The before picture below is July 2013, three months before eating Paleo and working out at CrossFit Beverly. I was around 255 lbs and over 35 % body fat. I had sleep apnea, GERD(chronic heartburn) which required a daily pill, high cholesterol which required two different statins daily, allergies that required another daily pill and seborrheic dermatitis(an auto-immune skin condition). At 37 years old I was on four daily prescription meds and used a machine to force me to breathe while I was sleeping. All of this was causing some pretty severe depression as well. My doctor advised an anti-depressant medication, and that’s what I think finally pushed me over the edge to say “The hell with this” and start figuring out how to help myself. Some research into auto-immune disorder led me to Paleo and then to CrossFit.
I walked into CrossFit Beverly on a Wednesday night in October 2013, just after my 38th birthday to do my free intro class with Julie. I did the baseline workout and had to run out to the alley just before the pull-ups to vomit. I was out there for a long time and when I finally came back in she made me finish the pull-ups. Gotta love Julie. What I also saw that night was John, Fred, Jackie and a few other people working out together, laughing and having a good time. A completely different atmosphere than those I had experienced in traditional gyms where everyone has their headphones on and doing their own thing. Not judging them but that wasn’t for me. The community environment was much more appealing. I was instantly hooked. a
The after picture was November 15, 2017. I haven’t needed any of the prescription medications or apnea machine in over three years. I’m down a total of 60 lbs and cut my body fat percentage by more than half. I am stronger, faster and fitter then I have ever been in my life at age 42, that’s including my time in the military. I am more active, sleeping better and my relationships are outstanding because I am no longer as depressed or reactive as I was back when I felt terrible every day. My family has joined me at the gym, and we now have a common interest that we can talk about at home. I genuinely believe that CrossFit, CrossFit Beverly and Paleo have saved my life.
--- Ron Reed
My husband, Shawn Coffey has always been a tad more physically fit than me, he was the one who nudged us to get an LA Fitness membership, he has run marathons, and he started to CrossFit first. I had no intentions of following; I was a new mom with barely enough time to shower, how was I ever going to find time to attend with him spending two hours a night at the Box and still have time for me to get in before bedtime? Impossible.
After some time participating, he signed up for his first CrossFit competition, and like any supportive wife, I went along to cheer. He was a part of a four-person team where I witnessed he and a teammate, Jenny kick ass at Fran (21-15-9 Thrusters and Pull Ups.) At the conclusion of his workout, he quickly fell to the floor and began crying. I remember thinking he much better conditioned than I am and if this is beating him up, no way in hell can I do this. These CrossFit people were some weird elite mutation of humans that I could never become.
Another CrossFit competition, The Trodo Games, came along and once again Shawn was part of a four-person team. We carpooled to the event, and I remember talking in the car about the competition and life in general. Everyone was so welcoming, they all seemed genuine and fun. It was here that I witnessed Debbie and Maria (Shawn’s female partners) struggle through a workout of push-ups. I thought to myself; if these ladies can do this, which obviously is not easy for them, I might be able to give it a try. CrossFit finally started to seem realistic to me. This event is where Shawn’s team won “The Grit Award,” an award to the team who showed the most spirit, drive, and tenacity. That award is still hanging in the Box as a testimonial of the team's character. They exemplified the spirit of CrossFit; they cheered for each other, they literally jumped for joy when each teammate PRed their lifts. This was the point I realized not only were the exercises doable, but the community is there to support me along the way.
After The Trodo Games, the bug was in my ear. I went to a CrossFit Beverly sponsored White Sox outings and social gathering where people showed me just how fun and friendly these people are. I could comfortably be myself around everyone even though I had just met them, a difficult thing for me to do most times. So, as with all my research, I decided to go to Pinterest and look up all the fun outfits I could wear and all the workouts and lingo I would have to learn. I was ready to take the leap. I signed up for the next On-Ramp.
On-Ramp was a small, intimate group; only four of us, three of which are still members today. We learned the lingo; we learned the lifts. I learned that I could tell my body to do something and it will laugh at me. I learned I liked deadlifts. I learned that strict presses make me cry. I learned that one of my coaches, Sam, was young enough that he could have been in my student teaching class.
At the conclusion of On-ramp the time had come for my first unassisted class. It was on my wedding anniversary, and Shawn and I were going to do this together (how romantic.) It started with an Indian run (A group run with a medicine ball where the ball gets thrown to the person behind.) Are you kidding me? I hate running! How was I going to run with a group of people and then take the ball and run to the front of a line? In the group was Tricia, about eight months pregnant, and kicked my ass. Here is where the doubt entered my brain. What had I gotten myself into? How was I going to keep going? How can I get out of this? What are people going to think of me? I couldn’t tell you what the actual workout was that day, but I survived…. at least long enough to move on to our next anniversary activity a wine and paint night.
I am a bit of a regular at CFB now, and by regular I mean 2-3 times a week on a good week when I am not swamped with school stuff. I am truly glad that I have joined this community. They have taught me more than I could have every learned on my own.
I have learned discipline. I can meal prep and make smart choices even when I can’t make it to the gym. I can force myself to walk through the box doors because I know I will feel ten times better about my day after I have done the WOD.
I have learned that it is possible to see an ab. I mean people do it all the time. Look at all the shirtless wonders at the gym. CFB ran a fitness challenge and to get accurate measurements we went in a hydrostatic tank to measure body fat I even saw an ab in the mirror when getting into the tub. Just one little baby one. But it was there, and I would love to see it again.
I have learned how it feels to feel strong. I was never one to feel proud of myself. I am not one to ring the PR bell to celebrate a new personal best. But now and then I will make a lift, string together a couple of double-unders, run a full 400 meters without stopping, or even add weight to my deadlift and walk over to Shawn for a high five. I have seen growth in my athletic abilities and my mental strength, and that is something nobody can take from me.
My Crossfit experience is about so much more than just fitness. I have made so many friends at CFB. The type of friends you can call when you want to go out for a drink and escape reality for a while. The ones that will come over to your house to swim. The ones that come to family birthday parties. The ones you can complain about work too. The ones that try to help you figure out what you want out of life. The ones you can text when you are ugly crying in your bathtub and feel like nobody else will understand. The ones that treat your daughter as if she was their own and welcome your family into theirs. The ones who don’t judge when you run to their bathroom to puke, because chances are they are just a drink or two behind you.
Some of my best memories over the past three years involve the people of CrossFit Beverly!
--- Marianne Coffey