For several years, I rejected the notion of joining a gym or trying to lose weight. I never thought that I could do it. I was a baseball player and when I blew out my ankle and the dream died at home plate in Pequannock in May of 1990, I gave up thinking about myself as an athlete. If I wasn't training for baseball, why train? As I got older, it got harder and harder to stay in shape or lose weight, but more importantly, it got harder and harder to "moderate".
I made a decision on January 9, 2015, a Friday night. I decided to go to CFEH to see what a workout would be like. Kathy asked and I agreed. On that Friday night, I made the decision to change my life.
Saturday January 10th's 10am class: I watched in horror. It was a circuit and I sat in front of burpee box jump station. Even as I watched, I thought I was going to throw up! Then Damien came over and asked me what I thought. I immediately lied..."I think I would like to do that," I said.
Knowing myself, if I didn't commit right there, I would never be back. So I agreed to come in for a few one-on-one training sessions that week to learn the techniques. Those were rough. I couldn't do 10 push ups on my knees without stopping. I couldn't do 15 sit ups without a break. I couldn't do 12 squats without feeling like my legs were jelly. But I pushed through because I made a decision. It has been a tough, fun, exhilarating few months. Three times a week I go and do things that an old fat guy shouldn't be able to do.
And on May 24, 2015, I did "The Murph". I ran a mile, did 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats and then ran another mile in 52+ minutes. I never thought I could or would be able to do that or most of the things I am doing now. My goal was to lose 40 lbs. On January 11th, Damien was pretty conservative, saying that 5-7 lbs per month would be reasonable. That would mean I would achieve the goal at the end of August. I thought, "F that! I don't want to be 'Fat Dad' again down the shore!" For those trying to lose weight, the most valuable tool for my weight-loss effort was My Journal on Wodify. I wrote down everything about my eating and drinking habits. Damien read what I was eating and when I was eating on a daily basis for several months. He kept me accountable but he also gave me great tips and suggestions. Who knew eating cheese for a snack could lead to excessive wine drinking! I also relied heavily on Kathy, who helped me change my eating habits over these past few months. (If you haven't noticed, Damien tends to eat like a body builder! i.e.10-egg omelets)
And on May 21, 2015, the scale said I had lost 40 lbs since January 9.
The health benefits have been unbelievable. I've stopped snoring and get a better night's sleep. I have more energy. My skin has cleared up. I truly feel incredible. Although I still sweat a lot! But it is workout sweat. Thanks to Damien, I don't sweat anymore when I brush my teeth. Damien, as we all know, makes us do things that hurt. For that I say, thank you. The short term hurt, makes the long term results well worth it. In the short term, pulling a sled around a parking lot is hard and probably looks friggin' ridiculous to outsiders, particularly animals. I pictured the cartoon bubble over Marcus' head the other day..."What the hell is Dad making them do now? Pull a sled in a parking lot? Where the hell are they going with it? Why are they coming back with the same damn sled? They didn't go anywhere and they are sweating and out of breath. These people are idiots! I need one of them to pet me!" For the short-term pain and long-term benefits, 'Thank You Coach'. You have made my decision a lot easier with your support, help, humor and WODs. You are a special person. If you weren't you, I would NOT have stuck with this, let alone walk around with an empty beer keg over my head!
And while Damien makes this all work, I could never have achieved what I have achieved without the men and women I workout with. There is a level of support and encouragement at CFEH that is unreal. After a WOD in February, I told Becca that she was "my hero"- actually, I don't think she heard me because I was gasping for air from excessive burpees. But regardless, I meant it. We work out together often and she is my hero. Not because she can kick my ass in a heartbeat but because she continually encouraged me and cheered me on to finish the WODs when 25 pushups on my knees was a virtual impossibility. Getting my first "like" on a workout from Martha meant the world to me because you made me realize that I am not doing this alone. I've tried to keep up with Lenny, Rishi, Tony, Drew and others, even though I knew that was not possible and downright stupid. But you guys gave me the incentive and drive to work out harder and in turn, get results faster. BTW, I don't try to keep up with Becca because we all know that's just downright moronic to even try.
See, all of you are just as important to my decision as Damien has been and you didn't even know it. I took it as a compliment that Andy didn't even recognize me three weeks ago because I had lost so much weight!
And at the risk of sounding sappy, I must say thank you to my beautiful wife for helping me to get healthy. She helped me make a huge lifestyle change and I am lighter and in better shape than I have been in years. She never pushed. She never nagged. She did, however, give me dirty looks for years as I drank wine from a pint glass and heated up yet another huge plate of pasta at 11pm. Kathy set a quiet example for me and let me make my decision on my own. I am blessed and so very lucky to have her in my life. Not sure what I did to deserve her. Of course if I lose too much weight, she might not recognize me and think she is cheating on her fat husband! I was really skeptical for a long time about CFEH because I was scared. I was scared to workout and embarrass myself in front of others. I was scared to try something that might hurt. But mostly, I was scared to fail. I don't think I am alone in those feelings. But I made a decision because I was really tired of being fat and really tired of people complaining that I was taking up most of space in a group photo.
40lbs was the goal- CHECK. Now the goal is to run a 5k with Coach Julia and the CFEH Running Club. No sense in stopping now- I drank the proverbial CFEH kool-aid or the Fit-Aid as it is. But in all seriousness, Thank You all for helping me make this life changing decision become a life altering reality.
This email is long overdue but I wanted to share with you how much you have helped me change me and my life during the past 8 months. Back in August 2013, you were fairly new and I was just getting used to you as the new trainer. I had been doing boot camp with a different trainer who I really liked. I didn’t know you and you didn’t know me very well, but I knew we were both committed to our workouts.There was a particular day that I will never forget, where you literally changed my life. We were doing a work out where we had to run a lap around the building, come in, do a series of dead lifts, then do another lap. It was for 5 rounds. At that time I could barely make it around the building once, never mind 5 times, with dead lifts in between. As usual, I was the slowest in the class and knew I would be the last to finish. That didn’t bother me but I was pretty sure I would never be able to do 5 laps. I had finished my last set of dead lifts and it was time to do my last lap. I was headed out the door, and the next thing I knew, there you were next to me, jogging with me around the building. You kept telling me how good I was doing and that I could make it. I didn’t want to embarrass myself so I just kept going. Huffing and puffing I finally made it around with you at my side. We got back inside, you gave me a huge high five and told me that I had just run a mile!! A mile?? I never in my life thought I could run a mile, but I did. I went home and that night couldn’t stop telling the story of how I ran a whole mile. I told my family then that wanted to start running, and I did. In 3 weeks I will run my first 5K . I can’t wait to do it as it really is something I never imagined I would do in my life. My goal is to run ( slow jog) the whole way and finish strong.When I started here about a year ago, I couldn’t do a squat, not a push up nor a sit up. I couldn’t even jog 1 lap around the building. I was a 59 year old woman who hadn’t exercised in almost 40 years. I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed up. I knew I wanted to get healthier and stronger but the benefits that I have gained are way more than I could even have imagined back then.I am physically stronger, my blood pressure is back in the normal range, as is my cholesterol, and I have lost some weight. As important as those things are, just as important are these: I have regained my self confidence, I believe I can do just about anything I set my mind to, I am willing to try new things and I am a much happier, healthier me!!. Your way of training has kept me going for the past 8 months. You coach, teach, inspire, and push when needed to get me to do the very best I can at whatever WOD we are doing. Probably like many people I have wanted to give up, quit and go home many times, but just at those times, you’ve been there to push me on and encourage me and help me succeed. I always leave your class feeling so much better than when I walk in. I have a long way to go for sure but I know now that this is a journey, not an exercise class I attend three times a week. I know you are right there with me as well as the other members of our class. I have met the most awesome people who I consider friends, not just people I see at the gym. You have developed an atmosphere of pride, encouragement, respect, and acceptance. I love the people I work out with and they are also responsible for keeping me going and making me want to come back each Monday Wednesday and Friday. There is a camaraderie among our members and I always feel like I belong even if I am the last the slowest, the weakest etc.
So thanks Damien, for all of your hard work, long hours, patience, expertise, and for being such a great trainer and a really great guy. You have helped me change myself not just on the outside but who I am on the inside.