Back to CrossFit


5:00 AM

The alarm was blaring. I opened my eyes, looking at the ceiling and slowly got out of bed. As I stumbled around the room I quickly put on some clothes, grabbed my water bottle, apple and keys then head out the door.

Today was going to be my first CrossFit workout since the memorial WOD for Scott that I posted about previously. I haven’t really said it but I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back to CrossFit since Scott passed away.

You see, Scott was the one that got me into CrossFit. He was my own personal CrossFit cheerleader. I remember when I first started CrossFit it was actually supposed to be the weekend that Scott had his surgery in February of 2014. I skipped my first class to be at the hospital and he promptly gave me crap about it post surgery.

I went back to Ohio and started in at CrossFit. Even with all that Scott was dealing with – fresh off of brain surgery and dealing with his cancer diagnosis he would call and ask me how CrossFit was going. He’d text me and make sure I was going then ask me how the WoD was. He’d encourage me every chance he got and would always tell me to not give up and to stick with it. Scott will forever be the person that I associate CrossFit with in my life.

So, in moving to Texas I got the privilege to share CrossFit with Scott on a regular basis. A gift that I’m forever grateful for. By the time that we got to workout together he had some balance issues but that never stopped him. No matter what he was dealing with physically he would go to the box and workout. On especially bad days he would still go and would just use the rower. I will never forget the WoDs that we got to do together. He really taught me what it meant to never give up.

After Scott passed away I found myself in a bit of a spiral. I started to cope with my grief by emotionally eating. I also couldn’t even begin to think about stepping foot into CrossFit. It just didn’t seem right for some reason. It sounds stupid and I wish I could explain it but that’s the only way I know how to put it.

October 4, 2015. Two months. Some days it feels like it all happened yesterday and sometimes it feels like it’s been years since I talked to him.

I finally looked at myself in the mirror and looked at the scale and realized that I couldn’t keep dealing with my grief like this. I had to change. Scott would want me to be in that gym every minute that I could be. So… I decided that Monday – it was time for me to go back to CrossFit.

I’m in the process of turning my diet around step by step and each day it gets a bit better and I’m already seeing positive changes there. I’m trying to build healthier outlets for my grief than food… but it’s a tough one.

So back to 5:00 AM…

I arrive in the parking lot and sit there for a couple of minutes staring at the door. It was too early  to be emotional. It took all I had emotionally to get out of the car and walk to that door.

Once I did get inside I was quickly greeted by familiar faces. Everyone came over and welcomed me to the 5:15 class and before I knew it we were well into the warm-up.

The workout was upper body focused – one of my weak areas but I suffered through it and finished in a decent amount of time. Before I knew it I was back at my Apartment heading up to get ready for the day.

As I (slowly) walked up the steps I thought about Scott. About the impact he’s had on my life. I thought about how even after he’s gone that he left behind a wonderful community of people that I somehow have had the honor of being accepted into. Thanks to Scott I met so many other awesome people there at Hill Country CrossFit. People who I now call friends and enjoy spending time with. After getting to know these people I can see why Scott loved them all so much.

Life won’t be the same without him…


#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 3

Where the magic happens every week!

Where the magic happens every week!

There I was laying face down on the floor. I can’t breathe, I’m soaking wet with sweat and all I could think of was, “I actually pay to do this?” I was in the third round of burpee wallballs and I felt like I couldn’t get up off the floor. I had nothing left to give.

“Come on John – you got this”

Someone yelled from somewhere else in the box. I don’t know what it is but just that simple act of someone cheering you on seems to allow me to dig deep within and find strength I didn’t know I had. So I wobbled my way back to my feet and finished out the next 6 burpee wallballs to finish my set of 15 before starting on my box jumps (which became step-ups because I was certain that my legs were going to give out during the jumps).

I dug deep and worked through the last round. It took all I had to make it through but I did it and managed to finish under the 20min time cap!

That’s a glimpse into what my CrossFit workouts are like. It’s really funny how I can ride a bike for 100 miles or run 10 miles which takes hours and it does tire me out but I could do that any day of the week. You give me a 20 minute workout at CrossFit and it’s like I’ve never done anything athletic a day in my life.

I finally stepped on a scale. I’m down a whopping two pounds. I could be discouraged but I’m trying to teach myself, however, to measure my successes in things like setting PRs (personal records) for different weight lifting movements, finishing WODs within time limits, reducing my mile times running, increasing my speed on the bike, and all the other little successes I experience (like being able to jump rope consecutively for more than 5 times around). Even the success of making it to 3 WODs this week felt good.

This week I set some PRs from my last time I was in CrossFit a little over a year ago:

Front Squat: 95lbs
Back Squat: 115lbs
Strict Push Press: 65lbs (have I mentioned that my shoulders are super weak)

They’re nothing to write home about for most people but when you used to struggle with these movements while using an empty 45lbs bar – it feels pretty great.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Um, before you moved didn’t you do stuff that didn’t involved CrossFit?” So let’s see, I haven’t “ran” this week per se. Wednesday’s CrossFit workout I did 5 x 400 meter sprints in which I wanted to perish after the second or third round. So I’d say I technically got a run in there. Providing that I can walk tomorrow morning I plan on doing at least a 5k around the neighborhood. If I’m feeling especially good then I might go for a 4 miler.

I’m still trying to get up the nerve to go cycling. I’ve been a bit hesitant to go riding because I don’t know the roads around here and I don’t want to get lost and/or hurt. I haven’t found a group to ride with either so it’s on my to-do list to seek out a cycling group to go riding with.

Ok! Onto the next week!

Be More Human


I saw this commercial over the last couple of weeks and you know what? It makes me miss CrossFit. It was around this time last year that I started an introduction to CrossFit group and then I took up training for a half marathon so I let CrossFit go in favor of being able to dedicate all my free time training for my half.

After I get settled in San Antonio I think I will go back to CrossFit. I think I’ll incorporate it into my cycling, running (and dare I say maybe swimming…). I not only felt stronger but I think it helped support my other outdoor activities. Plus since I know only a couple of people out there I might as well sink my free time into being active (we all know my waist and weight will thank me).


Who else is taking the 28 Day Challenge?

I had a challenge presented to me on January 31 by my friend Sean to blog every day in February to help form the habit of writing on a consistent basis. I took him up on the challenge and will be writing every day in February. 

I’ll be runnin’ till the love runs out


Oh, we all run for something.
run for God, for fate,
for love, for hate,
for gold, for rust,
for diamonds, for dust.

So, here I am, literally running to the start of my second ever 10k trail race. It’s nothing but ice and I’m doing my best to not fall and bust my face before I even reach the start line. Even though everyone has started they so graciously let me start and I whip out on the trail to get started knocking out the 6 miles I have before me.

Well, much to my dismay, the trail never turned into a trail – it just stayed a rutted icy mess. I kept trying to figure out if it was easier to run or walk on the ice. I was all alone because I was late and my running partner had been injured so it was just me. I didn’t run into any running friends until mile 4 so I had some time to be alone with just me and my thoughts.

Somewhere between me being almost convinced that I was going to die on a downhill and missing my footing and putting my whole shoe into a cold creek crossing I thought about my running journey.

One year ago I was still inside at Planet Fitness running the couch to 5k program and dying the entire time. I would be stressing about Week 5, Day 3 where I would have to run for 20 minutes straight and completely unsure of how I would do that. I would pass people outside running (on dry pavement) and think that they were crazy for running outside in February.

A year later I’m outside, alone, in 40ish degree weather, running on ice and mud – and having the time of my life!

I went from never running a day in my life to running a half marathon by October. I ran almost 20 races last year of varying distances. If you would have asked me a few years ago if I thought I’d be a runner later in life – I would have laughed at you.

Just a nice reminder to never short change yourself – you can always do something you put your mind into and put the time into. I’m living proof of that.

Until tomorrow!

(The title and lyrics at the top are from One Republic – Love Runs Out)

Who else is taking the 28 Day Challenge?

I had a challenge presented to me on January 31 by my friend Sean to blog every day in February to help form the habit of writing on a consistent basis. I took him up on the challenge and will be writing every day in February. 

Day 1


Please forgive me for my absence in blogging. Last year got away from me and it always makes me a bit sad when I don’t stay on top of my blogging. So, to help me get back in the rhythm I took a challenge from my buddy Sean over at to write every day in February! So, if you don’t see a post from me by 12:00 PM eastern then you have my permission to come find me and yell at me via whatever method we communicate.

So, let’s Continue reading

Going to Extremes: Planet Fitness to CrossFit


So at the beginning of the year I joined Planet Fitness with the idea that I would mostly do cardio and then take some of the classes they offer to their members. One thing that I liked about Planet Fitness was its no intimidation attitude and zero tolerance policy as such. Many places have ridiculed and called Planet Fitness “not a real gym” because it lacks some of the equipment many more serious gym goers look for.

Personally, I felt like I fit right in. As a “fluffy” dude running on a treadmill it was nice not to have a ton of people looking at me judging me. Granted – I’m sure I still had that but it wasn’t as obvious. Also I didn’t have personal trainers lurking around and continually harassing me. I was able to go in, do my thing, and bolt. It was nice. Plus the few times the lunk alarm went off – it made me laugh.

So as I was finishing up Couch to 5k – I started thinking about doing some resistance training but wanted to do something efficient and challenging. I originally thought about doing the classes and forming a routine but my Twitter followers talked me into something else.

My long time friend @ThisDaddys_Blog (Scott) and somewhat newer friend @DamonGocheaur (Damon) talked me into trying CrossFit. Now, just so I make this fair, Scott has been trying for about as long as I’ve known him to get me to try CrossFit. I guess Damon just helped push me to make that final decision finally.

I researched and found Friendship CrossFit in Dublin, OH not too far from where I live these days. I e-mailed the owner a few times and got setup for a “beginners” class on Saturday. Early March I went in and found myself terrified. I got there early and watched the class before me finish up.

What in the heck was I thinking?

I watched these people and all I could think was, “I’ll NEVER be able to do this.” Part of me thought about just turning around and running out the door. I am not a quitter by nature though so I told myself that I was going to do this.

After one of my classmates helped me though the warm up (which was 100x harder than any WORKOUT I’ve done – let alone a warm up) we got into the workout. I don’t even remember what my first day was – all I remember is after the workout I collapsed on the floor and wasn’t sure I was going to be able to walk to my car. You know what was funny though – I was hooked.

As the weeks have gone on CrossFit has shown me that I’m capable of doing much more than I ever thought I could. So many people (professional and non-professional) for so many years have told me I needed to start smaller or do less or not workout so hard. CrossFit had me lifting weight I never thought I could and doing movements that I only dreamed of one day doing. It pushes me to try harder and I always look forward to what the next class holds.

Fast forward a few weeks and I returned to Planet Fitness to do a run and I noticed a sign at the door that said, “Leave your attitude here.”

It hit me right then and there:

I workout at the two most controversial “gyms” at two extreme ends of the spectrum yet they share one big philosophy:

Chuck the attitude at the door.

You see – CrossFit, though it looks like it’s intimidating as all get out from the outside, wasn’t intimidating after I took the first step into the box. Everyone in my class – though MUCH more fit than I – is encouraging and accepting of me. They cheer me on as I struggle to finish a WOD (Workout of the Day) or they offer to show me movements I’ve never done before. The words “you can’t” is never used and no one acts like they’re better than me (even when we are working out against the clock or for time and I’m always last). The coaches are super awesome as well and are always helping me modify movements/workouts and helping me become a better athlete.

Plus, I’ll admit it – Doing a clean and jerk with some heavy weight (or heavy for me at least) and approaching the bar aggressively, making whatever noises one makes while trying to throw around weight and then literally throwing the weight to they ground – does feel good. I guess there’s a “lunk” lurking deep inside of me somewhere. 🙂

What else have I been doing since my last post?

  • I’ve run a few more training 5ks – it’s my new “go to” mileage when going for a run
  • I ran my first 10k in 1:23 (thanks for pushing me Amy S!)
  • I’ve been on the bicycle more and as the weather improves will be out more. I’ve already exceeded my Pelotonia 2013 physical fitness.
  • I’m down about 30 pounds from December

That’s about it! More to come! Watch out world – John’s accomplishing his goals slowly but surely!


The Bench


2014-03-11 19.01.36 HDRThis bench is very symbolic to me. Last week when I was on my bike for the first time in 2014 I decided to ride the Heritage Trail in Hilliard – a trail that I used to ride when I first started cycling in 2011.

I haven’t been on my bicycle since all this weight loss and working out business so I was curious to see what this would feel like. You see, at 224, I’m the lightest I’ve ever been on a bicycle. So I unload my bike, stretch and hop on to start warming up.

I head out on the trail toward Plain City and I find myself rolling along with minimal effort but I notice something different – I’m passing everyone. So I finally look down to see what speed I’m going. 17.5mph.


17.5mph? With a heart rate of 155? That can’t be right… so I decided to push a little bit – get my heart rate up. I got up to 22mph and decided I’m really pushing it for a shared use bike path. I couldn’t believe how amazing I felt. I was smiling ear to ear!

As I was buzzing down the last section of the trail I saw it in the distance and then as I passed the memories came flooding back. It was “the bench”.

This bench is one of the last places to rest before you get to the end of the trail. Many a days I would take a pause on this bench to rest, eat, and/or hydrate. I once stopped at this bench a wrote an entire blog post on my phone (though for the life of me – I can’t remember which one).

Just a few short years ago there wasn’t a time that I didn’t stop at that bench and here I was today just flying by it like it was nothing. I did stop, one last time, to snap this picture as a reminder of how far I’ve come in my journey.

It reminds me of a quote that I saw on Pinterest –

“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go just remember how far you’ve come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won and all the fears you have overcome.”

So that bench is just that for me. Though I know I have a long way to go with my fitness goals – I have come so far.

So that’s it! More later this week.

Until next time!

Goal – Run a 5k


Shamrocks and ShenanigansWow, it’s been a while since I posted! Sorry to keep you all in such suspense waiting for my next post… 🙂

Well, Sunday, March 9 I got up with my friend Jen and we ran a 5k in Ann Arbor, Michigan – Shamrocks and Shenanigans. It’s what I’ve been training for since January. It’s part of the reason I started out on this whole health kick.

John and JenSo the day arrives and as we drove to Ann Arbor I was downing cough drops to help combat this cold I’ve been fighting. We get to Ann Arbor and as we’re driving I realize – Ann Arbor is not flat. AT ALL.

You see, I’ve only been running on a treadmill and then did a “practice 5k” once at the park near my house with zero elevation. It was also about 20 degrees… much colder than my practice run. I put all these thoughts behind me and we went to go seek out some sun and to start warming up.


The gun goes off and it’s time to get this show on the road. We take some time getting over the start line but once we do we take off into a decent run. Now, being the second time I’ve run outside, I have no way of pacing myself. So I’m just trying to keep up with the pack and my friend Jen.

Suddenly we’re going down-hill. Which, being a cyclist, I knew this meant we’d have to come back up a hill at some point. Which we did, not too long after. I made it up the hill at a jog and kept going.

Then we got to the part I like to refer to as “the long eternal climb”. It was this slow climb all the way up to Michigan stadium. I had been running up to this point (over a mile) and finally my body was having none of this hill and I had to walk.

I did intervals up the hill to the top and then jogged down. I kept seeing the pace clocks and wasn’t taking into account that this was from the start and it took me two minutes to get over the line so I kept pushing myself to make up for a two minute deficit that I didn’t actually have.

Between mile two and three I kept doing intervals because there were more hills. Finally I round the corner at the bottom of a hill and I can see the 3 mile sign. As I’m approaching the 3 mile sign it is then I realize the finish line is .1 miles away – up a hill.

So I round the corner at the 3 mile sign and dig deep and just push up the hill at a run. After almost taking out a few people who bailed and walked right in front of me I made it to the top to see my friends waiting to cheer me on! Jen (who finished ahead of me) ran back out to cross the line with me.

I did it – I finished my first 5k in 39:49! My goal? Finish a 5k. My real goal? Finish my first 5k in under 40 minutes. I barely did it – but I did it!



Strava reported almost 200 feet of elevation in 3.1 miles. I kept a 12:50/mile pace which is almost two minutes faster than what I typically do on the treadmill and was a PR for me. It’s hard to believe that just two months ago I was starting Couch to 5k and struggling with just the 60 second jog intervals and I now am running a 5K in under 40 minutes. My first treadmill 5k took me almost an hour on December 28th – just to get some perspective what the program can do.

I have some posts to make up about other things but wanted to get this out there while it’s fresh on my mind! More to come this week!

Also, I know I say this almost every post but THANK YOU to everyone who is supporting me. I’ve struggled with weight loss/fitness my whole life and for the first time I actually feel like I might actually conquer it once and for all and finally be healthy! I could not have got this far without all the support my family, friends, Twitter friends, and Missy Fit Facebook support groups have given me! So thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

More soon!


March, I’m ready for you


Here I sit with only 57 minutes left in February and I realized that I’ve been absent from blogging here lately. I wanted to catch you all up on what happened with my friend Scott and while I have a post sitting in my drafts – I just haven’t had it in me to re-edit and publish it. The short version is – he’s alive, well and recovering at home from the surgery. So thank you all for your love and prayers. Eventually… I will get around to posting the whole thing.

So I realized today that it was the last day of February. My how time has flown in 2014 and I look back at the last few weeks and am pretty darn proud of my progress

  • I’ve maintained a Paleo lifestyle (using the 80/20 rule) and have been fairly consistent with my workouts minus a few unexpected hiccups along the way.
  • I’ve progressed from week 1 of Couch to 5k where I could barely run for 60 second intervals at a time to now running for 25+ minutes without walking or stopping.
  • I’ve dropped 26 pounds from my heaviest in December.
  • My clothes are actually fitting better
  • Several people have asked me if I’ve lost weight

What’s next on the agenda you should ask? Well, I have two 5k races this month and I *should* be able to get on the bike sometime this month should the weather ever decide to break (granted, the forecast for the next few days doesn’t give me any hope of that happening any time soon).

I’ve also got a few other surprises up my sleeve but if you want to know about them – you’ll have to follow me on Twitter. They’ll eventually make it to the blog for the rest of you non-Twitter people. 🙂

That’s it folks – BodPod assessment is on Monday morning (providing they’re open with the crazy weather) and I’ll be posting the updated results.


My First Big Milestone!


FitBit Badge45 days ago I set out to do one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done – to get healthy. It’s hard work (and requires a ton of dedication). I took up running to eventually use as a form of cross training for cycling and to complete some personal goals around running races. I decided that I would once again adopt the Paleo diet and this time not abandon it after 30 days. I committed to myself to be working out between 3-6 days per week. I committed to reduce my eating out and when I do to make smarter choices. There have been times where this whole “getting healthy” thing feels like a second job.

While measurements like inches lost is motivating and my clothes are starting to fit better – I’m still very tied to the scale. People don’t typically ask you the circumference of your waist when talking about your physical appearance – they ask about your weight. I’m also hyper sensitive to my eating and how it can change my weight so quickly for good or bad.

I’m happy to report – my 45 days of hard work have paid off and I’m down 20 pounds from my heaviest in December at 228. To put this into even more perspective – I now weigh less than I did at my lightest last year (Pelotonia 2013). So I’ve reached my first milestone – get under 230!

Next milestone? Get to 219. It’s a small goal but I haven’t been under 220 for at least 6 years!

Thank you all for the outpouring of support – it really does help and I couldn’t have done this alone. I’ve appreciated the pushes to encourage me to get to the gym and the great words of encouragement that everyone has offered me.

Have a great Saturday!