– Coach Joshua (49%)
The Early Years (~ 8 – 18)
Weight-wise, I was your average, every-day kid for the first five or six years of my life. Maybe eight? I don’t know. Eventually though, as kids get older, their interests start diverging; and mine went the direction of TV, books, toys, and video games. Over the next ten years or so – by the time I was seventeen, I’d gotten up to 210 pounds.
Now, I come from a small town with a small high school. Everyone knew everyone, even if they weren’t best friends. We had all the usual high school cliques, but I was never picked on or bullied for being overweight or unpopular. But like most kids, I would’ve liked to have felt more accepted. And I knew I was overweight, so hey, I figured, let’s work on that. What does being overweight have to do with being accepted? Absolutely nothing – but seventeen year old boys aren’t known for that kind of higher thinking. So, the summer before my senior year (1995) I made one simple change to the way I ate – I stopped when I was satisfied and didn’t stuff myself… and I lost 20 pounds. I knew nothing about nutrition or eating healthy. I didn’t change the foods I ate, and I still never exercised.
By the time late high school/early college rolled around, I’d made the decision I needed to start some kind of structured exercise regimen. A friend of mine had just started one, The Navy SEAL Workout – Hell yes, I want to do a Navy SEAL Workout program! It had Pull-Ups in it! I want to be able to do Pull-Ups! And so I started that. Humbling beginnings, to say the least.
However, I remember never being discouraged. Not once. Maybe it was due to simple lack of self-awareness that I never felt bad about where I was starting. I’d like to think I just knew it would take time. Like anything else in life, improving your fitness takes work. Time and effort. And I’d made the conscious decision to devote that time and effort to that end. The Navy SEAL Workout, three days per week, for over two years.
Insert Decade-Long Training Montage (~ 18 – 28)
Over the next 10 years, a lot changed. I fell in love with fitness and with learning about fitness, and with pushing myself to be better. In the beginning it was the societal standard. Body part splits, new exercises. Then push-pull splits, new exercises. HIIT became a thing. A book called Power Training (by Men’s Health) made me overhaul my whole outlook. All the while researching and learning, all just for myself. After all, I’m going to be an accountant.
I graduated college in 2000 and got a good job. Corporate Tax Accountant. I was sitting at my desk on September 11, 2001. Then I couldn’t sit anymore. I needed do something else. I should help people. But I can’t just quit my job, ignore my degree, and do something completely different! Who does that? Then it hit me. People do it all the time, why not me? Just like that. Decision made. I began researching – military, astronaut, or firefighter? We know where that settled, so I began taking action toward that goal. Back up plan? I decided to quit my job and go back to school for an Exercise Science degree.
Six months after finishing my Exercise Science degree, I was offered a job as a firefighter. It was 2005. I was still working out, and continued plodding along through very similar routines. I was still researching, always looking for something new, or some way to “test” myself outside the gym. In 2007, I found CrossFit while surfing the internet late one night. Meh. Doesn’t seem that bad.
My first CrossFit workout was “Cindy,” and I did it in Gold’s Gym with Strict Pull-Ups (because I didn’t know Kipping existed). I got 11 rounds, and I thought my arms were going to fall off. I was also hooked.
Starting All Over (~ 30 – Present)
In 2008, I flew to San Diego to get my CrossFit Level 1, because they weren’t really being offered outside of California very much. Actually, there weren’t many CrossFit gyms that even existed outside of the east or west coasts at all. Attending the Level 1 really helped cement the CrossFit philosophy for me. I felt like I was starting all over. Where previously I had felt like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for new ideas and concepts in fitness, CrossFit didn’t just open a new door, it blew the entire house down.
I was introduced to Olympic Weightlifting, Kettlebells, Gymnastics, etc. So, I did what I always do. I took my time, and began going down every single CrossFit rabbit hole I found. Using general CrossFit as a base, I’d add in a specialty focus, sometimes for months. And eventually I started training people. The first client I ever started training 1-on-1 with is still with me today. Maybe you’ve heard of her – she goes by “51%.”
And now, here we are. 40 years, in a nutshell. It’s been 10 years since I did my first CrossFit workout, and a lot has changed! But I still get that feeling when I workout – that I’m making myself better. That I’m pushing myself to be better. Physically and mentally. That this will be difficult, but then I do it anyway. This is what I most want to share with our Five Alarm CrossFit community.
CrossFit isn’t about CrossFit. It’s a fun, community driven way to prepare ourselves for the challenges and stresses we face every day. Be it carrying in the groceries (one trip!) or just achieving something we thought was impossible. In doing so, we inspire others to do the same – in so many ways beyond just working out. It’s no coincidence you find so many good people at Five Alarm, it comes with the task. Everyone I’ve seen come through the doors has grown more between the ears and in their heart than in their biceps or abs. Five Alarm isn’t about just building better bodies, it’s about building better people. Make no mistake, what we have and share is nothing short of a revolution. I believe we can make the world a better place, one CrossFitter at a time.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for making Five Alarm CrossFit what it is and inspiring others every day. Thanks for helping my dream come true.