Kirsten Stone

CrossFit 405 was my first CF experience and my CrossFit home, which I joined in August 2017. The first two people I met were Joey Borelli and Danni Meade. They made me feel welcome and comfortable, which is why I decided to sign up there on the spot.

Why did you decide to start CrossFit?

I joined a normal gym for about a year before starting at CrossFit 405. But my strength stalled and boredom set in. I have a friend who is a CrossFit coach and she convinced me to give it a try. She said if my goals are strength oriented, rather than aesthetics, then CrossFit is definitely the way to go, (although our aesthetics are definitely a bonus 😉.) I wasn’t sure which CrossFit gym to go to so she searched Google and sent me the address to CrossFit 405.

What was life like before you started your fitness journey? What motivated you to start?

Honestly, I was miserable... I was 300# and mainly binged on TV shows, ate way too much, and played video games for hours on end. I lived in a 2-story house and became winded doing pretty much anything. My legs would fall asleep when I sat on the floor because I was so big. I had terrible back problems, knee problems and found myself in severe depression. I was a terrible example to my son and I knew that I wasn’t able to keep up with him. I was angry and I hated myself.

One day I was sitting in my office chair playing Roller Coaster Tycoon with my son. He and I would build roller coasters together and then ride them virtually. He asked if he could go on roller coasters for real. I told him of course he could, once he was old enough to. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks…. I would NOT be able to go on roller coasters with my boy. IF I could manage to fit in the seat, how uncomfortable would it be? Would I be able to keep up with him walking around a theme park? Then my mind flooded to all of the things that I wouldn’t be able to share with my son.

My weight, which was literally like carrying around an extra person, was holding me back. I had done it to myself. I told myself that enough is enough and I needed to change my life for myself and for my son.

What is life like for you now?

Life is absolutely amazing! I’ve taken my son indoor sky diving, to Disneyland, ridden on an airplane WITHOUT a belt extender. Physical things I experience daily aren’t difficult for me. I don’t get winded doing anything outside of CrossFit. My back feels a million times better and I get to share a life of health and well-being with my son. I never worry about my ability to do anything or whether or not it will be too hard.

Side bonus: When I was bigger, I would have to be poked 5-6 times with a needle to have blood drawn, but now I roll up my sleeves and its one and done (I hate needles).

What’s been the toughest part about CrossFit?

I would say the toughest part about CrossFit is once I started I became hooked! I have to mentally tell myself to take rest days (which is hard for me because I enjoy it so much). CrossFit 405 is my destress place, my mind is cleared when I’m working out so hard I can’t think of anything else but what I‘m doing. And that’s refreshing, to have an hour a day to just shut out all of the things in my life that cause stress or worry.

What’s been the most rewarding thing for you?

Every day I get to enjoy living in my own skin. I work hard on self-improvement (much like working on a home or a car) and I get to enjoy the benefits of it every day. I get to see how hard I can push myself and I have accomplished more than I ever thought I was capable of. The best part is that I know I’m not done, and I have so much more that I can build upon and skills that I can perfect and learn.

How have you improved through CrossFit? Weight loss, community, strength, feel better, etc?

When I started CrossFit I was about 180# and 22% BF. Through CF (and diet) I was able to reach 141# and 17% BF. I have made a few friends doing CF and learned a lot from the people I’ve met and the coaches I’ve had. Honestly, Aaron is the most supportive dude I’ve ever met. Even when people doubt me, or I doubt myself, he’s there to cheer me on.

Clint was my coach for my competition and he was such an amazing coach! He taught me more than anyone about pacing myself and perfecting my ability to do well in competitions and WODs. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. He said be sure to go all out when you are good at something and when you get to something you struggle with, be sure to take your time, get through it and not get frustrated when you mess up.

What were your keys to success, sticking through it?

When it comes to CrossFit in general, the biggest thing for me is to not give up during a workout. There is no such thing as “can’t” or “quit”. When it starts to “hurt” it’s all mental. I push past my head telling me to stop and eventually my brain stops thinking about the “hurt” and I just go, movement after movement until I am done. I get daily satisfaction when I know I did a workout to the best of my ability.

The key with CrossFit is to remember that everyone member is investing in themselves. Everyone is at different fitness levels and have various abilities. Never compare yourself to others, only compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Don’t worry if you were first or last, just do it without giving up. Most importantly, don’t cheat yourself. Do all the reps, do them the right way and be honest, because the only person who will suffer is yourself. You cannot improve if you take the easy way out.

Set physical, mental and strength goals and do what it takes to get there. Once you reach a goal, set a new one! The sky is the limit! I want to eventually do every movement in CrossFit. Yeah, it may take a few years, but along the way I will continue to improve and hit smaller goals I’ve set for myself. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

When it comes to weight loss, the biggest thing people get stuck on is the scale. It’s a tool for measurement. The scale does not define you. Fitness and weight loss is relative. At one point I did not drop weight for THREE MONTHS! BUT the key to success was my pictures. I would take a picture DAILY and I weighed myself DAILY remembering that weight fluctuates and that the scale is relative. But when you don’t drop weight for 3 months, it’s hard to keep the faith. If I felt discouraged, I would pull up the picture from that day and put it next to a picture from a month ago. That’s when I realized that the scale is only a tool. My body composition had changed soooo much in that period of time. I had leaned out and built muscle, but the scale hadn’t changed. Time will pass, it’s what you do with that time that will define your future.

Share some of those highlight moments that you’ve had with your journey? What happened?

When I first started CF I couldn’t do a single pull-up (this was one of my biggest goals). Over the course of the first three months, I worked hard at them, doing banded pull-ups, eccentric pull-ups, ISO holds, etc. In October, I started training for this awesome competition I had heard about. In December 2017 I got my first strict pull-up. I had never done a pull-up in my life. I knew that I had gotten stronger and CF was directly responsible for my accomplishment.

I was prior USAF and I had become more physically fit AFTER my service than I ever was in. And then my entire world was rocked. One week later I was stopped on the freeway with the rest of traffic and was rear-ended by a woman driving a Chevy 1500 going 65 mph. I received a concussion, herniated disks, a torn disk, contusions to the back of my scalp, a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff. I was devastated. This thing that was out of my control completely halted any and all progress I had made on my goals. CrossFit had become my saving grace and it was ripped away from me. When I came back to the gym I had to scale my workout even more than I did before. I felt frustrated but I didn’t want to give up so I pushed myself… Too hard it turns out. I had done a workout and gave myself a postsecondary concussion.

CrossFit is all mental and I had trained myself to not give up and to give it my all. But I was unable to give it my all because the risk of the side effects of concussions are life-long. I did what I could and kept my routine. Eventually I got to the point where I could go all out again and do my very best. I began training for my competition again and despite the physical injuries I still have (Torn shoulder and torn, herniated lumbar disks) I competed in my first CF competition in August 2018 and placed 8th overall, which is better than I ever imagined. That day was surreal for me. I know that if I didn’t have the injuries I had, it’s possible that I could have done better, but I know I gave it everything I could and ended up placing top 3, top 5 and top 7 in 3 of the 6 events. That was the happiest I’d been with my fitness in a long time and I know that the only direction from here is up.

If you could go back to when you first started, what would you tell yourself?

Oh boy! If I could go back, I suppose I’d ask you how far back can I go?! If I could go back to when I was a little girl being bullied for being too fat in 6th grade and being made fun of for wearing a training bra: I would tell her that people will bully you if your big or small, fat or skinny, rich or poor. But that you will be happier with your life if you’re not struggling with being uncomfortable wearing clothing, frustrated finding something that doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing a tent and sad with the way that every physical task is made more difficult because you’re too (face it) lazy to get off the couch and don’t have the ability to tell yourself that moderation is a thing when it comes to food. Just because you’re predisposed to the “fat gene” doesn’t mean that you have to be “fat”. You can be whatever you want to be, and life in general is so much easier when you’re physically fit. Get up and move.

If I could go back to when I was in High school I would tell myself that doing Macros (it’s what worked for me the most) will help with any and all weight problems I had and to get involved in more sports, and that physical activities are fun! I had done every diet imaginable and Yo-yo’d in weight my whole life (which severely stunted my metabolism- I tried it all: Atkins, calorie cutting in the extreme, military diet, 3 day diet, weight watchers, Nutrasystem, cabbage soup diet, etc.). I would tell myself that I am worth respecting myself and my body. That I am capable of more than I could ever dream of and that there is a world out there to explore and that I will be unable to do so if I allow myself to get to 300#. CrossFit has changed my life… When I was bored of commercial gym and weight lifting and felt like I reached my full potential there, CF saved me and showed me that I still have so much more room to grow, physically, aesthetically and mentally.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80. You can do CrossFit. It doesn’t matter if you’re 100# or 400#. You can do CrossFit. The only person stopping you from reaching your full potential is you. I have so many more goals set for myself. I’d like to get my class 1 and then my kids instructor license for CrossFit so that I can teach my son properly because he enjoys the gymnastics of CrossFit and always loves doing workouts with me. When I asked him how it was, he said it was hard. Then I asked him how he felt about it, he said he liked it. I love being a good example for him. I love being able to pick him up and put him in a fireman’s carry and lunge down the hallway with him while he giggles and says, “this is fun Mommy!” Nothing warms my heart more than my son being happy and knowing that I am able to do so by being physically fit, makes CrossFit worth every penny and every hour spent.

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Dustin Stokes

My newborn was finally asleep, but I almost dropped him getting up from the rocker. It took everything within me to safely put him in the crib before I collapsed and army crawled myself out of his room. Humiliated and concerned for the future, I knew things had to change.

 

As a child, I grew up super tall and very skinny, but in middle school, things changed. More interested in computers and air conditioning, I shunned sports and the outdoors in exchange for blocks of cream cheese and sleeves of crackers while watching the Animaniacs or Tailspin.

Fast forward to college, family-sized pasta sides were on the reg, rarely any decent protein, except for a big burger and fries, and I drank soda by the gallon. I also worked for Big Soda and drove many, many miles installing soda fountains in convenience stores and restaurants.

My self confidence lowered as my weight rose higher. At 23, my weight was around 350. At 6'8", I could carry it well enough, but my back, hips, blood-pressure, and energy levels told the true story. Also, smoking 3 packs a day didn't help either.

At 26, something clicked. I realized that I simply wasn't doing myself any favors, that there was more to life than the direction I was headed. I wanted something different.

Between the age of 27 to 35, my weight fluctuated a ton, going from 350 down to 260, back up, back down, etc. All the while doing what I could at local, conventional gyms. I tried lifting weights, running on the treadmill, and counting calories, but I had no clue what I was doing.

Around 30, shortly after my son was born, I stood to put him in his crib when my back seized up, giving more pain than I had ever experienced to that point. I literally almost dropped him to the ground, but somehow got him safely in his crib before I collapsed and army crawled out of his room. I asked my wife for the heating pad and ibuprofen as I contemplated my horrible life choices. I knew something had to change.

The weight roller coaster continued until I saw some friends having amazing results after doing CrossFit and Whole 30. They were dropping weight like crazy, weren’t necessarily the athletic type, but they loved what they were doing. I started asking tons of questions.

One day, I went to the free class with a friend. I don't remember the full workout, but had to stop halfway through the workout because I thought I would throw up. Later, I learned it was just the strength portion. In fact, I think I actually did die, but came back to life a week later when the soreness subsided. All I do remember were the friendly faces cheering me on. I thought that was cool.

We hear all the time that people are afraid that they will get hurt, or that they should be in a particular shape before beginning CrossFit. I thought the same, and was genuinely afraid to start. But six months later, I took the plunge and started the On-Ramp course.

Looking back, we have the free classes where you can come try out a workout, but if you were like me with no experience working out, I recommend just going through the On-Ramp course. I fear some people don't give CrossFit a fair shake because they are so overwhelmed by the free class.

To make a long story short, CrossFit has literally changed my life. I feel better in my 30's than I ever did in my 20's. My back rarely hurts anymore. I'm stronger, I've lost weight, and I've gained muscle. I've definitely gained more self-confidence.

To me, the best thing I've gained are the amazing friends I've met. Before, I was a nervous-wreck in a normal gym.I felt everyone was looking at me, criticizing me in their mind -- feelings I'm sure most people are familiar with. I can't speak for everyone, but I've learned that those thoughts really just come from myself, my own fear.

At CrossFit 405, I've never felt afraid, judged, criticized, less-than, or laughed at. I've got a family that cheers me on, encourages, drives, occasionally pulls me along when I'm feeling down or tired, both inside the gym and out.

So, from my perspective, here's the deal: at CrossFit 405, you'll find a family, you'll find fitness, you'll find a level of success that you never thought possible. That success will be realized inside the gym and out as you find like-minded people who care about themselves and each other. You'll meet amazing people, but most importantly, you'll meet the real you, just like I did.

Today, I'm no longer scared of dropping my kids. Actually, I'm doing flips with them on the trampoline. My big fitness goal for 2018 is to learn to do a backflip at 38, just so I can show off to my boys.

If you're interested in CrossFit, jump into our next On-Ramp class. Your life will never be the same.

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Doug Serven

When Doug and his wife celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary back in March 2014, he wanted a get-fit-quick scheme before going to Aruba. While the goal was rather unrealistic, it got him into CrossFit 405. Aaron, owner of CrossFit 405, was gracious and positive in Doug’s goals.

 

When Doug and his wife celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary back in March 2014, he wanted a get-fit-quick scheme before going to Aruba. While the goal was rather unrealistic, it got him into CrossFit 405. Aaron, owner of CrossFit 405, was gracious and positive in Doug’s goals.

Picture of Doug pushing a barbell overhead.

Prior to CrossFit, Doug was fairly well-versed in fitness and sports. He played racquetball several times a week and had finished three full marathons. But Doug soon capped out in both of these sports and became bored, while also realizing neither one had improved his upper body strength.

“My first CrossFit workout kicked my ass. I was last by five minutes, so I knew I had to come back. That was ridiculous.” So he continued to come back, and as he did, he began to see improvements. “As a prideful person, I had to keep on not giving up when I got last place, because I knew I was still better than when I had started that day.”

Picture of Doug jumping rope.

Doug has found CrossFit to be rewarding both physically and mentally. As the pastor of CityPres, Doug has the unique responsibility of sharing in other people’s joy, as well as their pain.

“It's good for me to knock some of that out on a kettle bell or wall ball instead of the many other ways stress can manifest itself. And honestly, when you show up at the same time over and over every day, you make some serious friends. When you suffer together, you also rejoice together. You pray (literally or figuratively) together. You cuss. You repent. You win. You lose. So I've made amazing friends. I've done weddings. I've baptized babies and attended funerals. I've prayed for and with. I've laughed really hard. I've dressed up as an idiot. I've counted reps. I've lost and won. I've gained and loss. I count it all joy.”

Picture of Aaron and Doug dressed in a ridiculous wig.

Doug says he counts success first as showing up, second as making friends, and third as completing the workout. Everything else is bonus. He tries his best to show up to parties, events and workouts outside of the usual WOD in order to dive into the community aspect as best he can.

He also encourages newcomers not to bypass mobility in favor of barbells.

“Make a wise decision at first to focus on proper form and especially mobility. You'll get stronger, but strength without flexibility tops out pretty quickly. Extra stretching and mobility go a long way. I envy the flexible people. Proper form will probably win out over brute strength over time.”

While Doug is stronger and fitter than ever, his biggest improvement has been making so many friends.

“I appreciate Aaron and Holly, the coaches, and the athletes for working with me and encouraging me, answering my questions and pushing me when I needed it. For hanging back and letting me figure it out. For being patient with my questions and lack of mobility.”

To really represent the true change he's seen physically, he did ask specifically to include his latest "after" photo. You're welcome, Doug.

Crazy photoshopped picture of Doug's face on a man's body with large muscles, sitting on top of a horse with a fantasy image in the background.

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Coy McDonald

At forty, Coy McDonald was the heaviest she’d ever been. She was tired, unhappy with herself, and hesitant to try new things because of her weight.

 

At forty, Coy McDonald was the heaviest she’d ever been.

She was tired, unhappy with herself, and hesitant to try new things because of her weight.

“I figured, well, this is what forty is going to be like, and this is the way it’s going to be.” Fear initially kept her from the box. Fear that she would show up and be unable to do any of the workout, fear that she was too overweight. “I felt like everyone was going to be better than me, and I’d be a big flop.”

When Coy’s husband bribed her with a tropical vacation, she decided to take the plunge. “I completed On-Ramp, joined the classes, and began facing my fears. When I started, I was afraid of lifting anything heavy overhead. Then I clean-and-jerked 100 pounds.”

Now, Coy has a new set of goals that include getting stronger and improving her gymnastics skills. “I just want to get stronger, faster, and be the best that I can be. I love that there’s no trick to CrossFit. You just show up, do the work, and watch it happen.”

Coy has been CrossFitting for two years now. “If you have any doubts about starting CrossFit, just go for it. You’re not going to get thinner, stronger, or faster until you start.”

So start now. Take the plunge. Face your fears.

You’re stronger than you think.

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Danae Grace

I initially wasn’t looking to lose a ton of weight, but I was “skinny-fat” and I wanted to gain some muscle. I never thought getting a pull up was possible when I first started at 405.

I worked every day for 2+ months gaining the strength to do pull-ups and finally got them! I’ve been surprised at how well I’ve done with movements like handstand pushups and pistols. These are movements I never thought I could achieve but with a little focus and attention on good form, I’ve been able to pick them up.

Crossfit405 has become a part of our everyday life and the people we’ve met have become some of our closest friends. I consistently worked out 5x a week through my entire pregnancy and I even hit a few PR’s along the way, including a Strict Press PR at 38 weeks!

Staying active was difficult, and pull-ups got a lot heavier, but I think that CrossFit helped me to maintain my strength and have a very healthy pregnancy. Evan and I are certainly healthier and happier because of CF405!

Evan Grace

I loved the idea of constantly competing; with others & with myself. I remember when I started at CrossFit 405, I thought there was no chance I would ever be able to do things like an overhead squat or muscle ups.

Looking back my flexibility is worlds better because of the coaching and progression taught by the coaches. The desire to improve fitness and performance in the gym carries over to other aspects in life. I eat better, sleep better, and have healthier habits because of my involvement with CrossFit 405.

I have always worked out but never had fitness goals. Having goals allows you to get outside of your comfort zone. Only when you push those limits do you improve. I went from not being able to Overhead Squat the PVC pipe to being able to snatch my bodyweight.

The greatest impact is the people though. Danae and I have built many great, lasting relationship with fellow 405’ers.

Ron Matthews

I was looking for something that would challenge me & that I would like. I had spent years looking for something similar since I arrived in Oklahoma in the summer of 2008. It took a while, but I've found so much more in 405.

In Jan. 2010, I had micro-fracture surgery on my right knee, an injury that has ended the careers of many athletes. I was told my days of running were probably over, that a 5K might be realistic but anything over was out of the question. Well I'm stubborn & I love to prove people wrong.

I've done six half marathons since that injury, and in April ran my first sub-1:45 half, a goal I had been chasing for a long, long time. CrossFit 405 has impacted my life dramatically!

It's how I start my day. I take my role as 6:30AM ambassador very seriously! I look forward to stepping in the gym whatever the occasion; a workout, a pop-in to say hi or weekly happy hour!

Buzzy’s

Age 55 Programs: Custom Programming and CrossFit group classes Buzzy’s words: “It will be hard to describe the impact that CrossFit 405 has made on my life, but I will try. Before I started participating in CrossFit, I was just doing the same thing over and over. I was sort of stagnant. I did enjoy the rowing competitions, but I knew as I became older, those days of being competitive against the younger guys would soon be over. And in fact that has held true. Where 3 years ago, a sub 7 minute 2k Row was relatively easy, now is unattainable for me. Where once I was OKC’s fastest erg rower, I now have 2 teammates that can beat me. We won the open class again this year (one of my teammates beat my 3 year old record). That proves again what I said about teammates. They are your most valuable asset. I hope that I have served my teammates well, and I

Debbie

Age 43 Programs: CrossFit group classes and nutrition Debbie’s words: I am not someone that you would expect to be an avid CrossFitter. I was never athletic, never went out for sports, and never joined a gym before coming to CrossFit 405. I feel better now than I ever have. I’m totally hooked. I started nearly 4 years ago at age 39. One morning as I was getting dressed for work, I struggled to get into my plus-sized jeans. They were my largest pair. I decided that if was going to buy new pants, they should be smaller, not bigger. I liked the class format. Having never worked out before, I definitely needed guidance on what to do. We worked on a skill or strength and then we all worked out together. I did things I never thought I could or would do. I ran my first mile at CrossFit 405. I cherish that memory. I was never able to run long distances as a child, due to my asthma. Cleaning up my diet made my asthma symptoms disappear. I really love lifting. I love how lifting heavy things makes me feel empowered. I wish I could say I was a great lifter, but the fact is, I’m not. I try hard and the CrossFit 405 coaches and members are always encouraging. They’re like a second family. They keep me motivated and make me want to come back and do better. The bottom line is that I’m a middle-aged woman who is having the time of her life at the gym. If I can do it, you can too! I’ll cheer you on if you cheer me on!