In June of 2010, my wife Barbara and I were living in Budapest, Hungary with our then 2 1/2 year old son, Danny, and we were expecting our second son, Kelen, in July. I was training with my Hungarian team for the WFDF Ultimate Frisbee World Championships that were to be held in Prague, Czech Republic.
One morning, I suddenly came down with an illness. It caused me to pass out and I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. After six days in the hospital, the doctors discovered I had pneumonia in my entire right lung, an infection in the lining of my heart, and every organ in my GI tract was inflamed and shutting down. The doctors told Barbara they were worried that my body was shutting down and I was going to die.
After ten days recovering in the hospital, I lost 10-15 pounds, had a fraction of the lung capacity I previously did from the pneumonia, and wasn’t allowed to exercise for six months because of the infection in the lining of my heart. I essentially lost all the muscle I had built up and couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without pausing to catch my breath. Competing in the world championships was out of the question. As I got back to my normal life, I put some weight back on in the form of fat. I was still thin, but my body composition changed dramatically.
When we returned to Austin after Kelen was born, I was finally allowed to start working out again. In addition to getting healthy, I wanted to get back into playing shape for ultimate frisbee. Jennifer Lee, whom I had worked with previously, mentioned that I should come out to the Relentless Boot Camp Lisa Thiel was coaching. My first time at boot camp, I made it 15 minutes before I had to stop. That was almost 4 years ago now!
As a very young kid, I was always super skinny. I didn’t have much muscle or athletic ability and as my parents weren’t athletic, it wasn’t emphasized. I played baseball and soccer, but in late elementary school and junior high, I discovered computers and video games. I stopped playing sports altogether and put on some weight. During my senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to get in shape and get myself ready for college. I started running with the long-distance track team (> 25 miles per week), cut out all red meat, sodas, and at better in general. I lost 40 pounds in 4 months (190 to 150) and my athletic abilities started showing up. It energized me and changed my mindset in such a way that I never wanted to be out of shape again.
I started lifting weights, running, and played ultimate frisbee my freshman year in college. From then on, I was hooked. I looked at working out as a way to be in shape for ultimate, but also as a way to look and feel the way I wanted to. I lifted based on what I had learned from friends and from P.E. classes in college and ran the workouts designed by the coaches of the teams I was on. I was in good shape, but I was over training: training in the wrong ways and injuring myself. I was constantly sore and I couldn’t perform at the level that I should have been able to perform.
Put on 15lbs of muscle and has 7% Body fat
Since joining CrossFit Central, I have not only able to get back into shape for ultimate frisbee, but I am in better shape than I have ever been in in my life. I have played elite, competitive ultimate frisbee for 15 years, but now I feel like I can truly perform at the level I expect of myself. I started a master’s ultimate frisbee team, Tejas, with a friend of mine and after 4 years together, we won the USA Ultimate Master’s National Championships this past July!
My body composition is better, I am stronger and faster, and I am able to avoid injury. Doing the Relentless Boot Camp has allowed me to keep from overtraining but still gets me ready to play ultimate frisbee. I got my body fat down to 7% last year (the lowest since I was 21) and I ran multiple 5:16 miles. I’m stronger and leaner than I’ve ever been, or ever expected to become.
But, I think the biggest thing the workouts have done for me is better allow me to structure and prepare for my day. With two kids, a demanding job and family life – my previous habits of working and staying up late weren’t going to cut it anymore. I’ve now come to enjoy being up early and working out before work gives me energy for the day.