Dear Alex and Richard,
Transformational! That’s the best word I can come up with to describe my experience at CrossFit Anacapa (CFA). While I never was much of an athlete, I have been weightlifting since I was 16 (my wife and I actually met in the weight room at college) and had been a member at Gold’s Gym for the past 8 years. I had, to say the least, fallen into a routine: M-W-F lifting weights and not doing much else: little cardio, stretching, range of motion, balance work, etc. Friday’s had become “sometimes”; my motivation was flagging and I was struggling even to maintain my level of fitness, let alone make gains. I had frankly began to wonder if, as I was now over 50, there was no hope and I should just accept the inevitable. At the invitation of a friend, I attended a couple of the introductory classes in July of 2012 and then, along with my family, signed up for Elements in August. Here’s where I was at that time:
- I weighed 258 lbs.
- My waist size was 38″ and my pants were “snug”.
- I was gassed running the 400 m warm up and would walk about 1/3 of an 800 m jog.
- My Fight Gone Bad score at the end of Elements was 159, Rx.
Here’s where the Transformational part comes in. After 4 months of CrossFit four times a week, taking the SFH fish oil and Recovery drinks as prescribed and going mostly Paleo for about three months, here’s where I am now:
- I weigh 228 lbs.
- My waist is now a loose fitting 34″
- I can talk while running the 400 m warm up and have no problem running the 800 m legs.
- My flexibility, while still not great, has improved significantly and many of the aches and pains have diminished or completely gone away.
- My Fight Gone Bad score last night was 239, Rx. That’s over a 50% improvement in four months!
As I mentioned earlier, my whole family signed up as well. This has been a great experience for us as we’ve each seen significant gains in our abilities and going to CFA has brought us closer as a family; we often are talking about the workouts or our results all throughout the week. We also now have a new group of friends that we see every time we go to CFA as everyone shares the enthusiasm and is supportive of each other.
Of course, all this success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Both of you have been extremely supportive and helpful at every stage. You should take pride in the fact that the whole crew is friendly, knowledgeable and willing to instruct, listen or prod as necessary on any given day. Thank you all for this remarkable “Fountain of Youth” environment.
To paraphrase Randy Newman: “We love it!”
Eric, Amanda, Alex and Elaina Baldwin
After the end of the Paleo Challenge, it seemed an appropriate time to update my story. My family and I have now been a part of CrossFit Anacapa for 7 months, which isn’t long but in all honesty, it has been one of the most dramatic periods of change in my life. You’ve already got the story covering Elements in August 2012 up to the middle of December, so here’s where things are as of March 1st:
Paleo Challenge on January 6th:
I weighed 222 lbs.
My measurement across the navel was 38″.
My time in the benchmark WOD was 11:37.
After the Challenge on February 24th:
I weighed 207 lbs. Down 15 lbs!
My measurement across the navel was 36.25″. Down 1.75″.
My time on the benchmark WOD was 9:49. Reduced by 1:48.
For reference, my measurement across the navel was 43″ at the beginning of Elements and is now down 6.75″ since then.
We continue to go 3-4 times per week and to achieve amazing results including, for me just recently, a PR for Back Squat @ 305 lbs., a PR for Dead Lift @ 405# and entering my first CrossFit Competition and finishing 3rd in my age group.
I’m not alone in these achievements as my wife and daughter are both setting PR’s on a regular basis and are signing up for their first competition.
Of course, a Box is just a building without the people who run it and both of you and all of the team are simply outstanding. There isn’t a day that I go to CFA that I don’t learn something from one or more of the Coaches. The positive and supportive atmosphere you’ve created spreads throughout the members of CFA as well and makes it a place we enjoy and want to go to; not a chore, which was the case at the Globo Gym. It is also a fact that I spend a significant portion of my day extolling the virtues of CrossFit in general and CFA in particular to nearly everyone I meet.
While Rich Froning may not have anything to worry about just yet, the old Eric Baldwin would be stunned to see what has happened in just 7 months. I can’t wait to see what happens at 1 year, 5 years and beyond!
Eric M. Baldwin
CrossFit Anacapa Update – January 2014
As we have just rolled the calendar over to a new year, it seems to be the right time to update this story. From my perspective, it just keeps getting better.
My wife and I have now been at CrossFit Anacapa (CFA) for 18 months and it continues to be the single most transformative period in my life.
The sense of community that Alex and Richard have fostered at CFA is simply outstanding and, since completing my Level 1 Certification last year (Olympic Lifting Cert scheduled for March of this year), I’ve been coaching on a regular basis further strengthening the feeling of belonging to the community. I’ve also come to find great satisfaction in coaching my fellow athletes; sharing in their triumphs and working through their challenges has proven to be particularly rewarding.
This positive and motivating environment integrates with the skillfully designed and implemented programming to produce results that are both demonstrable and quantifiable:
- I continue to get stronger and faster in every measurable way with personal records still coming frequently. What’s more, I am convinced that I’ll keep getting better with time and my log book backs that up.
- At the hydrostatic testing that was recently done at the beginning of the 2014 Paleo Challenge, my weight was 207 lbs. and body fat was 12.4%, which places me in the 96th percentile for my age group. For reference, when I started in August of 2012, I weighed 258 lbs. and estimate that my body fat was in the 30% range. For graphic evidence of this change, take a look at the pictures on the 2014 Paleo Challenge flyer (see top photo).
- The fact that running, once an exceedingly difficult task, has become one of my strengths and favorite parts of a workout continues to amaze me. This is a particular revelation in my case as I’m now quicker and faster than I’ve ever been over my whole life.
- Over the past year, I’ve been involved in four CrossFit Masters competitions scoring two third place finishes and, most recently in my first partner competition pairing with Coach Richard Lewis, winning overall. It seems that CrossFit is bringing out the inner athlete in me. Bring on the CrossFit Open!
- As further support of the quality of the CFA program is the fact that I’m only spending 4-5 hours per week exercising; one hour per session.
There really is no other way to describe the results except success.
Are there are still problems? Sure, but mostly they’re of the high quality variety such as:
- Having to purchase new clothes because the old ones don’t fit. I had to do this three times! The only clothes I still have that fit from 18 months ago are my socks and I once again wear the same size pants as I did when I was 21; I’m now 52. As I’m fond of saying: In CrossFit, age is a factor but it’s not a barrier.
- Reintroducing yourself to people you haven’t seen for a while because of the change in your physical appearance. This inevitably leads to a lengthy discussion on CrossFit.
- Having to relearn how to shave due to now having a defined jaw line. Yes, there were several nicks and cuts along the way.
- Having to retake your Driver’s License photo because it doesn’t look like you anymore.
My outlook, energy level and overall appearance have all improved tremendously over my time with CFA and these are things I’m thankful for every single day. Also, as enjoyable as it is being a walking testimonial to people I meet, I get equal pleasure from the day-in, day-out interactions with my adopted family at CFA. Ultimately, that is the difference.
My message to anyone wanting to make a change is simple: Start with the Intro class.
With best regards,
Eric M. Baldwin