“You’ll just quit again. CrossFit is intense—are you sure you can do this? Look at your body—*sigh*. Why are you setting yourself up for failure again?”
These were the panicked, negative thoughts swirling through my head as I sat in my car outside CFRR that first day. Fight or flight reflexes primed, I wanted to drive away—fast. As desperately as I wanted—no, NEEDED to change my life, there was safety in what I knew about myself and how I had lived my life so far.
Overweight my entire life, I paid dearly for it in the self-esteem department growing up. As an adult, changing my lifestyle always seemed impossible. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 27 and struggled to accept it and adhere to my treatment. I’d quit whatever current diet, exercise plan, or medication I was on if things got tough. I became hyper-focused on the scale; when it didn’t move, I lost all motivation. I was shy and self-conscious about my body and did my best to hide it. But worst of all, after so many failed attempts at weight loss, I no longer trusted myself or believed a change was possible. After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and disordered eating, my spirit was broken and I was exhausted.
In November 2015, I decided I couldn’t face another holiday season of overeating followed by another empty New Year’s resolution. Something had to give—now. My five-year-old daughter was learning from me and I didn’t like what I was teaching her. I wanted to be an example of strength rather than shame; resilience instead of defeat. I wanted to teach her how to love herself instead of to loathe herself. But I was lost. I needed help. Dear friends of mine, CFRR athletes, invited me to try it out. I called and made an appointment to meet with Coach Kali.
So there I sat in my car outside the gym—terrified. I was a 35-year-old wife and mom with Type 1 diabetes, zero confidence, and not even enough mobility to do an air squat. Thinking about my little girl is the only way I willed myself to put one foot in front of the other and walk through the door. I had no idea what to expect but managed to summon enough courage and trust one more time.
What I found was a community of people who are invested in being the best possible version of themselves—spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Moreover, I learned that the athletes and coaches were equally as invested in helping ME reach my goals and holding me accountable. With every workout, fear turned into determination and doubt turned to hope. From loneliness, I found camaraderie and a family who accepted me—right where I was, no judgment. They saw grit and potential in me that I couldn’t see for myself. And the belief others had in me gave me the courage to press on and challenge myself to do more than I ever thought possible.
I now workout 3-4 days per week in the 5 a.m. class. I’ve taken advantage of nutritional coaching and PT sessions with Kali, attended Oly classes and started meal prepping consistently. My lab work looks phenomenal and I no longer need insulin. At everybody comp., I’ve gained muscle, lost fat, and my mobility and strength have progressed as well!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m no flashy athlete and still have a long road ahead. I scale WODs like a boss and rarely get the opportunity to click the RX button in Wodify. But I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my adult life and I’m doing my best to set a good example as a mom.
Being part of the CFRR community has been nothing short of life-changing—not only for me but also for my daughter (who also does CF Kids). I am forever grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in this amazing family. For anyone on the fence about CrossFit, I’m a living testament to the healing power of this community. Even if you’re scared, just put one foot in front of the other, walk through that door, and make the choice to trust that change IS possible. Your best self is waiting here and we can’t wait to cheer you on!
– Laurie
 Laurie was featured in the CrossFit Journal last year because of her amazing story. She shared her struggles, her fears, and most importantly her path to living a healthier lifestyle.


My CrossFit journey did not start because of a health situation. I’ve been blessed with good physical health throughout my life so far *knock wood*. I was moderately active throughout my school years, but because I have asthma, was pretty limited in what I could participate in.

After marriage, my husband and I settled into a fairly sedentary lifestyle and our nutrition was pretty crappy. We dabbled in the globo gym thing but neither of us enjoyed it. Then kids came along and our focus completely shifted. As the babies grew and I went back to work, we still knew we needed to make a change and set a good example for them. I just really wanted something different, something to give me a good kick in the ass. I heard about CrossFit and was intrigued. I told my husband about it and we decided to give it a try.

 

I joined CFRR in 2011, 10 months after I turned 40. A very happy coincidence I must say. Turning 40 was never an issue for me; I was actually looking forward to it. However, I was still in a rut emotionally. A string of layoffs, bad jobs, and other life events left me in a slump. Soon I found myself losing all confidence in my abilities.

I will never forget the first time walking into CFRR feeling a bit nervous and intimidated. It quickly went away after I was greeted with Coach Adrien’s big beautiful, welcoming smile. I haven’t looked back since.

CrossFit quickly re-ignited the fire within me I knew I had but didn’t really have an outlet to truly nurture and build on. The coaches at CFRR taught me to be comfortably uncomfortable and more importantly, to accept my vulnerability; something I was never comfortable doing. Resilience became the norm.

This August will be 6 years at CFRR. I’ve done roughly 10 competitions and I’m going into my 4th year of The Open. I’m in the best shape at age 46 than I’ve ever been at any other age, doing things I never DREAMED I’d be able to do. It’s definitely been a process and has not been easy. But in the immortal words of Denzel Washington, “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.”

The pursuit of health and fitness transformed everything for my husband and me. This is our way of life now and it will never change. We sleep better, we are healthier, we feel better (of course, we’re sore all the time but it’s worth it), and our mental health is better. And although our children don’t do CrossFit (yet), they still see our commitment to health and fitness every day, which influences how they see things. And the fact they see a mother who is both mentally AND physically strong means the world to me.

I’m forever grateful to all the coaches at CFRR, Coach Adrien in particular, for believing in me, seeing what I was capable of before I did, and plucking me out of the fear cave. All the fellow members (shout out to the 5 am crew!) are a source of inspiration daily. And especially to my husband Marcos, I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

-Diana

 

 


I joined CrossFit Round Rock in August of 2011 at the age of 55. After visiting my son in Seattle and going to a CrossFit session with him I knew this was something I would love to do. At the time, my cholesterol was high and my doctor said I could do one of two things. I could either take meds OR I could change my diet and exercise. I chose the latter and it worked.

The first few months at CFRR were really rough. I couldn’t finish a complete workout but I was always encouraged by everyone around me. I have had several gym memberships. It always seemed that I stuck with it for a few months at a time and then quit.

CrossFit Round Rock is different because of the community you train with and the friends that you make. The support of the Coaching staff was another reason why I’ve called CFRR home for 7 years now.

CrossFit really works and the community keeps you coming back. Since I started in 2011 is because more of a lifestyle than just a chore to fit into your day. It’s now a way of life that is addictive, in a good way of course.

Today I am able to finish most workouts, reach new PRs, and I’m very blessed to have a group of friends to workout with no matter our age difference.

-Mike

 

 


My name is Helen Butler and I am a stay at home mom. Growing up, I always thought I was fat. Looking back at pictures, I have no idea why I ever thought that. Like a lot of kids, I went through different phases of being “pleasantly plump” to being thin. I am only 5’ tall so 5lbs of weight on me seems to be more obvious then it is on someone who is 5’5” tall.

It seems my metabolism started slowing down when I was around 25 or 26. I couldn’t lose any extra weight as quickly as I did before, and the weight was starting to pile on. I was able to get back on track with a diet change.

In 1999, my husband Jason and I decided to try and have kids. I didn’t have the easiest time with my pregnancies. I was pregnant 4 times and have 2 healthy girls. While we are blessed with our daughters, they did a number on my body. They also didn’t make it any easier to get back in to shape.

I tried going back to the gym, but that didn’t last very long. Every time I started working out, I would get paged by the daycare because my kids would not stop crying for me. Then I thought I would try training for a marathon because I could run while pushing a stroller. I was doing great with this training and started seeing results. I was able to run 7 miles without stopping but was told by a couple of doctors to stop because of problems with my knee. Frustrated, I just stopped trying. I decided to just focus on my kids and to help my ailing parents.

I always stress to my kids how important it is to eat healthy and exercise. The best way to teach them is to lead by example. When my youngest daughter was finally old enough to start school, I made the decision to try again. I went to the gym and took different classes like Zumba and Body Pump. These were a lot of fun, but the classes would fill up fast, so I couldn’t always get in. If I was lucky enough to get in, it was hard to find a spot because of the class was full, and it was only good if the person teaching the class was good. The turnover rate for these instructors was high. After a few years of doing that and just working out on my own, I needed a change. I tried the video’s P90x and Insanity. These videos were great for the 1st couple of times, but I got bored. Not to mention, because I did them from home, my workouts would get interrupted by someone at the front door, a phone call, or if my kids were home they would walk in on me.

Jason mentioned some friends that did this thing called CrossFit and they seemed to enjoy it. I happened to have a friend who also did Crossfit and she encouraged me to give it a try. The idea of small class sizes, a different workout every day, and personal guidance from a coach was really appealing to me. I Googled CrossFit in Round Rock and low and behold CrossFit Round Rock appeared.

At the time, CFRR had a program called Elements that everyone wanting to join had to go through to start classes. I signed up and met Coach Landon. He took me through the basics of the different powerlifting movements, talked about posture and form, and the different exercises that I would encounter during an actual class. Once Elements was over and I was ready for class, I couldn’t wait to start.

My 1st day at CFRR was January 02, 2012. The workout, 5K run. I didn’t run (because of my knee problem) so I rowed the 5K. The whole time, I thought to myself, “I paid for the month. Let me just get through this month and I will find something else.” Not the best 1st day ever. By the way, I finished in 29:38. The workouts after that day were a lot more fun and I decided to stay and have been doing CrossFit on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30 am ever since. In fact, I consider this to be my time. I do not schedule appointments or plan anything during this time if it can be avoided.

I was getting physically and mentally stronger and my clothes started fitting me better. I’m not sure how many pounds I may have lost at that time because I didn’t ever weigh myself. I judged everything on how my clothes felt. After a couple of years, I wasn’t noticing any more changes. I knew I was still overweight, but it wasn’t until Coach Landon recommended a body comp to get a better idea of where I was on the charts. It wasn’t good. Exercise alone is not going to get me back to a healthy weight. I needed to change my eating habits.

The food I ate was not necessarily bad food. I ate a lot of lean cuts of meats and veggies, but I also ate rice, pastas, bread, and I tended to snack on things, even if I wasn’t hungry. I thought that if I just cut down on the amount of those foods, I would lose weight. In other words, I wasn’t ready to make the commitment and change my eating habits. It would take a couple more years of body comps going down and up in body fat % for me to finally commit to making the changes in my diet I needed to get the results I wanted.

The summer of 2016, after doing Crossfit for 4 1/2 years, I made the commitment to make the change in my diet. Landon helped me by putting me on a 1200 calorie a day diet (doesn’t sound like much, but remember, I am only 5’ tall). My diet consisted of 30% fat, 30% carb, and 40% protein. The carbs were mostly from veggies and fruits. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I’m half Filipino, and grew up eating rice for practically every meal. Controlling the amount of rice to eat was too hard so I had to cut it out completely and eat cauliflower rice instead. I also cut out pasta and bread and learned that I wasn’t eating enough fats and protein.

My journey has not been easy. I have had a couple of set back’s. The holidays are particularly difficult and this past holiday, I had surgery on a pre-existing condition and felt the pounds creeping back on. My husband and Landon both told me not to beat myself up. Don’t go crazy, but enjoy the holidays, heal from surgery, and get back on track when I get back to the gym. It turns out I only gained a couple of pounds, so I am relieved and now back on track.

I would like to thank everyone at CFRR for their encouragement while on my journey, especially Coach Landon for not giving up on me. I’m sure it is frustrating, as a coach, to try and help someone who is not ready to do what it takes to reach their goals. Thanks to my daughters for their understanding with my diet changes. Most of all, I want to thank my husband for his love and support in everything I want to do.

-Helen


My CrossFit Story

Growing up in athletics from a very early age, 5 years old, I’ve had a good strength and conditioning foundation for most of my life. I’ve worked out, off and on, for 50 years. There was a time just after college, between ages of 24 and 34 when I did not. During this time, I gained 40 to 45 lbs and found myself with little muscle and a lot of fat, reaching about 230 lbs. My doctor told me I needed to start losing weight and get in shape because my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels were very bad. I started working out in our office gym and placed myself on a low-calorie diet, about 1800 calories per day. The workouts were your basic bodybuilding workouts with some cardio. Doing basic squats, bench, deadlifts, and auxiliary movements like curls, triceps extensions and calf raises. This worked for a while, I lost about 20 lbs, getting down to 210 lbs and my doctor was pleased. Once I dropped weight I started eating more trying to eat between 3000 and 3500 calories per day. This is what I estimated I was burning and through I need a little more to gain muscle.

This lasted for about 6 or 7 years and then I had to move office locations. The new office did not have a gym and I stopped working out again. This lasted for 4 or 5 years. I gained weight and my doctor told me again I needed to lose weight and get myself in shape. About this time, we moved offices again to a new facility. This facility had a gym. I started working out again, however this time I studied. I had spent some time working out a CATZ where I learned a lot about athletic training and I started studying for my National Academy of Sport Medicine certification. I did this because I was coaching workouts for my fellow Emerson workout enthusiasts and I coached baseball and wanted to be able to provide my players good conditioning, instruction, and advice. I went back on a low-calorie diet, about 1800 cals a day because it seemed to have worked in the past. Over the next year or so, I lost the 25 lbs and got below 200 lbs, to about 190 lbs. I decided to stay on the 1800 per day calorie diet because it seems to be working.

Flash forward to 2012, about 8 years later. I was weighing around 200 lbs. I was working out 4 days a week in our gym (think of CFRR’s Strength Agility Classes), having baseball practice Tuesday and Thursdays and coaching games most weekends. During these practices and before games I was throwing batting practice for about an hour each session. This is an hour of non-stop, 200 plus pitches per session. Your heart rate gets up and it is a very cardio intensive workout. However, with all this activity I noticed I was putting on belly fat. I couldn’t believe it, but over time I kept putting on more and more body fat.

In 2012, we moved offices again. We moved to our current facility just off highway 45 in Round Rock. When moving buildings, they did not have our gym finished out. Our facilities personnel said it would be about 6 months before it opened. Most of our Emerson team did not want to wait 6 months so I recommended that we look for a local gym to work out in. I had been studying and reading about CrossFit and liked their programming. From my training and studying for my certification, I had developed my own beliefs on conditioning. I believed that high-intensity circuit training that combined weights and cardio with a much-varied programing plan was the best for a truly functional overall condition plan for life. With that knowledge and my beliefs (born through a lot of study and coaching of my own), I recommended to our Emerson workout crew, that we consider joining a CrossFit gym and I explained to them why.

I walked into CrossFit Round Rock in February of 2012, during one of their coach’s workouts, for a visit. Adrien stopped her workout to meet with me. I told her what we were looking for and I was bringing a team of 10 with me, many are still with us today. She explained CrossFit, however, I was already sold on the idea and knew I wanted to try it. I just need to make sure the coaches were sound and they could teach us good technique while providing good programming and safety. Safety is something I think a lot of people underestimate in their workout journey. If you are injured, you will go backward in conditioning and reaching your goals.

After our elements classes, Adrien and Landon started the 4:30 M, W, F class for us, the same one many of you are in today. Coach V was our coach at the time, I’ve provided a picture for your amusement.

Coach V and Adrien started consulting with me on my diet and activity level, also doing body comps. At the time, I was about 205 lbs and had 23% body fat. They asked how many calories I estimated eating per day. I told them 1800. They were shocked. Then they asked how long I had been eating 1800 calories per day. I told them for about 7 or 8 years. Then they were afraid for me. I could see it in their face. The shock and disbelief that I could be on such a low-calorie diet for so many years. They then explained to me that a man (this is true for most men about my size) will burn roughly a minimum of 2000 calories per day at rest. That’s if we did nothing but lay on the couch with a remote in our hand and watch television all day. Then they explained since I was on a diet that was under that 2000 calories per day, I was starving myself, I was malnourished. My body had gone into starvation mode and was trying to hold onto body fat. My body had started breaking down muscle to feed itself, which meant I had less muscle and more body fat. That’s why I was getting more and more belly fat.

The solution: Since I had been working out four days a week and coaching 2 to 4 days a week they estimated my total calorie burn at 3000 calories per day. They formatted a diet plan (mostly a Paleo menu) for me to eat up to 2500 calories per day, roughly 500 calories less than my maximum estimated daily calorie burn. Then they ask me not to work out on the same day I was coaching. So basically, they told me if I wanted to lose body fat and some weight to workout less and eat more. MIND BLOWING! All this time I thought I needed to eat less and move more. NO, THEY ARE TELLING ME TO EAT MORE AND MOVE LESS. Crazy! It took a while to wrap my mind around this.

I took their advice, went by their plan and I started losing weight, about 1 lbs. per week. I lost 22 lbs., I got down to 183 and had 17% body fat. After 22 weeks, I needed to stop losing weight. They then communicated a plan for me to gain muscle and to continue to lose body fat, I needed to eat between 2800 and 3000 calories per day. I did this for the next 2 years and got back up to 205 lbs. and dropped down to 11.9% body fat.

Within three short years, the team at CFRR totally transformed my body, conditioning, strength, and knowledge of diet. I started CFRR squatting 240#, now 355#. I was deadlifting about 300#, now 400#. I couldn’t even do a snatch because of flexibility and mobility, now I can. My overall movement skill, regarding Olympic lifting, was pretty much nonexistence and now they are some of my favorite movements. My knowledge of diet that CFRR has taught me over the years has changed my life and my families. It encouraged my daughter to major in nutrition at the University of Arkansas. She wants to be a registered clinical dietician and help girls with eating disorders.

Flash forward to 2015, this was a rough year for me. In February, I had a seizure which sent me to the hospital. During testing, they performed a CT Scan of my stomach and found a golf ball size tumor on my kidney. They also found two kidney stones the size of marbles, one in each kidney. They were too big to pass so they required surgery. My Urologist diagnosed the tumor and said based on its size and composition there was a 90% chance it was cancer. He recommended removing it immediately.

God bless me in two ways, he allowed me to find one of the two or three Urologist in Austin that can perform a partial Laparoscopic Nephrectomy with the robotic da Vinci machine, see image below. He also blessed me with a seizure so this tumor could be found. Most kidney tumors go undetected because they do not have any symptoms until the cancer metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body.

 

In preparations for the surgery to remove the tumor and kidney stones, the doctor told me I should breeze through the operations because I was so healthy. He told me he rarely sees a man my age in his office that is in as good of shape as I’m was in. THANKS AGAIN CFRR!

In April of 2015, I went into surgery and removed the tumor. It went very well, they did not have to take the kidney, only about 10% of it and I’ve remained cancer-free since. Later in the year, I had the two kidney stones removed. After the last surgery, I developed Sepsis and was in the hospital for another week. This was a very physically challenging year and much of the success is accredited to my Lord, my wife, my family for never leaving my side, and to CFRR for helping me to be in the best shape of my life before having to enter this very challenging year.

What a blessing the coaches and the entire community at CFRR have been to me and my family.

-Bill Beane

 


To us, a REBORN athlete embodies and portrays what the entire CFRR coaching team believes in as a whole. This is someone that the entire community as a whole looks up to. Not in the way you might be thinking. Being RX and having the fastest “Fran” time are just numbers. To us being truly REBORN is taking what your life was, and literally changing it to what you have always hoped it would be. Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally you are a new person. You see, once you are truly REBORN, the fear of going back to who you once were just doesn’t haunt you like it used to. The new you feels too good, and its just no longer worth it to be afraid of your previous lifestyle. Being in this place takes years of time and consistency. Tons of mistakes and downfalls. Moments where you have your head in your hands and just think you can’t make it, but with full TRUST and FAITH in what #CFRR believes, YOU OVERCOME. That is to us what it means to be #REBORN.

CrossFit began over 10 years ago for me in much the same way it starts for everyone else. I had reached a crossroads in my physical fitness and it was time to make a decision. I could continue along the path on which I had been going with workouts that did little to motivate me or keep my attention (and produced minimal results); or I could find something that would change how I related to exercise in a way that would allow me to adapt my lifestyle for complete and lasting change.

Growing up I was not what you would consider an athlete. In fact, I always struggled with fitness and nutrition throughout my adolescence. I come from an Italian family so food was always a big part of my life. Then to make matters worse (or better depending on how you look at it) my family is the restaurant business – serving up pizza and Italian food. So in the story of maintaining an ideal weight and healthy fitness level, this is what is referred to as the perfect storm. Throughout my teenage years and well into adulthood I worked alongside my family helping to build the business and taste testing as I went along. During these years it was not uncommon for me to eat at least a few slices of pizza every day.

Like most people, I seemed to always have the big box gym membership that mostly went unused.

I dreaded going to the gym and creating my own workouts. I didn’t know how to go about getting the best results and I never had a clear understanding if what I was doing would even work.

Everything changed in 2006 when I started PT sessions with Landon at the gym where I was a member at the time. Immediately, I knew that this experience was different. I began to see results and these results motivated me to take control of my nutrition and stay on course with my workouts. I even began to go to the gym outside of my training sessions, motivating myself to complete my workouts.

When Landon and Adrien opened their gym in Round Rock in 2010, I continued training with Landon at the new gym. During one of my sessions, there was a CrossFit class being held (with one person – Jesse) and I was hooked right from the start. I never looked back.

Today, I am doing CrossFit three times a week and training with Landon once a week. My body fat has dropped more than 17% over the last 10 years but more importantly, I have been able to maintain it! My fitness level is far beyond anything I could have imagined. Seeing how much I have been able to achieve at the age of 54, I can only imagine what I could have done had I started CrossFit in my 20s or 30s. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner.

Nutrition is still something I have to work hard on every day – I’ve never met a mozzarella I didn’t like – but Landon always makes himself available to offer advice and support. My workouts, however, are better than they’ve ever been. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish and I can honestly say that I owe it to CrossFit.

Thank you Landon and Adrien and I hope to see some of you all in classes MWF at 8:30am!

-Paul


To us, a REBORN athlete embodies and portrays what the entire CFRR coaching team believes in as a whole. This is someone that the entire community as a whole looks up to. Not in the way you might be thinking. Being RX and having the fastest “Fran” time are just numbers. To us being truly REBORN is taking what your life was, and literally changing it to what you have always hoped it would be. Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally you are a new person. You see, once you are truly REBORN, the fear of going back to who you once were just doesn’t haunt you like it used to. The new you feels too good, and its just no longer worth it to be afraid of your previous lifestyle. Being in this place takes years of time and consistency. Tons of mistakes and downfalls. Moments where you have your head in your hands and just think you can’t make it, but with full TRUST and FAITH in what #CFRR believes, YOU OVERCOME. That is to us what it means to be #REBORN.

In August 2015, I was looking to make a change. I finally had enough with the excuses and lack of consistency.  I had been searching all around for a new fitness program to try out as I had continuously jumped around from gyms, group classes/boot camps, etc. I couldn’t seem to find anything that kept my interest for long and/or held me accountable. One day, as I was searching online for surrounding gyms, CFRR popped up in my results. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Landon and Adrien year’s back, when the box first opened. I tried it out for a month but honestly, fitness was just not on my priority list at that time (oops!), and so I didn’t stick with it.  I work about a mile away, so there was really no excuse for me to not drop by and check it out again.

As I walked into the front office, I was immediately greeted with open arms. Landon and Adrien both remembered me and treated me as is if we old friends catching up. Once I was fully informed of the process and what to expect in each class, I was excited to try it out again.

I was definitely intimidated but I knew the path I was about to start on was the right one for me.

I was immediately hooked. The classes were challenging but scalable, the community were both welcoming and motivating. I constantly witnessed the knowledge from each coach and the desire they had to assist me in reaching every goal I set. I grew up playing sports my entire life so working out was nothing new to me. However, the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is how to properly fuel my body.

My diet has been a game changer these past 6 months and I give all credit to CFRR. If it wasn’t for the proper guidance and the variety of meal ideas from the entire community, I wouldn’t have been introduced nor open to trying to new foods. To me, working out is the easiest part of a healthy lifestyle, but obviously I can’t perform well if my food intake is trash. It took me a while to grasp that idea but thankfully, it finally hit home!

Looking back at my journey so far, I can’t help but be proud of myself. I’ve made great progress since day one. It definitely has not been easy, but I can see and feel the hard work and dedication pay off. I owe it all to the coaches and fellow members. I look forward to many more PR’s in my future and setting new goals to conquer!

-Kellie


To us, a REBORN athlete embodies and portrays what the entire CFRR coaching team believes in as a whole. This is someone that the entire community as a whole looks up to. Not in the way you might be thinking. Being RX and having the fastest “Fran” time are just numbers. To us being truly REBORN is taking what your life was, and literally changing it to what you have always hoped it would be. Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally you are a new person. You see, once you are truly REBORN, the fear of going back to who you once were just doesn’t haunt you like it used to. The new you feels too good, and its just no longer worth it to be afraid of your previous lifestyle. Being in this place takes years of time and consistency. Tons of mistakes and downfalls. Moments where you have your head in your hands and just think you can’t make it, but with full TRUST and FAITH in what #CFRR believes, YOU OVERCOME. That is to us what it means to be #REBORN.

Throughout childhood and into my teen and young adult years, weight was never an issue.  In fact, I never really thought about weight.  I was more concerned with my performance as a competitive swimmer and spent a couple hours most days at practice as part of a varsity swim team or as a member of a USA Swim Club.  It wasn’t until I quit swimming competitively that I started to gain weight.

In hindsight, I hate the adage of “it just snuck up on me,” but that is exactly how it felt.

I went into college at a little over 5’9” and weighing 140 pounds, and came out at…are you ready for this: 209 pounds.  Forget the noted “freshman 15,” I smashed that and went for the “undergraduate 70.”  Throughout the next several years I lost some of that weight and by the time I finished graduate school, in 2006, I had managed to get back down to about 150 pounds.  Sounds great, right?  Wrong.  I lost the majority of the weight by cutting out carbohydrates and sporadically going to a global gym.  I worked out on my own but in all reality, I had no idea what I was doing or how to work out in a manner that focused on form and function.

Fast-forward to late 2014, I was ready to make a change as the weight I had lost by cutting out carbohydrates had immediately returned, with a vengeance no less, as soon as I sunk my teeth into something with any carbohydrates in it.  In late November of 2014, at the suggestion of a friend, I joined CrossFit Round Rock (CFRR).  And although I have loved my journey to a healthier lifestyle, I must admit I could have sworn I was near death on more than one occasion, thanks to Annie, Fran, etc.  From the get-go, I always heard “it’s what you eat” and “you can’t outwork a bad diet,” but quite simply I did not believe it (sorry Coach Adrien).  With that said, after a year at CFRR, although I was losing weight and getting stronger, I was not seeing the results I had anticipated.  With that in mind, I had the epiphany that it might actually be true….all that talk about clean eating and stuff.  I slowly, and I mean slowly, started to rethink what I put in my body. It was hard work to reprogram how I viewed food.

By January of 2016, it was FINALLY making sense; healthy eating is the way to go and carbohydrates are not the enemy!

Reading labels and meal prepping still isn’t on my list of favorite things to do, but at least I don’t HATE it anymore.  It just is something that needs to be done and the results speak for themselves.  Throughout 2016 I lost about 50 pounds and I ate plenty of great tasting, healthy food during the journey.  Now I think of food in terms of “how will this help me during a WOD?” and “how will it make me feel.” I am thrilled about the knowledge and support I have received at CFRR! With all that said, I highly recommend anyone who is interested in a healthier lifestyle, take the plunge and try CrossFit.  It is worth every second: all the feelings of accomplishment when hitting a new PR, getting a new movement (like toes-to-bar), and all the sore muscles that let you know you are making progress. Every single Coach at CFRR not only gets to know you, but actually cares, and my fellow classmates not only provide inspiration but they are there cheering you along the way.

Dara


To us a REBORN athlete embodies and portrays what the entire CFRR coaching team believes in as a whole. This is someone that the entire community as a whole looks up to. Not in the way you might be thinking. Being RX and having the fastest “Fran” time are just numbers. To us being truly REBORN is taking what your life was, and literally changing it to what you have always hoped it would be. Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally you are a new person. You see, once you are truly REBORN, the fear of going back to who you once were just doesn’t haunt you like it used to. The new you feels to good, and its just no longer worth it to be afraid of your previous lifestyle. Being in this place takes years of time and consistency. Tons of mistakes and downfalls. Moments where you have your head in your hands and just think you can’t make it, but with full TRUST and FAITH in what #CFRR believes, YOU OVERCOME. That is to us what it means to be #REBORN.

“I’m thankful for my personal struggle, because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” – Marcus

This quote summarizes the last 6 ½ years of my life. Although I didn’t step into CFRR until July 2014, my journey towards the box began on October 3, 2010. That October day was the first time in many years that I did not consume alcohol. I found myself in a Las Vegas emergency room with a busted up face, failing health and in a state of utter shame. I was experiencing alcohol withdraws, suffering from liver damage, jaundice and an enlarged spleen from being an everyday drinker for years. I had pain shooting down both legs due to a bulging disk and spinal stenosis. I wore a CPAP machine each night to control sleep apnea and I was on high blood pressure medicine. At the age of 40, I was obese, tired, withdrawn and it had all finally caught up with me.

Within a week of hitting rock bottom, I sought professional help for my alcohol abuse and spent the next several months in treatment.

I also started to move by simply going for a daily walk. I was 270 pounds and walking was all I could do at the time, plus it helped occupy my mind. Days quickly turned into a month, and that, into several months. Before I knew it, my mind, body and soul started to heal and I completed my outpatient rehab. By the end of 2010, I had lost 20 pounds and the need for blood pressure medicine disappeared. Shortly thereafter, the CPAP machine was eliminated.

 

2011 was a long year. All I could think about was making it to October 3rd, marking my one year anniversary of being alcohol free! I continued to walk daily and incorporated lifting weights and swimming. Throughout that year I became intrigued with using food as fuel verses simply eating because it tasted good. I began to read food labels and educated myself on living a Paleo lifestyle. I also started writing down goals I wanted to accomplish along with a specific plan on how to achieve them.

2012 & 2013 were successful years as well. My marriage was elevated to new levels, my residential real estate business was expanding, I continued to lose weight and exercise was now my new addiction. In 2014, my sister Ida introduced me to CrossFit. She and her family were stationed in Germany at the time and she would blog about her workouts. Ida would post pictures of her moving through those workouts and used terminology such as WOD’s, EMOM’s and TABATA’s. I became bored with the traditional gym and was inspired to try something new, and she encouraged me to try CrossFit.

 

 

In July 2014, I walked into CFRR for the first time. At this point I had lost about 85 pounds on my own and weighed in at 185. When I finished the CFRR Elements classes and joined the group sessions, Coach Kali confronted me with a statement that I reflect on to this day; she said “There is so much more that you’re capable of”. With those simple words and a coach’s intuition, a CrossFit Athlete was “Reborn”. Even after the success I had on my own, a new fire was lit within me. CrossFit was like hitting the reset button and turning back the clock.

I’ve now been at CFRR for 2 ½ years and on a daily basis, I look forward to the mental and physical challenge each workout presents. I attend the early morning classes throughout the week, take 1 PT session a week and join my wife on Saturdays for the Partner Endurance WOD. At one point in my journey, I had lost a total of 101 pounds. I’m now 46 years old and in the best shape of my life at 175 pounds. I’ve not consumed alcohol since the day I quit, 6 ½ years ago. My head is clear and my body is strong, and has recovered as much as possible from prior years of mistreatment.

I’m hopeful that in sharing my journey, I offer encouragement to someone that may be dealing with a difficult situation. I believe that no matter what someone’s situation is or how dark it might appear…it can all be healed. It is not easy to admit our faults or talk about our mistakes but there is so much liberation in doing so. I cannot tell this story without acknowledging the support and love that I received and continue to receive from my friends and family, especially my wife, Kathy “Storm” Garcia and my sister Ida Hanson. If you or someone you know is struggling with a difficult situation, I encourage you or them to seek help. I’ll conclude with words that inspired me many years ago…“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done”.

Marcus