Written by Mike Brown of Forney, TX
Before I started CrossFit, I had been overweight for over eleven years. I’d been in pretty good shape when I got out of the Navy in 1998 and weighed about 195lbs. I stopped smoking soon after I got out of the Navy and replaced my cigarettes with food and lots of it. I also went from getting regular exercise to sitting behind a desk at a stressful job and sitting on a sofa at home. I started gaining weight immediately and didn’t stop until I topped out at 272lbs.
I had tried to get back in shape over the years and used personal trainers at regular gyms a couple of times. There may be good personal trainers out there somewhere but I never found one at a regular gym. I felt like I was paying a lot of money for someone to count my reps for me and that was about it. I spent a lot of money on supplements, body building books, magazines and worked out like they said and ended up getting injured, once requiring surgery for a hernia in 2001. My weight had gone up and down and by the first week of June 2009, I weighed in at 263lbs. In the time leading up to this point, I had been diagnosed with sleep apnea, a slightly enlarged heart, diabetes type 2, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and chronic heartburn or GERD. Most recently I was diagnosed with an enlarged fatty liver, which was painful and put me at risk of cirrhosis of the liver. I had to lose this weight and get my health back or risk not being here to see my kids graduate high school in fourteen years.
I needed extreme change. I started looking for an answer on the Internet and ran across CrossFit. I watched some CrossFit WOD (Workout Of the Day) videos on the internet and thought it looked different and made sense to me once I read up on it. I searched for a CrossFit affiliate in my area and found CrossFit Rockwall. I contacted Mary on June 4th and by June 8th; I was in my first “Elements” class for beginners. By the end of the first night, I knew that I was going to get into shape, it was tough but I knew I had found what I needed. The next day, I read about the Zone diet on the main CrossFit site. I also attended CrossFit Rockwall’s nutrition seminar which was eye opening and very informative. Mary sent me a link to Robb Wolf’s website, robbwolf.com which simplified everything about my diet planning and with these tools; I crafted a simple to follow, healthy diet and I’ve stuck to it. I felt the effects of my new diet within a few days; I feel so much better now that it’s hard to describe. Now, I get plenty of sleep, eat well and train hard five days a week. The CrossFit experience is totally different from any run of the mill gym you’ll find. There aren’t any mirrors on the walls. It matters less what you look like and more what you can actually do, functional fitness versus cosmetic fitness. Everyone at CrossFit Rockwall is supportive and just really awesome people to know. If I had to sum up CrossFit in one word, it would be “Intense.” I haven’t felt this good since I got out of boot camp in 1994. The changes I have experienced during my time with CrossFit Rockwall are profound and beyond my wildest expectations.
I went for my yearly physical last week on August 5th, 2009, and the news was astounding. I had been on Metformin for my diabetes type 2 since 2003. In the course of sixty days of healthy eating and a total of forty Crossfit workouts, I went from being on 1000mg of Metformin a day, to being medication free! My Hemoglobin A1c dropped from 6.4 to 5.4, well within the range of a normal, healthy adult. My blood pressure is normal. My heartburn is gone. My liver no longer hurts and my liver enzymes went from an AST of 57 and an ALT of 110 to an AST of 33 and an ALT of 54, both within the range of a normal, healthy adult, something that hasn’t happened in years. My Triglycerides dropped from 185 to 49. My LDL or bad cholesterol went from 100 to 87. My HDL or good cholesterol went from 28 to 36.
I have lost four inches on my waistline and over thirty pounds. I know I’ve found the answer to what I have been looking for. I feel better than I have in more than a decade and I am deeply grateful to Mary, Mike and everyone at CrossFit Rockwall for possibly saving my life. I’m not yet where I want to be physically but at least now I know with enough time, effort and consistent intensity in my WODs and diet, I’ll get there one day. CrossFit will be a part of my life from now on as far as I’m concerned.