Jaren B.

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My journey with Letrono CrossFit began seven months ago.  I was an average guy, and thought I was in pretty decent shape.  After all, I am 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed 170 – 175 pounds, had run three overnight relay races over the past couple of years and could go out and run 2 – 4 miles anytime I wanted.  Most sports still came pretty easily for me so overall; I was in good shape…right?  Well the problem was, I was always tired and looked very similar to a marshmallow with my shirt off.  Nothing builds confidence like my youngest daughter constantly poking me in the stomach and saying “Squishy Squishy”.

The thing about me however was that I had never stepped foot into any type of gym in my life and the only lifting I had ever done was in my basement on a resistance weight machine, some dumbbells, and maybe a bench press now and then.  Obviously I was not getting any results so I reached out to my brother-in-law, who played football in college, for some advice.  Although he is ridiculously strong, he had become out of shape since graduating and was also motivated for something more effective.  This was a Saturday night and we decided to try Letrono together the next week.  I checked out the website and then spent the entire weekend sick to my stomach knowing I was going to start the On Ramp class on Tuesday.

 I walked in on day one literally shaking in my Saucony running shoes.  (I had Vibram Five Fingers at home that I usually ran in but didn’t know at the time they were socially accepted).  I saw several athletes doing pull-ups, pushups, rope climbs, and was sure they had to be semi-pro at some sport.  The second thing I noticed was that no one was looking at me “sizing me up”.  In fact, people were quick to ask if it was my first time and then helped me get the necessary paper work to sign up.  We joined the warm up and the Heath said everyone grab a Kettlebell.  I thought…”what in the crap is a Kettlebell?”  I figured it out and grabbed a light one.  After a series of bear crawls, lunges, broad jumps, mountain climbers, crab walks, etc. my quads were burning like I had never felt before.  Being a self proclaimed runner, this really shocked me.  Then they announced that was just the warm up.  HOLY CRAP!!!

 I remember the first WOD I did as part of the On Ramp Class included Wall Balls and Troy suggested I use an 8 pound ball next time.  Ouch!!!  During my second On Ramp Class I did a little better but in the third I shorted what felt like a 30” box jump but in looking back it may have only been 12”.  Jason (who was training) was very kind and didn’t laugh, at least I didn’t notice if he did.  I went into it committed that no matter what, I was going to go for 3 months before giving up.  By the end of week 3, I was hooked.

 I realized that although I could run I did not have any upper body, hamstring, glute, quad, or core strength.  This had led to injury while running and it was eye opening to see how weak my body had become.  When I started I CrossFit, I could not even do 1 pull-up, climb a rope, and could barely dead lift my own body weight.  I remember doing back squats at about week 4 and could not even lift 75% of my body weight.  It was very humbling, but the amazing thing to me was that no one would laugh or belittle me.  Trainers and other athletes were quick to teach and encourage and I felt a camaraderie that I did not know existed in a gym atmosphere.

 Over the next couple of months I began to notice physical changes and was starting to see big improvement in my strength.  I was able to do pull-ups after about 2 months and did not think there would be a better feeling than that accomplishment.  I continued to improve and would occasionally be able to do a WOD as prescribed but was usually closer to the women’s weight or below.

 I really wanted to avoid the becoming complacent so I began to set goals such as striving to do more WOD’s Rx, doing a certain number of consecutive pull-ups, getting a muscle up, and mainly just working harder.  The biggest change came when I began to trust the trainers.  I remember being asked to do weighted sit-ups and Eric telling me to use the 53LB Kettlebell.  I told him I didn’t think I could do it and he simple said, “You can…trust me.”  I did the entire work out with that weight and felt unbelievable at the accomplishment.  The same thing happened when we were doing box jumps and Aleix and Jason walked over and threw a 45lb plate on the box and said “Keep that there throughout the entire work out.”  I didn’t believe I could do it, but I trusted them and did it the entire time.  Remember, this is the same guy that came up short on a 12” box just 3 – 4 months before.

 So here I am 7 months later, 20 pounds lighter, and I recognize that I still have a very, very, long way to go.  But that is the beauty of CrossFit, as long as you are progressing, you are succeeding.  It is fun to look back at where I was and compare it to where I am.  I have achieved many of the goals that I have set and continue to set and accomplish more every month.  I began CrossFit because I wanted to look better, but I continue to do CrossFit because of how it makes me feel. 

 I now actually enjoy pull-ups (as long as they not mixed in with 150 Kettlebell swings at 70 pounds.  Thanks a lot EVA).  I can now jump on the counter at my house with ease.  I can do many of the lifts well over my body weight and am only about 25-30 pounds short of dead lifting twice my body weight.  This is one of the biggest accomplishments for me as I have struggled so much with this lift.  Previously I spent two years of doing nothing but training to run but since starting at Letrono, I have cut almost 1 minute and 30 seconds per mile off my average pace.  Others can out lift, run, jump, roll, and climb past me but that isn’t the point.  The point of CrossFit is that we all work hard to do the best we can and ensure we support each other along the way.

 I know it is may sound overly dramatic, but joining Letrono has changed my life.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.  I now have so much more confidence in my ability to do things that were before seemingly impossible.  This confidence pertains to my family and work life in ways I never anticipated.  The Trainers and Athletes at Letrono come from so many different backgrounds and I have so much respect and appreciation for each of them and what they do every day.  Where else do you find a place where those that have already finished the WOD are gathered around the last person still working and they are cheering and encouraging the athlete on?  And when they finish you find as much, or more, joy in their accomplishment and the fact that they fought through it and finished.  It is rare to find that type of environment and I doubt you will find it in a gym…that is why we call ours a BOX!   

 Thank you to all the Trainers and Athletes at Letrono for providing an incredible atmosphere where you encourage and help us to succeed each day.  I know you have created something extraordinary and I sincerely feel fortunate to be able to be a small part of it.