me the tools – courage, strength, and confidence to have that control
When I first set foot into Crossfit St. Pete, I could not hold my body from the rig for more than 5 seconds, let alone do any pull ups or run more than 100m. It was intimidating, for sure. However, with the guidance and support from not only the coaches, but also from this awesome community, I continue to see the importance of what being healthy is all about.
I think the toughest challenge for me in my four years of Crossfit is myself, actually. Between my id and my ego, I held myself back! I would always compare myself to others, attempt to do what they are doing, ignore my coaches and eventually injure myself. Once I learned to check my ego and made myself more receptive to criticism, I immediately became a better person, not just athlete.
Crossfit St. Pete has helped improve my overall health. Between encouragement of a cleaner diet during the health challenges throughout the year and the tough love I get from other members, a reduction in my body habits has led more energy and lowered risk of other health complications. I eventually learned our bodies were not meant to be sedentary and have gone from 6 hours a day of playing video games to maybe 1 or 2 at most.
If I tell anyone new I’m meeting for the fist time that I’m actually super introverted and socially awkward, they would probably tell me to get out. CFSP has helped me grow my confidence to do things I never would have done or say and ask things I never would have said in the past. That being said, I don;t really know what lies ahead of me, but I’m excited to see what challenges the future has for me to face and conquer.