Hi, my name is JB. I am 47 years old. I joined Bob’s garage in April 2015. This is my CrossFit story in brief. In October 2012 I left the British Army after a 26 year career. I had always been a reasonably fit soldier but had to work really hard at fitness whilst serving. In 2008 I discovered CrossFit and never looked back so for the last five years of my service at age 39-42, I was fitter and stronger than I had been for years.
2013 – Carrying too many pounds !
It started going wrong about 6 months before I left the Army when I injured my lower back which ended up with an ambulance ride, morphine, a hospital stay, several weeks of pain killers, physio and an injection into my spine to nullify the pain in my nerves. I had been carrying injuries for years – a result of a long rugby career and 26 years of military service which is tough on the body. I think I just overdid it, not helped by not doing much stretching or mobilisation (always a failing of mine). Needless to say, I don’t want to experience such pain again…
After the physio, I meant to start CrossFit training again but then I left the Army and started a new job as a civilian where I was living to work – 16 hour days, high tempo, high learning curve, high stress, no life, no family time, just work. Initially I was up at 0500 hrs everyday and on my rowing machine but after 3 months I was exhausted and something had to give – the rowing and training went out of the window. So, for the next 15 months, I worked, had no life, did not train and was miserable and angry. I was unfit, unhealthy, gaining weight and becoming someone I did not recognise. So, I quit my job not knowing what was next, but knowing I had to move on for the sake of my family and for my own well-being.
I then started working as a solo consultant and slowly began to get a life back. This included the occasional jog and the occasional row but no more. Then in October 2014, I started running and over several weeks built up to a weekend run of 15kms, some rowing, some upper body work…and then I plateaued and knew it was time to change gear. I knew by about January 2015 I needed to get back to CrossFit so over a few weeks I started researching which box I liked the look of. When I found #bobsgarage on line I liked the messaging and the simplicity of the site. It just seemed right so I emailed Bob to say hello. His response was welcoming and enthusiastic so I decided to take the plunge and start CrossFit again. I am glad I did.
As soon as I walked into Bobs place, I felt at home. I loved the simplicity of it. Kettle bells, olympic weights, rings, an impressive frame set up, boxes, sandbags, a sled – I love the sled, ask Bob 🙂 – and a few other bits and pieces. Plain, simple, no frills – I knew immediately I was in the right place. And so it began…
Bob asked me my history, took note of all the injuries I was carrying, my weak points and my goals and started tailoring my workouts accordingly. The inclusion and focus of mobility, yoga moves and stretching came as a surprise – painful, necessary and over time welcome. I am much more flexible than I used to be even though I have a long way to go on that front. Over the last few months, through hard work and decent coaching, I have regained strength, got fitter, lost some fat, put on muscle, feel healthier and fitter. The workouts are hard, some a really hard, but that’s what I always loved about CrossFit.
I love the sheer effort required to finish a workout and the sense of satisfaction I feel when I complete something that is really tough. I like Bob’s coaching style – he gets to know people, he works with you not against you and he is cognisant of what each individual needs. I also enjoy the company of like-minded people who do CrossFit – there is no bullshit, no people standing around posing or pretending they are working out. Instead, they are people of varying degrees of fitness working hard, sharing banter, pain, successes and encouraging each other. There is a camaraderie and a spirit alive in Bob’s Garage and it’s good.
I am not as fit as I was back in 2012 before I injured my back but I am on the road to get there. It has been a hard journey to get to this point but I know where I am going and I know 2016 in going to be a big year for progress for me. I have some goals – improve my mobility and flexibility, try to get some old injuries sorted out so I bear less pain daily, start completing some CrossFit hero workouts, run a marathon, cycle across Scotland and do a muscle up…all achievable. All driven by CrossFit and a coach who knows his stuff.
People always ask me why I do CrossFit and I hope I have answered that question. More importantly, some people I talk to are worried about trying CrossFit because, ‘I am not fit enough,’ or ‘It looks really hard.’ All I can say is Bob is a trainer who will motivate you, push you and work you hard but he’ll know where to start and he’ll know how to improve your fitness beyond your expectations. Try it, it really does change your life.
6th October 2013 is the first time Nikki Conner emailed me. That was the day I was introduced to her life. She had a lot on her plate and still does – mother, wife and career woman. She juggles many balls and is able to manage it all seamlessly well. She is a dedicated woman and trains 4 times a week in the mornings before work at 6am.
Together we have faced many challenges including hip problems, posture issues and generally easing her into tough physical training. When she first came to me, she could not do a pressup or a chinup and now can do both of these – a true test of strength. Nikki also smashes out 100 strict burpees when she is away from the gym on holiday!
A telling achievement of how far she has come was when I signed her up for the Spartan sprint in the pentands this year with her friend Elaine who now also trains at #bobsgarage. I convinced her that it would only be a short 5k run lasting around 30mins and would be nothing major but low and behold it was a huge mental and physical challenge taking around 3hrs in some of the toughest terrain and weather the pentlands has to offer. She took it in her stride. Here is her story:
For years and years I have gone to the gym and done various different classes and had PT sessions. All of which I enjoyed but never really stuck to for any length of time and got bored of very quickly. I needed to find something that suited my lifestyle which being a full time working mum was a challenge! I had seen a few friends on Facebook had started CrossFit so had asked them what it was all about and they all seemed to enjoy it, so I thought why not try something different!
They recommended #BOBSGARAGE to me and said that they had heard good things about it so I contacted Bob for a trial session. I had no idea what to expect and was quite nervous as the garage looked totally different to any other gym. The trial session was great as it gave a taster of what CrossFit was all about and see if it was something that I wanted to continue to do. Well that trial session was 2 years ago and I can honestly say that it is the best fitness regime I have ever done! Let alone stuck to for as long as I have.
I enjoy the variety, the individualisation that Bob puts a huge amount of time and effort into as well as rehabbing any issues that come up. One key thing I learnt about myself is that mentally I need to be pushed.
If I didn’t have Bob’s encouragement telling me I could do it then I would admit defeat. The best feeling is realising that you can actually achieve something that at the start you think there is no way you can do. There is a great sense of community spirit in the classes and with having smaller classes means that Bob can ensure that your form is spot on, which is something that CrossFit seems to get a false reputation for!
So going back to my first point about finding something that fitted into my lifestyle, I go to Bobs at 6am most weekday mornings and many people think that I am mad, but it suits me knowing that I have worked hard and sets me up for the rest of the day.
It is amazing to think that it can fun being totally pushed out of your comfort zone.
I’ve been a member now for two years. When I joined I was broken and really unfit, despite going to another gym about 3 times a week. My time at #BG has been excellent. I’ve been rehabbed, I improved my movement, I’ve been taught some complex movements, and in general my overall health is far better than it was before. As a result, I now lead a much healthier lifestyle. After Years of sitting around not doing much and working a desk job I had a lot of mobility issues. My movement was very poor. After a few weeks of working on mobility, with Bob’s guidance, you soon start to see the benefits of better movement in day to day life and that then transferred over into my weightlifting.
Before I started at #BG I found that I was stuck in a rut at my old gym. I wasn’t seeing the results I desired. I was finding it difficult to push myself hard enough. I wasn’t following any specific programme and was training alone which meant I had no enthusiasm/desire to train. The gym I attended was the other side of town and took a lot of time to get from there to home after a days work. So I looked into local gyms near my home and I came across a few of these CrossFit gyms.
The first thing I did was look at reviews of what this Crossfit was, and by god did it look like hard work! So after some research I decided to get in touch with one of the gyms. After a chat with Bob I actually decided against trying it, but after about 6 weeks of this Crossfit niggling at the back of my mind and my usual old boring gym routine I chose to take the plunge. I arranged my induction course. I did my induction course with a couple of other guys who were all in the same boat as me. When it came to it I was shocked, thinking to myself that the warm up alone was more intense than my actual gym sessions.
I signed up a couple of weeks after my induction. I was reluctant to at first because of how tough it was but I decided to bite the bullet. I’ve never looked back since. The main reason I stuck with it was the training with others as a group, all encouraging each other. Getting to learn Olympic lifting as well as being taught how to do squats, deadlifts and presses properly.
At first it’s challenging but after a few months you develop and you start to enjoy it more and more. Although that’s not to say it stops becoming challenging. You’re training is constantly being changed and new things added to keep you on your toes. After a while you learn to take it in your stride and you realise that no matter what challenge you’re thrown it’s achievable!
I’ve had a lot of success in my time at #BG so much I don’t know where to start! I am stronger, fitter and more mobile than ever before! The special thing about #BG is that you get an individual programme scaled to your ability but that also pushes you to your limits so that you can achieve your goals. One of my biggest successes was passing my CrossFit Level-1 Trainers course and becoming a qualified coach. Which with Bob’s help has resulted in my taking some of the classes at the gym and helping out.
Thankfully I’ve not suffered any major failures really. Everybody has those days you go in and are not in the mood, usually after a tough day at work, but after being there for a few minutes and mixing with the other members you soon pick up and are raring to go.
Personally I stuck with it for a few reasons. The group training and the friends you make being a big one. Also Bob drops knowledge bombs after knowledge bombs, he’s always learning and passing on information to keep your training interesting and fun.
#BG is a very unique place like none other. The individualised programmes mean that you are going to get results no matter what the circumstances. The community of members is a close one and everyone always friendly and welcoming to anyone new. The most unique thing is probably Bob, he’s a one of a kind coach who has the ability to deal with a wide verity of different personalities but also the knowledge to be able to deal with almost every situation possible.
If you are looking to improve your overall fitness, I suggest you come and give it a try. The atmosphere is always good, people encourage you all the time and will help you if you need it, you’ll make new friends and most importantly it’s fun.