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.