On August 11th, 2015 the life I had been living had been exposed and my reality came crashing down. I was on the verge of losing the only two good things I had going in my life, a good woman who loved me and a good job. I had a choice to make: continue on the path I had been on or choose to get help for the drug addiction I had been battling for the past ten years of my life. On August 12th I chose to seek out help and ultimately found my way into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. As I started on my path of recovery my girlfriend forced me to go to the gym with her at 530am. Now, I had not been working out since my soccer career had ended 7 years prior. I literally had no idea what to do, so I surveyed the gym and mimicked all of the “bro sesh” routines I witnessed. I also started following a bunch of Crossfit athletes and Olympic Weightlifters on Instagram. In December of that year I had gotten diagnosed with a heart condition called Tachycardia which means my heart beats faster and harder than it is supposed. I was 30 years old, 6 feet 3 inches tall, and weighed 285 pounds. I was at risk of having a heart attack in the next 2-5 years.
At this time Coach Danielle was one of the athletes I was following on the Gram and shot her an email giving her a background of who I was, why I was reaching out and if she would help me. In all honesty I didn’t reach out to any mail Crossfit coaches because I was embarrassed and thought they would laugh at me. Danielle agreed and that is when my Crossfit journey began. I dove straight into Crossfit in January of 2016 and found myself doing the open workouts. I struggled. I was overweight, everything hurt from being sedentary and pumping drugs into my body every day for the past 7 years. I was self-conscious of how I looked in the gym. I thought everyone in the gym (UFC gym at this point) was laughing at the fat kid in the corner trying to snatch 95 pounds and failing miserably. Danielle and my girlfriend Hannah are the only reasons I continued showing up at the gym at 530am and working out as they both kept giving me encouragement. Four short months into my journey I competed in a USAW sanctioned event. I was one of nine guys there. Holy shit was I not only out of comfort zone but out of my league. I just focused on seeing what I could do, trying not to care about the other eight monsters I was “competing” against. I opened the event for the mens with the first snatch of morning. And then I had the second snatch of the morning. And I had the third snatch of the morning. I am fairly certain that I am probably the only person who has ever completed their three snatch attempts before another lifter even attempted their first. But that didn’t matter to me because I missed the feeling of competing in soccer, and the rush I got on that platform was on the same level as the rush I got when ingesting four oxycontins. I went 2/3 on my snatches that morning and went 3/3 on my C&J. And guess what?!?! I didn’t come in last place, two guys bombed out so I took seventh lol.
This is when Coach Terry came into my life as I had fallen in love with Olympic Lifting. A few months later Hannah and I found out she was pregnant and that I was going to be a father. Crossfit had started as something to fill the void that had been created in my life when I got clean; now it not only helped fill that void but I looked at it as part of my responsibility to live as healthy of a life as I possibly could for Hannah and my daughter. A couple of months later Hannah and I joined our first box at Crossfit Lomita. This is where I learned about the community that Crossfit provides. I quickly became a staple during the 5am and 6am class times as the crazy new guy in the corner trying to pick up heavy shit. Very soon after Hannah and I got married and our beautiful daughter, Avery Rose, was born. A couple of weeks before she was born I was nominated as one of the team captains for our gym’s Friday Night Lights for the Crossfit Open 2017. I had only been at Crossfit Lomita for 5 months at this point but had developed strong relationships in that time with numerous members as well as with the owner Joe Luna and main coach Luis Amaya. They saw that I cared about our gym and the members who made it up. Well Avery was born three weeks before the open started and was actually admitted to the hospital at two weeks old because she had RSV. Let me tell you having a newborn during the open is not a recipe for performing at peak levels, but what Crossfit, Terry and my recovery has taught me is that you show up and do your best. 17.1 was brutal for me, as being a tall and overweight person burpees absolutely suck. Earlier I had talked about not reaching out to male remote coaches due to embarrassment, well during 17.1 my shirt came off after the first round of burpees. There I was bouncing off the floor and jumping around with my belly jiggling for all to see and guess what, I never felt insecure for a single moment. Crossfit has given me the confidence to embrace where my body is at today. Do I have goals for what I would like my body to look like in the future? Damn straight I do, but I also recognize that I have come a long way and this tall and now slightly overweight body can do some amazing things that I never thought was possible.
I have competed in Crossfit competitions, Oly comps, I now coach a couple of classes at Crossfit Lomita and my cardiologist told me that in 18 months I am no longer at risk of having a heart attack in the next five years. I am down to 240 pounds and my goal is to eventually get down to 220. Most importantly I have been clean for nearly 28 months and I have the one thing in my life that I always wanted, a family. Terry, who is not just my “coach” but someone who I consider to be a close friend and Crossfit are large parts of my recovery. They are part of my journey. Crossfit is part of what makes up who I am. I don’t define myself by the numbers I put up or don’t put up. Crossfit has taught me to look at my athletic journey and the progress I have made. #2018together