Beth Minor & Mark Bates
In the Fall of 2012, I knew I had to make some lifestyle changes. I was travelling 100% for work, living in a hotel and had gotten away from any sort of regular workout schedule. During a tennis match, my heart started racing, I broke out in a cold sweat and thought I was going to pass out. Major reality check because 14 people on my dad’s side of the family died from heart disease and I did not want to be number 15. It was time to change jobs, get off the road and get back into what I had always loved, intense work outs.
On February 4, 2013, I made one of the most important steps in my life. I walked through the doors of CrossFit Dynamo to try an introductory class. I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. All sorts of thoughts went through my head … running out the door, trying not to embarrass myself … wondering how I’d gone from being an in shape competitive gymnast and judo player to becoming a frumpy middle aged woman. I completed the one month prep class and by the end, I was hooked.
Over the next 18 months, amazing things happened. I lost between 25 pounds and around 10% body fat and built lots of lean muscle. I’m down 3 pants and dress sizes. More importantly, I got my groove back and found my self-confidence again.
Every day at the box, I amaze myself by either doing something I haven’t done before or doing something I had not done since my early 30s. In February 2013, a rope climb was out of the question. I could not get my butt off the floor. Last night, I did 15 rope climbs and completed my first hero WOD RX.
Along the way, my husband Mark, noticed my transformation. While I was on the road, his dinner largely consisted of ice cream and pizza. He had gained a few pounds as well. Mark started CrossFit in December 2013 by taking the prep class at CrossFit Dynamo. For a guy who did not like going to the gym and got bored doing cardio, he liked CrossFit, partly because he was in and out in around an hour.
Being an accountant and subject to month end close and long hours at the office, Mark had to find a way to get in more than 10 WODs per month. He started doing the 6AM WOD and rarely misses a class. His dedication shows. After the last strength cycle, Mark’s back squat increased 60 pounds and his deadlift increased 30. Not too shabby for a form high school chess club team member who never played a sport until we started playing tennis in 2008.
Our commitment to a healthy lifestyle is paying off. We make better decisions on groceries, dinners out and being active. The results from CrossFit Dynamo speak for themselves.
I’ll keep this short…. 1 year ago I weighed very close to 300lb and could hardly walk up the stairs due to joint pain, inflammation from gout. I also could not run from the couch to the beer fridge without getting winded. Now I am about 80 lb lighter, running 5ks, deadlifting 500lbs and doing muscle-ups and double unders with my joint pain all but gone.
I started my fitness journey focusing solely on how much I could lose. Now, I approach each day wondering how much I will gain. Instead of typing 1000 more words I humbly offer this pic comparison from May 2012 to February 2013. Thanks to all my great new friends at the box. I hope I can inspire some of you half as much as you all continue to amaze, humble, inspire and drive me to be better every day.
Could not get past half way up thighs Jan 1, 2013!
My story is a transformation story of strength, both physically and mentally. I officially started Crossfit in July 2012 when Crossfit Dynamo first opened. Before this, I was doing my own version of Crossfit’ish programs at a local gym and getting very funny looks while doing it. After 6 months of John inviting me to try Crossfit at an affiliate, I finally agreed when Dynamo opened. Yes, I am a little determined, some may call it stubborn. Looking back, I am so glad I did.
When I started, I felt as though I was pretty ‘fit’. I quickly learned otherwise. I struggled with many things when I first started. I could not do an unassisted pull-up and my strength and form when doing lifts was non-existent. After seeing my progress over the last 8 months, my definition of ‘fit’ has changed for ME. Fit is not only physical, but mental. Yes, my physical appearance has changed and that makes me happy. But, I am doing things at the age of 40 that I NEVER thought I would ever do and that is what really drives me. I have always been a goal-oriented individual, but I now set my goals even higher and work even harder to reach those goals, not only in Crossfit, but in my day to day life.
Community is one of the core elements at Dynamo and there is something special about this. My inspiration not only comes from within, but from everyone around me. Seeing someone’s face light up when they get one of their ‘firsts’ brings a smile to my face. Whether the first is someone’s first double under or reaching a PR of a 600# deadlift, it is a first and is celebrated.
It is amazing how all aspects of your life change when you find something that you are passionate about. Crossfit not only changed my physical appearance, but changed the way I think. I read one of those inspiring quotes that says it perfectly, “The difference between possible and impossible lies with the person’s determination”. If you want something bad enough, it is possible.
It all began about four years ago when a health threat damaged my leg and put me in a wheelchair. After making a slow comeback, learning to walk again, then learning to ride my horses again, I was determined to never take my health for granted. I worked slowly and steadily for a year until I was able to do simple workouts at home; then eventually built up the courage to join a gym.
My first few weeks at Crossfit were tough. I was intimidated by all the young, fit people who could do ANYTHING! I had to scale EVERYTHING, but I kept coming. I felt that every workout I finished was a personal victory. I’ve been at many different gyms during my lifetime, and I’ve never found a place more supportive and encouraging than Crossfit Dynamo. Everyone there wants to be their personal best and they encourage you to be your best also. The coaches always push you to improve, but never beyond your limit.
I can’t believe the progress I’ve made in a year. A year ago, I couldn’t run 400meters without stopping to catch my breath. Now I can jog two miles. I had to do jumping pull ups for a really long time, now I can do pull ups with a band. As I continued to get stronger, I noticed that I really enjoyed the workouts that involved the bar. Now I’m doing the Powerlifting classes and really enjoy getting stronger. I set a new Deadlift PR at the mock meet in March of #260 and I know I can do more.
For me, Crossfit isn’t about what goes on the board at the end of the workout. That’s important, to challenge yourself and set goals, but the best measure of success is waking up feeling fit and strong. If a 50 year old out of shape woman can do Crossfit, anyone can.
I was talking to my cousin Jeff one day, and he told me about this thing called CrossFit that he was getting certified to teach. I had honestly never heard of it, so I jumped on the interwebs and quickly learned that this might be exactly what I needed. I didn’t care how far I had to go; I just knew that I had to start doing this. Much to my surprise there was a place called CrossFit Dynamo right near my house! Awesome.
My first WoD didn’t go so well. I finished it, on that Hot Saturday in September. Yep, my first WoD was a Saturday with lots of sleds and rope climbs and pullups and and and. So on that great sunny day I not only got my introduction to CrossFit, but a bunch of really cool people, and this bastard named Pukie the Clown.
Another interesting thing happened to me that first day ( yes, more interesting than fertilizing the flora surrounding the entrance). I saw this strange diagram on the white-board. It looked something like this:
Now, I have tried all kinds of nutrition plans with varying levels of short-term success. This ‘Paleo’ thing looked interesting enough that I started doing some homework on it. I have a science background and I just started eating this stuff up. Bought a book, read it in just a few days. You may have heard of it.. Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution. I was convinced. I also convinced my wife and we just started ‘Being Paleo’. The kids too.
Fast forward a couple of weeks- I was then able to get my courage up to head back in to Dynamo. I believe it was on a Monday. Survived the WoD. My new clown friend stayed the hell away. Whew.. I can do this. It really helped too, that everyone in there was so supportive and friendly. No, not just the ‘I don’t want to do burpees so I’ll talk to you for a second’ kind of friendly, but genuinely friendly. Nobody looked down on me as I hitched up a huge band so I could get more than one pullup. Refreshing. Not expected based on my past experience in mega-gyms.
Once I survived a few WoDs, I started coming more. Usually three times per week through the fall, and still eating strict Paleo. People started noticing changes, and so did I. Clothes fitting differently, muscles I hadn’t seen in years making an appearance again. Pretty cool for a 45 year old guy I suppose. My supportive wife Denise noticed the changes too- the physical changes as well as the changes in my energy and attitude. Finally, in November/December, she decided to give this thing a try. (I’ll let her tell HER story when she is ready)
And now here we are, at the beginning of April. CrossFitting and eating strict Paleo for only 8 months. My life is so much more enjoyable, and I have as much energy as I ever remember. I have gone from a ‘taught’ 38 waist pants to a semi-baggy 32. I never did a body composition test, so I don’t really know how much fat I have lost and muscle I have gained. I will say that I have gone from 205 to 167, and I have never been this lean. Hell, I have never been lean at all, and now I have these really cool bumps on my abdomen for the first time in my life.
I have learned that I can push myself harder than I ever thought possible, and that even an old guy can change his ways. I have become so passionate about this lifestyle, that Denise and I started a Paleo blog. None of this would have happened had my cousin Jeff not told me about CrossFit.
Thank you Jeff.
Thank you John for creating such a great atmosphere at CrossFit Dynamo.