I’m currently an Electrical Engineering student at MSOE and I hail from the small town of Kiel, WI (about 1.5 hours north of Menomonee Falls). When I was in high school, I weighed close to 270 lbs, and I kept that weight on for the year after I graduated. It wasn’t until the fall of 2013 when I decided to make a change. I started out with the “1600 calorie, Lean Cuisine” type diet and running after work with a friend. I ran in Walmart tennis shoes, couldn’t go more than a mile, and had every knee, shin, and hip problem in the book. I set a goal to run a 5k in November (it was August when I started), and I did it – although I had accidentally signed up for a 5 mile run. I finished anyways in ~48 minutes. The following year I started lifting weights a bit in the traditional gym setting – back day, chest day, (skipped 9 times out of 10) leg day… And that fall I completed my first Tough Mudder.
Fast forward to 2015. I’m enrolled at MSOE and I’ve stopped going to the gym thanks to the typical “gym-timidation,” not wanting to deal with the muscle heads. Workouts were boring, progress was slow, and I had developed an eating disorder from the constant barrage of “eat this, not that…get a six back, look like a model…low carb or bust” type diets and fads you see everywhere. I left for Basic Training in the Army that summer and came back around 185 lbs, but all I could do is run. So I started following your blog posts at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016. I’d scale workouts for the equipment I had and was finally beginning to enjoy myself.
That summer, I finally decided to take the leap. I worked my finances until I found a way to afford the membership (poor college kid here) and my current internship at Harley was right around the corner. My days that summer started at 5:30am when I left home, worked until 4:15pm, went to 4:30 class, and drove all the way back to Kiel after class to get home around 7:30 pm. But I was hooked. The reception I got when coming into your gym was incredible. No one talked down to me or made me feel bad for not being proficient in a movement, and everyone was very friendly and welcoming. I even had the courage to sign up for Fall Brawl with Casey – and set PR’s in both the clean and jerk, and bench. If you had told me 4 months before that, that I would be able to pick my body weight off the ground and push it above my head (TWICE) I would have laughed…or cried.
Fast forward again to the last month or so, and I’m doing RX Open workouts. I finally got up into a handstand (working on those HSPUs!) and can finally string double-unders together. The crazy thing is, I’ve only been with CFMF since July of last year! Now, I must confess; I recently got a new internship at DRS Technologies – on the other side of town. So I started dropping in on other gyms closer to work, but no matter where I went, I couldn’t find the energy, community, and support that I get at CFMF. I made the decision that I’m going to stay at CFMF no matter how much driving or planning I have to do to get there!
Your gym has made me stronger in more ways than one. I’ve learned that fitness is about more than looking “hot” without a shirt and eating fewer calories than a new born. I’ve finally got my nutrition (mostly) on track and I’m back up to a healthy weight for my body type. I’m achieving things I never thought I’d be able to do and making friends along the way. I’m genuinely happier and healthier than I’ve ever been and I look forward to many more years of pushing myself and finding out what I’m capable of.
Sorry for the long read, but I appreciate you taking the time to hear my story. Thank you for all that you and your gym has done for me to this point and, as I said, I look forward to continuing for a long time. I’m excited to see where I’ll be in a year!