How did you find out about BearFitness?
I worked out at a pretty intense level through high school and college due to being involved in athletics. I kept the routine through my twenties, but then I started to slip. I found myself going to the gym less and less often and my workouts consisted of doing whatever I felt like that day. Eventually, I just stopped going. I made up all the excuses that we use to justify not making it a priority. The real reason was I was bored with my workouts and wasn’t motivated.

Then one day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and knew I had to do something. I weighed more than I’d ever had and didn’t’ feel like myself anymore. I knew I had to make a drastic change to get back on the right course. I did some google searching and found BearFitness. The workouts reminded me of what I used to do in college and I loved the idea of getting back into it. I talked a buddy into going with me for a free workout. We were both ex-athletes and walked in thinking we’d breeze through things. We were wrong. We got our butt handed to us by some intro workout that probably would be a good warmup for a WOD (workout of the day). I still thought I could do it on my own, so I made one more failed attempt at LA Fitness. Finally, I told myself I needed to make a major change and signed up at BearFitness.

When you’re not at the gym, what are you doing?
Oh boy, there’s a lot of things to talk about here. I’m busy spending time with my wife Savannah and taking care of our daughter JoJo. We’re also getting ready for baby girl #2 that’s due in May. I own a Financial Advising practice in White Bear Lake that demands a lot of time (just don’t ask Jake what he thinks). In my free-time, I hunt and fish as much as my wife and work will allow me to.

What is your WHY for showing up?
I show up for my mental health as much as I do my physical health. There are many of days that my workout is the stress release for a tough day at work or life in general. There’s a sense of accomplishment you get after a hard workout that puts me back into a positive mental state.

I also refuse to “go gently into that good night” as I get older. I want to be physically fit and active for as long as I possibly can be. Not to mention in about 18 years I’m going to have to be able to scare the hell out of some teenage boys who want to date my daughters!

What’s your favorite type of workout? Benchmark workout?
Anything with cleans, presses, or row.

What are your goals? How have they changed over your time at BearFItness?
Having workout goals wasn’t something I’d done since college. I think not having them was a major reason I stopped working out. At CrossFit, there’s a TON of ways to set goals for yourself. Maybe you shaved 10 seconds off a benchmark workout, hit a PR (personal record) in a lift, or finally accomplished a skill movement you’ve been working on for months.

The cool thing is the goals work for everyone and they’re progressive. When I first started, my goal was to NOT be the worst time on the whiteboard for a WOD. I failed that goal many times in my first few months. Eventually, I started to pick up on how the benchmark WOD’s worked and how you can use the workouts, one-reps, and skill movements as personal goals. I started tracking all of them in an Excel Spreadsheet and it’s amazing the progress you can see as you look back at the results.

Currently, My SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE goals are: 1) weigh below 230 for the 2018 Open 2) Clean & Jerk 300lb+ 3) CONSISTENTLY complete a ring muscle up.

Favorite workout jams!
Techno with a lot of base.

How has the variety of Coaching styles helped you in your workouts?
Each coach has a different style and expertise. If there’s a skill or movement you want to work on, most likely there’s a coach who’s the gym expert. There’s also a level of honesty that you get from the coaches that’ll put you in your place about what you need to do to get results.

Any advice you have for someone thinking they want to start working out?
DON’T THINK YOU CAN’T DO IT! When I started I was convinced that I was too old for these type of workouts. My body hurt and I had to scale most of the workouts. It seemed like every time one body part stopped hurting, another one would start. My cardio was terrible and I thought I’d never improve. Stay with it. You’ll be amazed at how your body eventually adapts and you start to see major improvements.

Avoid taking time off. In my first year, I took a few 2-3 week breaks. I’d come back and start the process over of being sore and out of shape.
Realize everyone is a little intimidated by the atmosphere of a CrossFit gym at first. So relax, make some friends, and STMFC (you’ll have to ask what that means).

Most memorable time at BearFitness?
My first “real” class. I’d finished Foundations and thought I was in shape. I signed up for a noon class and unknowingly was surrounded by the all-stars of the gym. I tried to stay with them for the first round of a 5 round workout. I then hit the wall. I didn’t’ finish before the time cap and afterward, I was doing everything in my power to not throw up and pass out on the floor. As I laid there hyperventilating, somebody walked by and said: “Welcome to Crossfit”.

Anything you would like to add?
BearFitness is exactly what I needed to make a meaningful impact on my health and lifestyle. The commitment to sign up for a class and put it on my calendar made it a priority to go to the gym. The group workouts don’t allow you to slack if you’re not feeling up to pushing yourself that day. The friendly competition keeps you motivated. The biggest difference though is the community. I’d worked out at other gyms for years and never knew the name of another person there. BearFitness is the opposite. You become friends with the other members and the coaches.

photo credit: Photos by DC

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