Life gets in the way. We have many commitments or we just don’t believe in ourselves enough to get started. We’ve heard about CrossFit or watched the high-level athletes on TV at the CrossFit Games and it intimidates us. Many people come through our doors thinking they have to be in shape prior to joining. Making a lifestyle change is a scary thing. It requires us to get out of our comfort zone and into the unknown. As we mentioned in our first bootcamp article, “society leads us to believe instant gratification, like major weight loss, is achievable in a short period of time.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes time. It takes hard work and commitment, and keeping excuses and negative self-talk on a short leash. We don’t think about how long it took us to get out of shape, or how long we have been eating poorly, and that it just might take the same amount of time — if not longer — to lose what we gained and get back on track. If you’re tired of feeling tired, out of shape, or incapable of most day-to-day tasks, it’s time to take back your health and well-being back. Two of our bootcamp alum have done just that and are willing to share their experiences in hopes it will motivate someone else to take that first step back to a healthy life.
John Kimes decided to join Bootcamp 17.1 and ended up sticking with 17.2 and 17.3, too. Once those three six-week sessions were over, he made the jump to our Function class, which is usually the next step after bootcamp. John served in a key role in the building and opening of the new Pabst Milwaukee Brewery and even with working 12-14 hour days to ensure that work results were achieved, he made the time for his personal fitness goals.
Just like John, Leah O’Gorman also decided to join all three bootcamps and has continued with small group training at Badger CrossFit. Leah’s youngest child is going through chemotherapy, and while we all know it isn’t cheap and the emotional rollercoaster her family is going through isn’t easy, she still makes her health and fitness a priority. Having to keep it together as a mom and wife on top of having a family business would make it easy for the average person to say they don’t have time for this. Not Leah- no matter how exhausted she is she still makes the time to take care of herself during this difficult time.
John and Leah were part of our latest bootcamp class of 15 athletes. Together the group lost 68.8 pounds, 85.5 inches, 23.2 percent body fat and 11.5 off of their total body mass index at the end of six weeks. Since joining in January, John lost close to 30 pounds and 17.25 inches while Leah lost close to 20 pounds and 15.75 inches! They hope to inspire those thinking of joining the Bootcamp 17.4 or Function classes.
What was your fitness background prior to bootcamp?
John: Over the last few years, I was a regular at a large chain gym, floundering around doing my own thing. Occasionally doing some classes, but never really found something that excited me and pushed me. So I would show up, sweat a bit, and go on with my day, but never really saw results.
Leah: I have never been “sporty” or athletic or really even active. Before bootcamp, I had worked out on machines at the Y and played around on MyFitnessPal on and off for a few years with no real progress. I had fancy equipment at home, too. But any little thing derailed me from using them. It was boring. It didn’t do much for me. And I really had no clue what I was doing anyway. I thought using MyFitnessPal to restrict my calories would give me this miraculous slim down, but aside from not losing weight, it really just exacerbated my cravings because I was so concentrated on what I couldn’t have.
What held you back before (in regards to fitness/nutrition)?
John: I think the largest issue for me is time… As I’ve gotten older and have more responsibilities with work, home, and family, it is easy or even expected to prioritize the needs of these responsibilities ahead of “personal time/me time.” The other main driver is just not having the information. There’s so much “noise” about what is good, what is bad, what is a fad, how you should actually be training, what not to eat, what foods will immediately kill you upon consumption… How do you break it all down and figure it out on your own? Most of us don’t have that kind of time… see reason #1.
Leah: After over a year of doing nothing, I was feeling fat, lazy, and really just kind of awful. I was sore all the time. Even sleeping gave me aches and pains. I felt unhealthy. I felt gross. And it had nothing to do with how I looked. (I’m lucky to have a husband who finds me deliriously attractive no matter what state I’m in.) I just wanted to feel better. I felt like I might be approaching a point of no return. The exercise I had been comfortable with doing had failed me. I felt like I needed something drastic to wake me up.
What was the catalyst to make the decision to join your first bootcamp?
John: I felt old, tired, unmotivated, out of sync, unconnected, fat. I was investing all my time and energy into things that produced tangible positive results for my company and those around me, but I wasn’t taking the time to recharge my own inner battery and reinvest some time and energy back into myself. One evening, I was wasting time on Facebook and saw a banner for Badger CrossFit bootcamp, I signed up thinking it would be a good way to claim some time back for myself. It was new, different from what I had done before, and it was a good way to spend some time on me when it was cold and dark outside on Wisconsin winter evenings.
Leah: I googled “Wauwatosa bootcamp exercise” and Badger CrossFit came up. It was mid-December and the bootcamp started beginning of January. I have to be honest and say that I thought people who did CrossFit were crazy meatheads I had nothing in common with. I thought only superfit people who do nothing but exercise would be in the bootcamp with me. But I wanted a kick in the butt, right? So I joined anyway, thinking it might kill me, but willing to give it my best shot anyway. From the first day, it was obvious how wrong I had been. Everyone was nice, but not in that annoying impersonal polite way. They were funny and self-deprecating and helpful and there was a lot of teamwork. I would look at the demonstrations of what we were supposed to do and think there was no way I could do it, but a few minutes later I’d be doing it.
What was the most difficult challenge you’ve overcome during bootcamp?
John: Getting over the mental block of “what if I can’t do it.” Self doubt. You see other athletes in the gym and it’s easy to make comparisons on what stage someone is in on their journey, but once you can make the realization that we are all going to be at different levels,it doesn’t matter as long as we are all pushing ourselves to be better and help others to move forward as well.
Leah: The surprising thing was that I really enjoyed it. I hadn’t expected that. I felt really accomplished and proud after every single workout. I was horribly sore a lot of the time, but it felt good. I never thought that was possible. I had fun. I scoff and complain and joke a lot, but I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really really difficult, but it’s rewarding and so worth it.
I had no intention of following the nutrition part of the bootcamp. I figured it would be some drastic diet I’d have to stick with forever and my love of food wouldn’t allow that. At the last second, I decided to go all in and do it anyway. It was only 30 days. I’m very glad I did it. I learned a lot about what I was putting in my body and it’s changed me forever. Still no diet, just better eating habits and a knowledge of foods that make me feel terrible.
What keeps you going now bootcamp has ended and you decided to join Function MKE/small group at Badger?
John: We’ve made friends, we’ve found out how good it feels to push ourselves further and to test and break through what we thought were our limits. Simple enough, I see and feel the results. The workouts are always changing so they don’t get monotonous.
Leah: In 6 months at Badger, I lost over 20lbs. I’ve gone down two clothing sizes. There are actually muscles in my upper arms. Before I started, I thought having near constant body aches and pains were a normal part of rapidly approaching 40. But I don’t have stitches or cricks or random aches anymore. Apparently, I was using my body and muscles wrong my entire life. Now I’m learning better.
What has been the biggest surprise since making a positive lifestyle change?
John: I wouldn’t really call it a surprise, but just the sustained energy, dropping almost 30 pounds, finding a place where I actually enjoy working out, even though the WOD (Workout of the Day) may be a bit intimidating before you are working through it. Really the biggest surprise is how I WANT to sustain what I’m doing and what I’ve accomplished.
Leah: I’m addicted to the camaraderie and the accomplishment and the challenge. I want to keep coming back. I like when my muscles are sore and I know I’ve done a good job. The part I’m still working on is being okay with being last. It’s okay to take longer on the workouts or to have a really hard time on one particular skill. There’s no shame in a scaleback or substitution from your trainer. I am becoming okay with the idea of competing against myself and not holding myself up to other people.
Advice to people nervous about starting bootcamp?
John: Come with an open mind, drop any preconceived ideas about what the people or the workout or the experience will be like. It is all about you and what you want to get out of it.
Leah: If you are thinking of trying bootcamp or even just CrossFit in general, I’d say it’s going to go a lot better than you think. No one there is going to look down on you. The best you can do is try. There’s nothing to lose but a few weeknights watching TV. Why not give it a shot? If you don’t like it, you’re done in 6 weeks.
John and Leah have proven that taking a chance on themselves turned out to be a positive, healthy lifestyle change and that there is no better time to make a change than now. By taking a risk on something they were unsure of, the reward paid off more than they could imagine.
Our next bootcamp begins on Monday, Sept. 18, and spots are filling up fast. Click here to find out more and reserve your spot today: https://www.badgercrossfit.com/programs/bootcamp/