I initially joined CrossFit Central after I had getting back from a three month trip abroad. Although I had spent time in college and abroad working out, I had come back from the trip several pounds less than when I left. It was pretty disheartening, and I dreaded the prospect of going back into the gym and doing the same repetitive movements every week every day over and over. I had just lost interest. I did not really know much about CrossFit, and only really heard about it because my friend Arin Blaylock had been going for a few months prior to me. So, on a whim I did research to find what CrossFit box would be the best for me. I wanted to find one close by with a good reputation. CrossFit Central had been in the community for such a long time, and being one of the first 50 boxes around the country was important to me, so I signed up for an Elements class, and a little over 15 months later, I’m still here!

Prior to CrossFit I have to say I was in a pretty bleak place. I was entering my senior year in college, I did not have an idea of where I was going to find a job or live, I was grappling with this idea that my adulthood was beginning,not only that, I was always pretty weird when it came to athletic ability. I was not a high school athlete and I was overweight growing up, but I liked lifting and working out. Problem was, that I never really challenged myself. I never really did work that pushed me to my limits. I needed someone to coach me, and I also (in retrospect now) realized that I had terrible form. But I was so blinded in thinking I knew what I was doing, that I was actually harming myself. Not pushing myself meant I was constantly plateauing, and that was always frustrating since I used the gym as a place to relieve stress. In terms of how I was socially, I had no trouble being really social, but what I did have a problem with was finding a hobby that I felt passionate about to share with others; something that I could say was “mine.”

Brandon went from 18% body fat to 9% body fat

The results from CrossFit are too many to count! In terms of numbers, I have a squat at 350 lbs., a deadlift at 455, a front squat at 300, a clean at 255 lbs., and I can do muscle ups (that’s the move I’m most proud of). My numbers on heavy squats, deadlifts, and cleans are all really impressive and I’m glad I see strength increases like I couldn’t imagine, but being able to do gymnastic movements that really require you to have perfect form and control over your body are the things I really like to work on. Aside from that, the most important results I can take away besides strength and size (I can see abs these days which is a plus), but in the long term, CrossFit has fixed my form on a lot of different movements. Having coaches that have worked so long in CrossFit and fitness means I am able to get quality review on form. For example: prior to CrossFit I used to have a nagging knee pain in my left leg whenever I squatted. Turns out, it was because of my foot setting that my knee was hurting. A simple fix involving planting and doing this sort of “corkscrew” motion changed my squat overnight, and it was a relief! People who don’t know CrossFit tend to say that CrossFitters have bad form. But I, and I’m sure many people also believe quite the opposite: had it not been for CrossFit, I would have likely injured myself from improper form.

Before joining CrossFit Central going out of my comfort zone had always caused anxiety. Whether it was a speech, or being in social situations, or doing things that I wasn’t used to doing. That’s why I was plateauing in the gym – because I wasn’t willing to push myself. While I don’t think I was anxious to the point of not being social, there was often that “butterfly” feeling in my stomach whenever I had to do new things. By the nature of CrossFit, everything is constantly changing and that translated outside the gym as well. Every Friday, the advanced class does one of the benchmark wods – Nancy, Fran, Grace, etc. While I still think those days give me some anxiety, I can now translate that into adrenaline. I utilize that outside the gym as well.

Being in a place like CrossFit Central, where everyone is kind, supportive, badass, and also from different backgrounds, ages, and professions – I feel lucky. Because of CrossFit I made a promise to myself to only surround myself with people who want to better themselves because that kind of behavior is addicting! The confidence I got from CrossFit has translated into confidence in my professional life, and my social realm. I like challenges now, and even if I get thrown into professional, or social situations where I don’t know anything or anyone, it’s no longer a problem for me. Now I can teach myself to “figure it out” and ride that anxiety and use it to motivate and inspire me. Not only that, but I’m a generally more positive person and that’s nice because it means people want to be around me. There’s a very apparent satisfaction when people ask what I do for fitness or ask questions about what type of weights I can lift, and they are impressed. It’s safe to say that CrossFit has really instilled a passion for nutrition and fitness as future career paths. I’m not married to any profession, so I’m completely open to the possibility that my love of CrossFit, fitness, and nutrition will take me further that I could have ever imagined. But most important, CrossFit has opened me to a new group of friends that I can rely on and see on a regular basis. It’s great to be able to support each other in an environment like this.