In 2008, while stationed in Okinawa a fried of mine started CrossFit and was trying to “pitch” his cultish ways on to many of his fellow Marines. That fall we deployed to Iraq and I decided I would give it a shot as my training program; I have never looked back. CrossFit changed my life, from the way I train, the way I eat, and my overall self attitude. When I started I was a religious main-site follower, like most CrossFitters, and when I started becoming competitive with the other who would post to comments I looked for other ways to improve my times. Nutrition was the obvious next step. Since then I have toyed with my diet and training to what works best for me, but the number one thing I have taken from the last four years is that a GPP strength and conditioning program is the best way to train. I have made incredible strides from when I began, on my own and at Tri-Cities CrossFit (I think you might remember the 172lb version of me that could barely jerk #215). I believe in this programming because I have lived the results for over 4 years now. I have also seen similar results in many if not all of the Marines I had the honor of working with who trained with me.
Eight months after I started CrossFit, I was fortunate enough to have a leave block that coincided with a Level I cert. I jumped at the opportunity and was happy to expand my knowledge base to train my Marines. Coaching has always been a very gratifying experience when I see the positive influence and changes that this type of training can give to others. Besides helping myself get a perfect 300 PFT, my entire team all had perfect 300 PFT’s. My close friend, who at the time was a 215 lb animal, wanted to start getting ready to play football at school when we I finished up my enlistment. He came to me, we worked on the lifts that would be necessary for him at that level, and I gave him some advice on how to put on some weight. Even though he was the better athlete it was a humbling experience to have him listen and believe in what I was teaching him. I visited him last may, he is now 240 lbs with a 600lb deadlift and an avid CrossFitter. As much as I enjoy seeing my own improvements I love seeing the improvements of my friends and peers. This is why I loved the opportunity to become a coach; I do believe that I can make positive influences on the training and overall well being of clients in the gym.
When I went to my Level I cert it was to expand my knowledge base to mostly help myself grow as an athlete. When I realized that I could also help others get positive results; that was when I saw what I truly got out of my cert. Through the CrossFit Tri-Cities Residency Program I hoped to expand my knowledge base to help others become better athletes, and myself a better coach. After being a member of Tri-Cities CrossFit for a number of years now, I have grown to appreciate our training, programming, and the community we have. I want to be a part of helping it grow, either as a helping hand in the gym or as a Coach. I knew that I can put myself in a better position to do that through the CrossFit Tri-Cities Residency Program.
My experience in fitness goes back to when I started working out in high school. Realistically my fitness experience started with CrossFit. That is when I started buying the books, reading the blogs, and actively started grow my knowledge base to understand why I was doing certain things as opposed to hoping for the best results. My leadership experience starts as a captain of my high school rugby team and continues as an Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) in the Marine Corps. I was a Team Chief for two deployments and a Training NCO for two years. One of my proudest accomplishments was when I heard that after I finished my enlistment, that the two Marines on my team from Afghanistan got 1st and 2nd place at Corporals course at Camp Pendleton. One of the Marines in particular was not of this caliber before I became his boss, and seeing him make positive changes made me quite proud; he is also now an avid CrossFitter and a terrific athlete in his own right. The two, I have realized are not mutually exclusive ideas. Many people who train as hard as we do, understand that nothing worth having is free and typically have a good attitude. Seeing these types of positive results has changed my leadership style over the years.
My future goals as a Coach are to have the tools to succeed wherever I end up. Being able to efficiently train someone in the gym can easily be transferred to training others in different fields. I am currently in school for biochemistry to do nutrition research. Robb Wolf has had quite an impact on me and if I can help him get the word out then that would be a terrific place for me to be. If I’m lucky enough to stumble into working at a box as well then I couldn’t ask for anything else. Even though I plan on being in school for much of the next 5-6 years, getting experience as a Coach has many more transferrable skills then showing someone how to lift something heavy. I can’t see exactly what I plan to be doing in the future, but nutrition and fitness will certainly be there.
- CrossFit Level 1
- Gattone Olympic Weightlifting Workshop (participant)
- University of Illinois Chicago – Biochemistry with focus on Nutrition Research (in progress)
- USMC Sergeant