The word athlete and my name have never been used in the same sentence. Although I played some sports growing up (mostly baseball and softball) I was never any good. I don't know why, but I didn't have any desire to practice to be better.
When I was in high school I took weight lifting as a gym class. This was something I enjoyed and was pretty good at. The school had weight lifting competitions a few times a year and I did pretty well and always came out on top. The competition was essential an AMRAP of three exercises, how many times you can press 225 weight stack, dips and toe to bar. From that I joined a gym and worked out pretty regularly through my 20’s.
As I think back, the first gym I joined was unique in that you had to know someone to become a member. You got a key for the place and went whenever you wanted 24/7. It was a down and dirty place with holes in the floor mostly free weights and very few machines. It was a great environment because there was no b.s. and that no matter when you went, there was always someone there who you could work out with.
I was pretty consistent until I was about 30. Between 30 and 50 I still exercised, but without any consistency. I was all over the place trying to find something I enjoyed. I tried so many different gyms, different trainers, MMA classes, and running. I hate to run but was able to go from barely being able to run to the end of the driveway to running 5k’s, 10k’s and half marathons.
Since I was a kid, work was always my focus and priority. It more or less takes precedence over most things. As I was turning 40 I had some life changing situations and before I knew it I was 50, 255 lbs, not feeling healthy, my knees, shoulder and back were always in some kind of pain or discomfort. Although I was loving my life, wife and three young energetic kids I was very disappointed with my well being. I realized that I needed to make health and fitness a priority in my life if I was going to have any kind of longevity. So I started to mountain bike, but the knee pain was making it hard for me to walk afterwards. I also joined a gym again and tried to change my eating habits. I lost 10 lbs but quickly became bored doing arm curls or staring at the TV while on a elliptical. I knew that wasn't going to work long term. However, I was intrigued, but intimidated by what was happening at the back of the gym. I convinced Ann Marie who was looking for a change too that she should go check it out. I sent her into the lion's den to see while I waited outside. She joined and I followed.
My initial intent was to do the CrossFit program like her. By accident, I went to a 4:30 class that turned out not to be CrossFit, but a strength and conditioning class. I quickly realized it was exactly what I was looking for. The perfect combination of strength training which I loved as a kid with just the right amount of cardio. The classes are well organized, challenging and always something new. The advice and guidance Coach Ray has provided has been invaluable. Early on in my training, I mentioned my knee pain to Coach Ray and he said I needed to get a ball and roll out my hips. I was thinking that makes no sense - why would I roll out my hips if my knees hurt but I will try anything. Before I knew it the knee pain was mostly gone. I have been part of 4 nutritional challenges so far and they have really helped me focus of my nutrition.
Since joining 10 months ago my knee, shoulder and back pain are basically gone. I have lost about 30 more pounds and more than 10% body fat. I’m getting stronger with better mobility everyday. I am in better shape today at 51 than I was at 40. I wake up every morning excited about and looking forward to class later that day. I still have much more to accomplish towards my health and well being but I’m psyched about it….
AMRAP Fitness was one of the best decisions I have ever made.