Joining CrossFit has definitely been the best fitness decision I’ve made. It has not only challenged me physically, but mentally as well. I’ve always considered myself to be average.
Joining CrossFit has definitely been the best fitness decision I’ve made. It has not only challenged me physically, but mentally as well. I’ve always considered myself to be pretty average in build, never really too skinny or overweight. I’ve stayed moderately active most my life by competing with my horse up until I moved away for school. I have been to a lot of different gyms with the hopes of changing my physique and becoming a stronger person, and fell short with each gym. I would spend a little time on the elliptical or try a few of the other machines that worked your arms or legs and really had no idea what I was doing which was not only frustrating but really boring as well.
A little over two years ago my husband started CrossFit and suggested that maybe I should give it a try. He would tell me about all the crazy workouts he was doing and would even show me some clips online of athletes doing these exercises. My first reaction was “yah..right.. there is no way I can even attempt anything like that!” It wasn’t until about a year into his training with CrossFit that he finally convinced me to get over my fear and just actually go in and try it out. He really inspired me by seeing how his body had quickly changed and how strong he had become. I’m a shy person, so it was super intimidating for me to step into this gym with all these fit and strong athletes.
I quickly learned that everyone was at all different body and fitness levels, and that no one was there to judge you, but there to support you instead. The coaches here are amazing. They know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. They know when you need to be pushed and when you need to work on something more and help you get to that next fitness level.
It has taken me what seems like forever to get my kipping pull up, but I can finally say that after going for a little over a year now I finally got it! It’s been so rewarding to see how much my strength has improved over time, and how I can do things that I never thought possible. It was a big surprise to me that doing a lot of weight lifting as well as cardio can actually make you look much leaner. I always thought that it would do the opposite for me, that I would look really bulky and manly. But thankfully it has made my overall body much more toned, and a lot of the fat I had on my body is now turning into muscle. I’ve learned a lot about nutrition as well! Incorporating healthy foods and drinking more water really makes a difference in not only the way I look but also my performance level is at the gym. The varying workouts each day really keep my interest up. I love how each day there is something new to challenge myself on. No matter how many times I’ve done some of these work outs or how long I’ve been going to the gym, I’m sore every time! I’m always challenging myself to do better than the last time, and having a little friendly competition with the other people at the gym during the WOD’s definitely helps! I used to laugh when my husband would say he was completely wiped out after a 10 min. workout at the gym. I quickly found out that he was right. It never matters if I do a 5 minute workout or a 50 minute workout, each time I feel like jello in the end.
It has been so fun to cheer on our CrossFit team at some of the New England competitions they have participated in. It’s so refreshing to see how supportive each team is with not only one another but with their opposing teams as well! I’m not sure if I will ever compete in the future but I know that if I do decide to do so, it will be a really fun experience. Again, I’m so happy I finally made the decision to join the CrossFit family, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me with my health and fitness in future. Thank you to all the coaches and members for all the help and support!
My CrossFit story is different. I am 71 years old-perhaps one of a kind at CrossFit 321.
Last September, 2011 my doctor told me to lose 20lbs, lower my blood pressure and get my cholesterol down. I was shocked! I had joined the Marine Corps after college and had been a year round consistent runner for 35 years and I never smoked.
I had “thru-hiked” the entire Appalachian Trail (2,160 miles) at the age of 59 with our younger son. I biked across America and Canada (3,833 miles) at age 61 with our older son. I hiked the Long Trail in Vermont in its entirety (275 miles) alone over two Augusts at age 67. How did I find myself in declining shape and health? Maybe it was because I was 71 years old at the time? My two sons did not buy that at all. The older son and his wife are CrosFit members in Tahoe Vista, California and our younger son is a CrossFit member in Westbrook, Maine. They wondered if I were going to let age beat me down?
I visited CrossFit 321 and met Ginny who did a tremendous job of explaining what would be expected of me if I joined. It meant that I had to “show up”, and the program would take me from there. I signed up for a beginners class, November 29, 2011, and found I was the only male in the class. And I was also 30 years older than anyone else. Throughout those beginning two weeks I became more and more comfortable because everyone in my class was new to CrossFit and everyone helped each other get through. We all went home with sore bodies, worried about what the next WOD would be and also came back eager to see how much better we could become at this “new to us” exercise program. The camaraderie in class and the encouragement and guidance from the instructors- in my case Ginny and Noelle- got us through the weeks. I have been coming back ever since- four days a week.
Last week, on April 11, 2012, I returned to my doctor for a follow-up appointment. I have lost 10lbs, dropped my cholesterol by 37 points and my blood pressure is now normal. This is all in a period of four months. I am hooked on CrossFit and what it is doing for me. I am also interested in further exploring the issue of nutrition although I think we eat a pretty balanced diet now.
Let me say that my age does change my workout. The instructors have worked with me continually to optimize what I can do and should do. I do absolutely everything the rest of the class is doing with less weight and at a slower pace. I have told myself that I will always finish the entire workout even if I am always last. I am amazed at what I can do. I am getting better each week. I am back to running at CrossFit which had been prohibited by a knee injury, while running, years ago. I look forward to being in shape for this hiking season. My annual 12 mile day hike up, over and down Killington Mountain is coming up. It is how I always can tell “if I can still do it”. My age is not the all controlling factor in my fitness. I have the will and CrossFit has given me a way to maintain my fitness so I can continue to do what I want to do. I would recommend CrossFit to other 60+ year old men or women!
My story is pretty simple. I have never considered myself an athlete. I tried many different sports during my school years but never really found the athlete in me. Once I hit my twenties I got caught up in the gym scene and I guess you could have called me a ‘gym rat’! I spent a lot of time on the treadmill and elliptical trying to get and maintain that ‘thin/lean’ appearance I had conjured in my head. I really enjoyed exercise, good nutrition, and the lifestyle. But still never considered myself an athlete and always got bored.
Fast forward to my late 30’s and 3 children later… wooo. I kind of lost my sense of self for a while and let everyone else’s needs come before my own need for a fit lifestyle. I struggled to find a form of exercise that could hold my attention for more than a month. I needed something challenging and rewarding, something beyond the treadmill and elliptical of the gym life I was accustomed to in my twenties. Oh I tried going back to several different gyms, tried running (I really wanted to be a runner!), and lots of different home exercise programs. Nothing kept me coming back especially since it was time away from family. I was slipping into a yucky place full of self-loathing and low self-esteem.
Mad at myself for “letting myself go” and not having the will to do find something and stick to it. Fluctuating in weight, energy level, and ambition had become my norm.
I drove by CrossFit 321 (old location) almost every day and was intrigued by the people (athletes) exercising outside with all forms of ‘different’ equipment. I actually parked in an adjacent parking lot to watch on several occasions but never got the nerve up to go in. Then a friend mentioned she was going to CrossFit and that was it, my in. I walked through the doors of CrossFit 321 13 months ago with a stomach full of nerves and never looked back! The atmosphere exuded energy, spirit, strength, and camaraderie. I was scared to death but excited to give it a try. Ginny, one of the many amazing trainers immediately acknowledged me and made feel like I belonged in this room full of awesomeness!
Here I am 13 months later a stronger, healthier, happier, fitter version of myself! CrossFit has changed my outlook on exercise and what my body can accomplish. When I walk through the doors of 321 I know the wod’s will challenge me and know the trainers will be there to make sure I give it 100%. I have gained strength, endurance, and confidence. I have put myself out there and competed in a few CrossFit competitions (never have I competed in anything other than a few road races). I ran a 5k a few weeks ago and for the first time the run felt good and I enjoyed it. CrossFit works unlike anything I have ever tried. I feel better now at 40 then I did at 20!
Ginny, Haley, Chris and all the trainers at 321 have been there for me every step of the way. They guide you with encouragement and instruction. Just when you think you can’t do something or cannot push yourself any further, they are there with words of encouragement (sometimes screaming to get you through that last minute or last rep!). My favorite memory is Ginny asking “Can you do a rope climb?”. I looked at her with sheer terror in my eyes but before I could answer she said “Yah, you can. Go do it.”. So off I went shaking with the anticipation of moving myself up a rope with nothing but my own strength. I DID IT, with the help of a great CF member; I did it, not once but 8 times! This is just one example of the support represented at 321. Thank you to all the trainers and all my fellow crossfitters. You have all made me a better me and now Athlete of the Month (still sounds odd rolling of my lips or fingertips)!
I will forever be a CrossFitter! Thank you CF321 for everything!
“Since playing sports in college, I have always been a competitor and showed interests in working-out, lifting weights and doing anything to stay fit. Once I graduated in 2004, I continuously tried to regain the athleticism and strength that I once had. Over the last 8 years, I joined multiple gyms/clubs, taken various workout supplements, bought personal training sessions and purchased workout videos; but none of these seemed to work and instead I gained more weight.
Finally in March of 2011, I made one of the best decisions of my life: I walked through the door at Crossfit321 and signed-up for a membership. I had heard about Crossfit321 from some of my high school basketball players, who I coach. When first walking into the building and seeing the classes of people performing various styles of lifts and workouts; it can be intimidating. But after completing the Fundamentals class, I knew that I had found what I had been looking for.
Now in my 9th month at Crossfit321, I have found the competitive edge and drive to complete workouts as prescribed and exceed previous workout scores, I have gained more energy, I have improved my health and well-being, and I have learned how to compliment a diet with daily workout routines.
Crossfit 321 is not just a gym, it’s a place where you are supported by great trainers who know how to motivate you to do your best and then do better than that. It is a place where the members become your teammates and positive reinforcement. Finally, it is a place where you first walk in as a stranger but leave everyday as an athlete and a member of the Crossfit321 family.
Because of Crossfit321, I am in the best shape of my life!”
My path to CrossFit started with food. A TV news feature series on The Caveman Diet caught my attention, so I bought Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution and started in. I was working at summer camp, which meant a healthy, active lifestyle, so I kept re-reading the book -- but kept skipping Chapter 9: Ancestral Fitness. To my surprise, by September I had lost 25 pounds and had to get a belt to keep my shorts up.
I moved back home and decided it was time to complete my Paleo commitment by adding the exercise component. Robb insisted, "We are born to be fit. If you do not exercise, you are broken."
When I Googled "CrossFit Maine," Crossfit321 Brunswick, 3 miles from home, popped up, so I went to sign up. Music was blaring. Women were lifting barbells with big weights and letting them crash to the floor. Some were cranking out pull-ups. What was I getting myself into? But the Meet Our Members section of the website had some normal people with great stories, so I had to at least try. At this point the hardest part of my workout was walking through the front door.
My goals were 1. Not get hurt and 2. Get stronger. No time deadline, just get stronger, gradually. I knew weightlifting was supposed to be good for women, and that being in better shape would make the physical demands of summer camp easier.
Ginny met me for my first lesson. She walked me through some strange movements ... Squats, ring rows, lunges. I was tired and ready to go home. She said, "Now we'll do your workout!" I thought, you've got to be kidding. And yet, I kept coming. Sore as hell but back for more.
During the last 20 years I had been busy running my kids to their activities; I loved watching their athletic events. I had always made time for some moderate exercise like walking, biking or rollerblading, but it wasn't nearly enough to counteract the effects of time and middle age. Now I was finally determined to make my own fitness a serious priority. Ginny patiently explained the workouts and how to modify them to fit my current fitness level. She helped me feel successful for showing up and doing what I could do, and proud of the progress I was making. The other athletes at the 11:00 class were friendly and supportive. No one cared what weight I was lifting or the reps I could do, they just cheered me on like I was one of them.
In the year between my 53rd and 54th birthdays I have gotten healthier and stronger. I feel better because I am eating well, and I am stronger because of CrossFit. I have better balance. I can run a whole mile! I can jump rope. I can lift heavy things. I can row 5000 meters! My brain has not quite adjusted; I keep being surprised by how much of the WOD I can do. I used to look at the WOD and think "Impossible." Now I look at it and think, "I can do this."
My kids are shocked. "Mom, you're da bomb!"
My friends keep asking when my exercise class will be over. Hopefully, never!
I want to say a huge "Thank you" to Ginny and the 11:00 CrossFit class athletes. You have been so nice to me, and made this fun, in a warped sort of way. "We like it! We love it! We want some more of it!"
I have been fighting my weight issues for as long as I can remember. Most of my life I resigned myself to live with the way I was. Even when I motivated myself enough to do something about it, I didn’t last long at it. I literally joined every gym in the area over the years. I also tried all the diet programs and even hired trainers to help. About 8 years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After 6 months of pills to help with it, the numbers actually got worse. I was told I would have to take shots every day to try to stabilize my blood sugar. At this point I weighed the most I ever have in my life. After talking to my doctor, I decided to get bariatric surgery to try to help get my life back. I understood that surgery was just a tool to help me get to where I needed to be.
Enter Crossfit 321.
I always drove by the building on Pleasant street and wondered what went on in there. I finally did some research on crossfit online and at the beginning of this year I walked into their location on Turner street and spoke to Shawn. He was very helpful and answered all my questions. He made no bones about it; it would be hard but very rewarding.
After going through fundamentals the first week, I ached so much that I had to take a day off from work because I JUST COULD NOT WALK! Before this, I would consider just walking away. But this was different. I needed to do more.
Then I met Ginny. Her Upbeat attitude and non-stop motivation was addictive. Before I finished fundamentals, Ginny encouraged me to try the Paleo Challenge to help with the nutritional aspect of my life. I thought “ OK, another diet to try. “ boy, was I wrong. My wife Carolyn and I decided to go full bore into it. With Ginny’s help and guidance I went the whole 30 days on a strict Paleo lifestyle. The trainers at Crossfit 321 Could not have been any more encouraging and when I felt I had nothing left, they let me know I can push for more. Chris, Russ, Vanessa, Rich, Steph, Byron, Shawn, Noelle, and of course Ginny, you are the ones who helped me realize what I am capable of.
At the end of the challenge, the results surprised even me. I lost almost 10 pounds, my strength increased, my flexibility increased, and best of all I felt better.A few weeks after the challenge ended, I went to my doctor for a physical. I hoped that she would reduce the amount of insulin I would need to take daily. She was very excited about my appearance. She then gave me the answer I was looking for. She told me that I didn’t need to take my shots at all anymore. My numbers have leveled off and looked real good.
After my doctor’s appt., I got an e-mail from Ginny telling me I won the weight loss category of the challenge. All the trainers at Crossfit 321 helped me realize that it’s not about the scale, even though the weight loss is a bonus. It’s about living healthy and changing my lifestyle to help me live the way I know I can. The trainers and other athletes at Crossfit are so supportive of everyone there. Something I never experienced at other gyms I was a member at.
Thank you Crossfit 321. Life is Good!
My CrossFit story is probably like many others. I was the super skinny teenager, but years of sitting for 10+ hours a day and eating poorly started to take their toll. By April of 2013 I was 38 years old, 6’-2”, 275 pounds and getting bigger by the month. My joints ached, and I was dealing with a significant level of “gastrointestinal distress” on a daily basis. I told myself I was being healthy by eating a vegetarian diet (which included lots of refined grains and sugars), but my body was telling me a different story.
My watershed moment came when visiting my younger brother in California. My brother was always the athletic one, but I always could keep up with him. That visit we went mountain biking, which I’ve always considered my sport. Bottom line, I suffered, badly. I was miserable. I hated feeling like I was going to have a heart attack right there on the trail. My younger brother, who had only been biking for 6 months, was running me into the ground.
In the photos of myself from that April, I look 5 months pregnant. I knew then that something had to change, or I wouldn’t be around to see my kids grow up.
When I got back from that trip I looked up CrossFit. I had heard how difficult it was, but I knew I needed a major kick in the pants. I called CrossFit321 and Ginny answered. I asked about the Intro class, and she was so positive and helpful I thought “I’ll give this a try”. I’ll never forget her parting words on the phone with me that day: “So I’ll see you here for class tomorrow?” It was the nicest way anyone had ever laid down a demand. Thank you Ginny!
The first week of the Intro class was pure hell for me. I pushed it way too hard and was so sore that I could barely get out of bed. My 400 meter "run" consisted of walking at least half of it, and gasping for air the other half.
But, it got better. So much better! I started losing weight, my knees ached less. I was introduced to the Paleo Diet. I was so
floored by the concept I starting eating cleanly right away. The pounds continued to come off and I continued to feel better and better. My GI system became regular for the first time in over a decade. I’ve gained 10 fold in energy and feel better than I ever have in my life. I’ve lost 55lbs to date and have gained a ton of strength.
I really owe a huge debt of thanks to the coaches at CrossFit321. Folks like Ginny, Russ, and Steph are truly excellent. They push you hard, but are also incredibly supportive and know their stuff. They are what make CF321 special!
If you’re reading this, wondering if you should try CrossFit, I would say "Do it, you own it to yourself!" It has been a life changing experience for me and it can be for you too.
My journey with CrossFit 321 started in October 2013. I was 42 years old, tired, out of shape and was still carrying some extra weight that just wouldn't budge. Exercise felt like drudgery.
I was having a playdate with a friend from my son's day care. I looked at the other mom and noticed she looked amazing, fit and healthy. I said, "You look awesome. Do you work out?" She said, "Yes, I do! I go to CrossFit 321 at 5am, four times a week. I love it."
So I thought to myself, "Well then, that is what I will do."
When I walked into CrossFit 321 for the first time, I was really nervous and didn't know what to expect. Ginny meet me at the door, and was so warm and friendly, I instantly felt more comfortable. I was encouraged to see people of all ages and shapes working out side by side, and everyone working as hard as they could to the best of their ability. There was even one woman my age who just climbed up a 20 foot rope! With her own muscles! "Good Lord." I thought. "I don't think I will ever be able to do THAT." I nervously asked Ginny, "Will we be doing that today?" She chuckled and said, "Not today."
For the next three weeks, Ginny patiently guided me through all of the movements and standards to ensure that I could do everything safely and effectively. You will not find a more knowledgeable and dedicated coaching staff. Shawn, Ginny, Jack, Vanessa and Coach Bean have each helped me so much. At the beginning I did everything scaled, with lighter weights, and I was really sore at first! But after every class I felt amazing. I had such a tremendous sense of accomplishment EVERY SINGLE DAY I walked out of the gym. Even though I was slower and not as strong as some of the more advanced athletes there, no one made me feel lesser than or uncomfortable in any way. In fact, one of the things I love most about my gym is that the last to finish is often cheered on the hardest. We are all in it together.
It is over a year later and I have come a long way. Physically, I am in the best shape of my life at age 43. I no longer dread working out and CANNOT wait to get to the gym! I have lost 15lbs of fat and gained a lot of muscle. I can lift two thirds of my body weight over my HEAD! I can perform Olympic lifts! I compete in competitions! After having gone to traditional gyms most of my adult life, I have seen the biggest improvement in my fitness in just one year of membership at CrossFit 321.
And guess what? I climbed that rope. Twelve times. In one workout called the Twelve Days of Christmas. The entire workout includes many different movements and is tough. I was the last to finish in my class. But when I wanted to give up and didn't think I could go one more foot up that rope, I had the entire class cheering me on, including the same awesome woman I had seen up that rope the year before.
And that is why I love CrossFit 321 so much. All I wanted was to get in shape. What I got was an amazing, supportive community full of inspiring people whom I am blessed to call my friends.
Try it. You won't regret it. You will have the most fun getting into the best shape of your life.
My CrossFit journey has been anything but a straight line.... better start from the beginning.
For the majority of my life I have been anywhere from overweight to obese. I never really gave it any thought, I always just figured, well I'm a bigger guy. One day at a routine doctors appointment, when weighed for my physical, my jaw dropped when I read the scale. It said that I was 307 pounds. I decided then and there that I would no longer just accept the fact that I was overweight, I was going to do something about it. When people ask me what I decided to do, I give them kind of a joke answer, I tell them I did the Forrest Gump workout. That is one day, “I started runnin”. So with running 5 days a week, crash dieting, and traditional bodybuilding isolated muscle group weight training, I slimmed down to a decent 210 pounds. I was convinced that I was unstoppable, superhuman. Then one day it came to a screaming halt, while doing sets of inclined bench press with way to much weight and too much pride, I felt a SNAP followed by excruciating pain in my right shoulder. I had torn my supraspinatus tendon. I was convinced that my lifting days were over.
About a year had passed and I had regained my sedentary ways, along with that I had dove first in to full blown alcoholism. Through HEAVY drinking, eating like shit and just no physical activity at all, my weight had skyrocketed to 276 pounds, and to top it all off my liver enzymes were elevated and I had started to show symptoms of Alcoholic fatty liver disease. My five year plan was death, and I was right on schedule. I was twenty six...
I know I know, your thinking what does this have to do with CrossFit 321, don't worry here it comes. Many people are currently or have been in the situation that I was in, but I was fortunate enough to have met a truly amazing human being that gave me the spark, inspiration and the kick in the ass that I needed. That person was Jessica McCormick. Through meeting her I was able to make the decision that I did not want to die, and that I didn't want to drink anymore. On January 10th 2013 I started my sober life. She was always very open and informative about her involvement with CrossFit, talking about the wod's, eating paleo and how it had all changed her life for the better. I was skeptical for a while, I had heard all sorts of things about Crossfit, mostly that it was a fad, unsafe, blah blah blah, we've all heard it before. But after a couple of months of sobriety, eating paleo, and starting to see the improvements, I decided to give it a shot.
I signed up for the fundamentals class in March of that year. I remember my first class, the coach teaching it was Chris Bean, one of the many amazing coaches at CrossFit 321. For our first wod, we did the benchmark workout, involving air squats, sit ups, push ups, and pull ups, there may have of been another movement but my memory fails me now. It was a very watered down version of a CrossFit workout, but it felt like the most difficult thing I had ever done. I went home that night with the most horrible tension headache of my life and collapsed into the fetal position on the floor thinking to myself how the hell was I going to make it through another class let alone an entire month of this. But I kept coming back... and since then I have never looked back.
One of the biggest things about CrossFit that took a little while to get used to for me was the sense of community. My previous workout experiences were mostly spent with myself in my own little world, wearing headphones, grunting it out in the corner. I didn't know what to think, I guess it made me feel uncomfortable at first, but now it is something that I am very proud to be a part of. There are so many wonderful people from all walks of life that are part of the 321 community. With the help of the amazing coaching staff and members a like, excellent programming and wealth of information on nutrition and fitness, I have been able to regain control of my life. I have achieved a ton of PR's and accomplished things that I never thought possible, not just in the gym but outside as well. As I write this today, I am 2 ½ years sober, I weigh in at 190 pounds, have gained muscle and loads of confidence that I can do anything again. CrossFit 321 helped me to become my own success story.
My CrossFit Story, by Chris Champagne.
I started CrossFit in September of 2011 thanks to my wife Tammy who had been encouraging me to join for several months. Initially I was hesitant to join due to me overall lack of conditioning and my inaccurate perception that CrossFit was only for very young and fit people. In the 18 months prior to joining I had two injuries that resulted in me becoming out of shape and generally immobile. As a career firefighter it is unacceptable on several levels to be out of shape, I had always taken fitness and strength for granted. It was time to make a change.
Tammy and I started out learning the fundamentals from Shawn and with every visit we learned the CrossFit methods of strength and fitness. It didn’t take long to become excited about each visit to the gym. Improvement comes quickly and that only makes you want to do even better, to be healthier and stronger.
Taking regular classes from Ginny was our next step. Ginny and the other coaches give so much of themselves that it’s another motivation to continuously improve. They care about the health and wellness of the members. At CrossFit you are a person, and individual with specific goals, which are respected and encouraged.
The Olympic lifting aspect quickly became our favorite part of CrossFit. Coach Bean’s Saturday morning class soon became the highlight of our week. As we gained confidence and wanted to learn even more we started working with Coach Steph. Sometimes small decisions make a huge difference and learning proper technique, strategy, and conditioning skills from such an elite athlete really pushed our progress forward. The fact that Steph has become such a great friend only proves why CrossFit isn’t a “regular” gym.
The community of Coaches and Members is as important to us as the fitness. Because CrossFit is a class based program you often work out with the same groups. Quickly people bond and share their enthusiasm for becoming healthier. When you succeed it’s amazing to have the cheers of the coaches and fellow CrossFitters, and when you have a bad day it’s just as rewarding that the same coaches and CrossFitters are cheering for you to succeed, to overcome limitations.
In the 3 years I have done CrossFit my strength, mobility, and conditioning have improved more than I could have ever dreamed possible the day I walked through the doors at 321. I have made new friends, competed in CrossFit events, visited CrossFit gyms in several cites when traveling, and become a huge advocate for the program.
I am living proof that CrossFit can make anyone healthier and happier. And CrossFit 321 has a group of coaches and members that provide the most positive environment for fitness I have ever experienced. I am very fortunate to have listened to my wife and made the decision to join.
My name is Steph Malcom. I am a member and a coach at CrossFit 321. This is a brief story of my journey-
As a kid I played sports, lacrosse and tennis. My involvement in organized sports, however, was more because it was something to do rather than something I really cared about. In college I played rugby but, again, my focus was more on the social side. After college my weight spiraled out of control and I got lost in the cycle of eating too much and being sedentary. At 5’3” I was pushing 190 pounds. I tried personal training, Weight Watchers, home exercise videos, and everything in between. Finally, I decided that I was just going to run the weight off. One problem- I hated running. I hated being overweight more so I just picked away at running one mile at a time. Eventually I got into it and signed up for some local races.
In the fall of 2009 I had lost enough weight to feel presentable and was looking for something more. The isolation and repetitiveness of running was getting to me and I knew it would not be long before I “fell off the wagon.” A friend mentioned CrossFit and told me that there was one in Brunswick. I walked into the original CrossFit 321- a 1200 square foot box with little equipment and a few grassroots athletes- and met the owner, Shawn. There was no Fundamentals back then, no class schedule, no formal routines. Shawn briefed me on the workout of the day (Angie) and told me I could hop in with the small group who were about to start. I looked at him dumbfounded and told him my body was not meant to do pull-ups and I would never be able to do one…let alone 100! He handed me the thickest band he could find and said I’d be fine. He was right. I flailed around on the rig, did the most modified push-ups you’ve ever seen, and grinded through the squats and sit-ups. When I was done I felt like I had just conquered the world. I rushed home and blabbed to my husband about how awesome it was and how there were CRAZY people doing the pull-ups without any assistance!! My obsession was set in stone then and it has grown in ways I never thought possible.
I got into a nice routine of working out regularly, cleaned up my diet, and met some of my now closest friends. My husband joined and quickly shared my passion. A teacher by trade, Byron decided to go for his Level 1 Trainer certificate and join the coaching staff at 321.
When I became pregnant with my oldest daughter in late 2010 I learned just how modifiable CrossFit can be. I had to change lots of things but my attendance was never one of them. I kept plugging away at WODS until the day I delivered. In the final weeks of my pregnancy I watched Byron and the rest of our 321 Regional team compete at the 2011 North East Regionals. It was inspiring and I was determined to be on that field with them the following year. Through comprehensive and consistent training I met my goal and competed as a Regional athlete in 2012. The following year I made it back to the field and stood among some of the most elite athletes in the world…unbelievable experience!
During all this excitement I also got my Level 1 and started coaching. CrossFit 321 expanded to a larger space (about 4000 square feet) and continued to grow as a gym and, more importantly, as a community. Members started coming in a making such rapid gains…it was both exciting and humbling. Skills that took me years to master were taking new members only months (hello double unders!!). I attribute this to our fantastic Fundamentals program as well as our specialty classes.
In 2013 I became pregnant with my second daughter and had to take a break from competing. This was challenging for me but also a great opportunity to focus on other aspects of the 321 community. We are now in a 9000 square foot, state of the art facility in Topsham, Maine and have a booming community of members. I have had the privilege of working with a vast array of athletes and each of them has taught me about the importance of health, wellness, and community. I am constantly impressed with the challenges people overcome (emotionally and physically) and the unique journeys they take to get there.
For me, CrossFit has enhanced my life in every way possible. As a full-time clinical social worker and a mother of two I struggle to find balance in my days. CrossFit grounds me. It’s my reminder that challenges are only as difficult as I perceive them to be…and that failure is simply not an option in certain moments. I am a very proud member of the CrossFit 321 community!
So my story about joining Crossfit is like many others. A 50 year old man that had let health and fitness take a backseat to well, virtually everything. I retired from the Navy and was extremely active and in outstanding shape as was required in the military. All my blood work and critical health numbers were excellent.
Then comes job #2. I was hired as a major airline pilot. What this means is I spent all my days sitting stagnant in a cockpit, numerous nights a month in hotels, and countless breakfasts, lunches, and dinners eating out. My excellent health disappeared. I was fooling myself into thinking that my once a week softball games during the summer or my occasional basketball games with some other old guys was keeping me in shape. How wrong I was.
As a pilot I have to have complete physicals every six months. In Feb 2014, I went for one of these and was stunned at how far my health had fallen. My weight had gotten up to 272lbs. Not real good for a guy who is only 5'11". My blood pressure was 130/92. Cholesterol was 230. I was eating myself to an early grave. I had to do something.
On my ride home from the doctors office I decided to do something about it. I had known Shawn at Crossfit for a few years and decided to give him a call. He invited me in to try it out. He said to start slow and to only do what I was capable of. Which at that time wasn't much. Five minutes into the first workout I was exhausted. But I had to give it a fair shot.
I started slow but felt better and better. The people at Crossfit are amazing. I'm not just talking about the coaches, but about everyone. The other athletes are absolutely supportive. I have met some great people who I now consider dear friends. I can honestly say, Crossfit has been a life saver for me. I cannot imagine not going to Crossfit on a regular basis. I even search out "boxes" in cities I visit with work now.
And just as a closing note, I went and had my physical last week. My numbers were much improved in just one year. My weight is 245, down 27 lbs. my blood pressure was 122/78. Cholesterol was 165 with a 50% increase in good cholesterol HDL and a lowering of bad LDL. I feel so much better and active. My biggest thrill comes from all my clothes getting loose. My doctor was so happy he said he didn't care what I was doing except that I should keep doing it.
I decided that I needed to do something. I realized that I needed to get stronger – not just lose weight. I made getting strong and fit my goal. I knew I needed the structure of an organized program so I started looking for an exercise class. What is an overweight, 52 year old woman who hasn’t gone to the gym in about 30 years to do? Well, I knew I didn’t want to just go to the gym and walk/run on the treadmill – that wouldn’t make me any stronger. I was surfing the web for fitness programs in the local area and found Crossfit 321 and the 321 Get Fit Class and I’m so glad I did!
Let’s face it, when you are overweight and out of shape just walking into a gym could be really intimidating and I was a little nervous on that first day. I can honestly say that from day one at Crossfit 321 and the 321 Get Fit Class I have felt welcome and relaxed. Everyone I have met from staff to all the members has been so nice and encouraging. One of the best things about 321 Get Fit is the sense of comradery. There are so many wonderful people of all different ages and from all walks of life that are part of the group.
Our 321 Get Fit trainer Justine is just wonderful in every way. She is very knowledgeable and professional. Justine dishes out tough workouts but makes sure you can modify the movements to suit your fitness level and always makes class enjoyable. She also adds in nutritional information and challenges each week. The workouts are varied and never boring. We work hard and laugh a lot.
I have been in the class for a year now and have lost 40 lbs. More important to me than the weight loss is how much stronger and fitter I am! I can do so much more than I ever thought I could and I am getting stronger every day. I look forward to class each and every time because with the help of Justine and my classmates, I know I am making progress toward my goal of becoming strong and fit.
With the help of our amazing coach and my fellow class members, great programming and a wealth of information on nutrition and fitness, I have begun to transform myself and gain control of my life. I encourage anyone who is thinking about beginning a fitness journey to take the plunge and check out the 321 Get Fit Class!
For more information on 321 Get Fit Classes click HERE
Monica (JB) & Scott b.
CrossFit and the 321 Team really has changed the direction we were going at this point in our lives. They didn’t know us, they were just there at the “Box” doing their thing. But when I was dragged there by Monica for the Saturday “free” class, we found purpose, direction, and focus. And we found knowledgeable Coaches that “ACTUALLY” know and understand technique, and who have genuine compassion to help us find our way.
We were both lost in the distractions of life… and struggling to find “TIME” to spend with each other. Something we could do together, besides sitting in front of the TV with it sapping the life out of us.
Monica- (Age-57; lost 30 pounds; proudest goal- Consistency!!!)
Scott and I moved back to Maine Last year. Commitment to exercise had taken a back seat for quite a while, and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I was looking for a place to “start back” with Spinning Class and wandered into CrossFit 321. Ginny was the first person I met. She said “no spinning, but you are welcome here”, and immediately made me feel like I belonged… I signed up for Fundamentals and CrossFit has been immersed in our lives for a year now.
My motivation for working out was to improve my health, mobility, and quality of life. I thought I knew how to get there on my own, but never seemed to break the consistency barrier. I suffered from knee pain (after 5 surgeries), plantar fasciitis, lower back pain (as well as the aches and pains of an overweight 56 year old). I never believed that my life was destined to continue the progressive health decline, like I’ve witnessed for so many of my family members.
I retired from the Navy several years ago, where my last role was as a Company Commander (Drill Instructor) training recruits through Boot Camp. Back then, I was immersed in the traditional aerobic and body building programming. Unfortunately, with all that “experience” I couldn’t figure out how to put it all together, gain consistency, nor find the drive to follow through. I found that missing ingredient the day I met Ginny and the team at CrossFit 321.
I was motivated by my physical gains and didn’t want to waste that effort. Nutrition has been an interest of mine and I always ate what I thought was clean… but I began re-educating myself about food. I discovered “Forks over Knives”, and books like “Eat to Live” and “The China Study”… It changed how I view food, and now truly eating “clean” is ingrained in my daily, weekly, and monthly lifestyle. I’ve lost and kept off 30 pounds. I’m most excited to have dropped 2 sizes, and to be able to fit in clothes from my closet that I haven’t been into in years! I’m excited to be in a good place to continue working toward new goals.
I retired with 27 years from the Navy just one year earlier, and was working full time ~45-50 hours per week. Life and professional responsibilities had taken priority over my own health for several years. I had crept up to 230 pounds, wearing a 36” waist, taking multiple GERD meds, and pre-hypertension was plaguing me.
I was winded when I walked the dogs on slight hills or while climbing the 4 flights of stairs at work. Sadly, even tying my shoes seemed more difficult. With degenerative/arthritic disks in my back and neck, arthritic hip, and nagging tendinosis & tendonitis from a bicep tear, forgotten was my weight training experience and days of being a certified Personal Trainer, and Navy Boot Camp Company Commander (Drill Instructor) in the 90’s.
So… Monica MAY have mentioned that I was putting on a few pounds. Considering my hours at work, I certainly didn’t’ have time to work out too. We only saw each other a few hours per day between the time I came home from work and went to bed. Normally that time was spent in front of the TV. She had been going to CrossFit for about 2 months, and encouraged (dragged) me into one of the Saturday classes. The focus on functional movement gave me purpose though, and I signed up for Fundamentals the following class that was offered (and oh yeah…I was humbled).
The focus on physical abilities also motivated us to take a hard look at what we were putting into our bodies. Again, Monica led the way, we moved to a clean, nutrient dense, plant based diet (primarily), and as of this month, I’ve lost 37 pounds. At 193 pounds, I am BACK to wearing the 32 inch waist that I haven’t seen since high school. More importantly, I’m off several meds now, BP is normal. My mobility has greatly improved. I have my health back.
We are definitely only at the beginning of our CrossFit path with much to learn. We are enjoying the atmosphere, met great people, and found new friends. We are reaching goals, making new ones, and enjoying the journey.
We’ve been married for 25 years, and would like to be around to share 25+ more. Thank you Ginny, Chris, Justine, Tiffany and Shawn’s CrossFit 321 team, for showing us ways to work within our capabilities (and improve them), around our limitations (and reduce them). They were exactly the prescription that the Doctors “should” have been prescribing.
I couldn't thank Crossfit321 enough for opening your doors to me and all of my specific needs as an athlete. I would like to personally thank Shawn, Ginny, Justine, and the rest of the coaches for welcoming me in. Crossfit321 is a great environment to athletes of all skill levels and has the right equipment for everyone to work out safely and effectively. The coaches are true professionals and any beginner athlete or weight lifter should feel comfortable with them, simply put, they will put the time in to make you a better athlete! There is a definite TEAM mentality at Crossfit321 and those around you will motivate you to workout harder than you can do on your own. Whether this is your first time in the gym in years or you are a professional athlete, Crossfit321 has what you need and the high quality coaches and teammates to make you better!
Hope to see you guys soon!
Hi my name is Tiffany Surette and I'm a coach at Crossfit 321 and a member since 2009.
My athletic back ground was unusual, I was a competitive Equestrian since the age of 5, I showed my horses nearly every weekend in the summer. I played soccer until middle school and I gave swimming a try my senior year. My family was always active, taking care of a horse farm wasn't easy work and I was expected to do my fair share. I wasn't interested in organized sports, horses kept me quite busy.
I attended The University of Maine at Farmington, majoring Secondary Education English, part of the requirement was having a Health Class Lecture and Health Lab where I was introduced to weight lifting. I truly began to enjoy how strong I felt weight lifting. It wasn't long after that I switched my major to Community Health and eventually added double minors in Exercise Science and Nutrition. I eventually became a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and also went on to become certified as a Group Fitness Instructor in Kickboxing, Step, Cycle, Pilates and Water Aerobics. I felt this organic pull to helping people achieve wellness in their life, I wanted to bring them as much knowledge and as many options to help people live their most healthy and independent lives.
I maintained my own rigorous workout after college, I competed in 2 Figure competitions, placing 3rd in my first show. I felt I needed a goal to train for, and at the time Figure and Fitness were all the rage. The training and dieting took a toll on me and I began to come to terms that sort of training could not be maintained long term.
In the fall of 2009 I stopped into Crossfit 321 on Pleasant Street to inquire about a membership. I had been programming my own workouts, and found I was not getting stronger, I was at a plateau. I was doing a LOT of what I liked and nothing of what I didn't. I needed a change.
Shawn suggested I try the Free 10am class on a Saturday to see if I'd like it, we could always discuss memberships after I gave it a try. That Saturday I met Jack, Shawn, Ginny, Steph and Chris and had my first Crossfit class.
I had always considered myself in shape; the WARM UP QUICKLY humbled me! Everything I thought I knew about movement, range of motion, intensity and strength was challenged. I saw people squatting, performing kipping pull ups, rowing, running, throwing wall balls at this remarkable speed. How was going to keep up?!
I introduced myself to Ginny and Steph, the friendliest faces I could find and thought they seemed like the right people to hang with. We were briefed on the workout by Jack and then we were off! Together we tackled a team workout, I did my best to keep up and tried not to embarrass myself. I found the biggest band for pull ups and was still breaking them up in sets of 2-3, I could only swing the 35lb kettle bell to eye level (FORGET about going over head!) It seemed like forever before we were done, and I was instantly hooked.
There were no Fundamentals class, but Shawn assured me I could jump in and I'd catch on given my back ground in fitness.
Over the next few months I began to learn what I was capable of and what I needed work on. My lower body was incredibly strong, but I had the upper body strength of an infant. There were times I was the last person to finish a workout, but I stuck with it, I kept showing up and I kept on learning. I remember my FIRST kipping pull ups (Ginny has them on film), I remember the feeling I got when I started connecting double unders or when I could complete bigger sets up wall balls together. It was coming together, slowly.
Crossfit began to fill this void for me, I enjoyed the challenge, I enjoyed seeing what my body was capable of. I had always lacked some self confidence, and Crossfit was giving me a chance to grow and succeed.
Fast forward a few years, in 2012 I decided to go for my Level 1 certification, this was my opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for not only Crossfit, but helping people establish life long healthy habits. I began to discover Crossfit was modifiable; it could be adapted to every athlete and every skill level. And because of this adaptability it enables you to grow and change and develop skills. Everyone has their own set of goals, my goal is helping members become the BEST version of themselves. It took me FIVE YEARS to develop the strength needed to perform a muscle up! FIVE years! I've never worked so long and hard for anything and there's still more to achieve!
My relationship with Crossfit is filled with passion and determination, there are times I get frustrated or upset with my performance but I remind myself to step back, and ask myself WHY I do this. I do this because it's fun, it's social, it's emotional, it's challenging, and I enjoy feeling strong. When it stops being fun for me I need to find a way to enjoy it again. I can't constantly do the stuff I'm good at, and I can't always work on my weaknesses. You never know what will inspire someone, I hope I can inspire people to work their hardest.
My name is Dan, and this is my story.
A friend joined 321 and that was all she talked about from day one. The posts, the pictures, the wods (workout of the day), the competitions, and all the crazy lift names. I was relentless in my harassing about being the best at exercising and all the other stigmas that crossfit attracts, but it really caught my interest. It was a couple of years that she talked and I thought about trying it, but I had all the typical excuses lined up why I couldn’t, I don’t have time, I can’t afford it, I just bought bigger pants, etc.
Then one Saturday morning I was sitting in my recliner drinking coffee and watching the Rifleman, when it dawned on me that I was only a couple months away from turning the big 4-0. I was carrying the Goodyear spare tire around, was close to single handily keeping Jack Daniels and Hostess in business and knew it was time for a change. So I reluctantly climbed out of my recliner, shook the moths out of my gym bag, ventured to the back of my wife’s walk in closet and dug my gym shoes out from the bottom of the shoe pile where they had come to reside, and headed out to the free Saturday community class.
My social skills are about as strong as my will power to not eat the second Twinkie, (Please refer to my previous comment), so I was nervous walking in, but a few minutes later I had signed a waiver (I don’t know what it said, I don’t read them and don’t lie, you don’t either) and joined in a coach led warmup. The group was friendly and inviting and I was on my way. That following week, even though I felt like I needed crutches to get around from that Saturday wod, I signed up for fundamentals and made my home with the 5am class. What makes crossfit different from my other gym adventures is that everyday is a different workout, and everyone in the class supports and pushes each other to succeed. Every class has a knowledgeable and friendly coach that will help you with proper form, motivation and how to properly scale movements so you can get the most out of the wod.
I’m now over two years in and my list of scaled movements has dwindled, there’s still plenty and the only person that will judge you for scaling will be yourself. Double-unders are still on that list and I do not like them, not here, not there, not anywhere, but I still work at figuring them out. My 5am class has become much more than people I suffer with at the gym, we do stuff together away from the gym as well. Some fun, like dinners, and some not fun, like 5k’s, competitions and obstacle course races. I couldn’t imagine a better group to start my day with.
The moral to my short story is, CrossFit 321 has everything you need to be successful. The equipment, the coaches, and the members are all top notch. So dust off your sneakers, try a free class, sign up for fundamentals and get started.
My husband has gone to CrossFit 321 for six years. He met some of our closest friends there and, at 50, is in the best shape of his life. The coaching is top-notch and the facility has more equipment than most CrossFit gyms. So, what took me so long to join? Like a lot of people, I was intimidated by the challenges of the workouts and how strong and fit the athletes were. Also, I don’t like drawing attention to myself and feared that I would be the slowest runner and the last to finish any WOD. Besides, I had never lifted weights in my life. No, I would just work out at home, where no one could see me.
However, five months ago my son came home from his first year of college. A former varsity wrestler, he hadn’t worked out in a year, as he had concentrated on his studies. The university’s fitness center offered CrossFit classes, so I thought it would be a good idea for him to take Fundamentals before he returned to school in the fall. And, I thought the best way to support him was to take Fundaments with him.
Guess what? No one watched us as we learned to lift weights, decipher the lingo, or row 1000 meters. Everyone was friendly and encouraging, but also focused on their own WOD. The coaches cheered for us, fixed our form, and suggested ways to modify the WOD. Hey, this was fun. I was sore, but I was doing it.
Then Fundamentals ended and I had to decide if I wanted to do “real” CrossFit. You know, with the rest of the class, not over in the corner where the “real” athletes couldn’t see me. Let me tell you, that first month I would check the WOD the night before and tell my husband, “I can’t do that!” He gently reminded me that I could scale anything and that Shawn and Ginny would be there to help me. And scale I did. But, I also finished every workout. And, again, no one was watching me to see how much (or little) weight I had on the bar or how high (or low) a box I was jumping. Those other athletes were all shapes and sizes, all ages, and all working to their individual abilities. I decided I could do this.
That was five months ago. Now, I do the WOD four days a week, with yoga (upstairs at 321) on Wednesday nights for active recovery. I have lost 5 lbs., toned up, and, at 49, feel great. Sometimes I still get overwhelmed by a WOD (especially if there is a lot of running), but I do it any way. I still scale, but I am lifting heavier and improving my form. I have even gotten a few double-unders and am working on banded pull-ups and kipping handstand push-ups.
If you are trying to get up the nerve to try CrossFit 321, go for it! As I have told other members my story, over and over I have heard, “That was me, too!” We were all scared once. For me, walking in the door was the hardest part. But, day after day, I would marvel that I finished another challenging WOD. That is a great feeling. What are you waiting for?
Hi, I am Chris Scanlan. The last day of the year I turn 65. I have been training at CrossFit 321 since November 2011. I once qualified to be athlete of the month back in my first year of being a member. I wrote an article then. Here I sit again.
My most important lesson I am learning which I feel CrossFit 321 constantly tries to improve upon is listening to my body and needing what it is telling me. There are many things that make CrossFit 321 special to me. One of the other major ones is it’s dedication to changing with the industry of exercise and introducing new techniques and concepts. For giving myself and others a better quality life. It is not geared towards the needs of a certain niche athlete. This atmosphere permeates it- gym owners, instructors, and members. They all show invested interest in you reaching your full potential! This is what puts CrossFit 321 in the top 1% and I know I will not find duplicated in another gym. Also based on my experience through travelling and training in other gyms. They will start you from where you are and get you to where you want to get. And help you through whatever speed bumps come in between!