Sunday, 29 November 2009

Jerry's Story

Jerry started CrossFit this summer weighing 370 lbs. At this point, he suffered from an enlarged heart, was pre-diabetic, and had very high blood pressure. Jerry wanted to live to see his two young boys grow up to be men. Unfortunately, his health made it seem unlikely that he would be healthy long enough to do so.

Had Jerry entered most gyms as his pre-CrossFit self, scarcely able to walk, most trainers would not have known what to do. But Jerry showed up at Kenny Castro’s gym, CrossFit Ranch. CrossFit Ranch is at the forefront of the CrossFit community in terms of training substantially overweight clients. On Jerry’s first day, Kenny had to take him by the hand to get him to walk 250m to warm up.

What a difference 5 months of dedicated effort can make. Last Saturday, Jerry rowed 1000 meters. Jerry then carried a 35 lb. kettlebell and 45 lb. bar up the near-vertical Aromas hill for 300 meters. Jerry lifted the barbell upright and placed it into two weight plates. With his hands free of the barbell, he performed 30 kettlebell swings. Then, Jerry carried both these implements back down the hill.

Jerry fought through this torturous order of events for three rounds. He finished this workout, known as the Mount Suribachi Challenge, in one hour and 59 minutes, and 59 seconds.

Jerry’s achievements are not confined to one day of effort. He has lost 75 lbs. while gaining a substantial amount of muscle. Performance-wise, Jerry has raised his deadlift from 220 lbs. to 360 and increased his press from 65 lbs. to 160 lbs. Whereas he once could only run 25 yards at a time, he can now run over half a mile without stopping. You can read more about his experience with CrossFit at his blog, A View from the Plus Size.

Does anybody think that Jerry is not right for CrossFit? If a 43 year old, 370 lb. man can become an exemplary CrossFitter, then we cannot rule any person out based on age, weight, or any other elitist criteria we may think of. CrossFit is hard, but for most people, life is harder. Millions of people will choose to work hard in the gym if we show them that CrossFit is a good investment of their time.

Let me repeat this point for emphasis: We cannot rule out anyone as a potential CrossFitter, regardless of the individual’s current appearance or fitness level. The objection that people make to CrossFit’s expansion is often borne of elitist insecurity: “CrossFit’s not for people like that.” But now that you know about Jerry, you know that’s not true.

Reaching the masses is the right thing to do for our gyms, our country, and our conscience. We will have much more success as CrossFit trainers if we follow Kenny’s example and open our doors to the majority of Americans that are overweight. It should sicken us as Americans that so many of our fellow citizens are poisoning themselves to early graves. It is wrong to keep to ourselves when we have knowledge that can save our neighbors lives.


Kit said...

Great story! Whats the status of the pre-diabetes now? With nutrition, you can beat it and win. My father is doing it now. With in 2 weeks of starting at CrossFit KoP, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. He the healthiest he's been in years, and in better shape/more capable of anything hes been able to do in years. He deadlifted 205# today...a 65# pr . My dad is 63, he is the oldest man in the box, and he swears by CrossFit. Talk about inspiring. Keep it up Jerry and Dad!

bushokie said...

its pass diabetes thanks to crossfit and paleo....i hope more crossfits open there gyms and experience so more plus size people can benefit the same way i was able to .... i know every crossfit workout can be structured so everyone can benefit,and in the end helping someone get healthy leaves the teacher and the student with lifelong rewards..

Jay Ashman said...

excellent story as to the power of CrossFit. Good job, Jerry and keep it up!

Samantha Nicole said...

AMAZING story. The power of health. The decision to live. How inspiring :) Best of luck to him in the future! And I hope all of America gets to hear his story!

Whitney said...

I love where you said that Crossfit is hard, but life is harder. I found this story to be such an inspiration because I feel tougher and ready to face more challenges in my life because of Crossfit. Not because I can deadlift more than I can weigh, but because I never thought that would be possible for me and now it is. I can apply that principle to so many things in my life and face my challenges head on, knowing that I can achieve goals that I set for myself (no matter what other pre-conceived notions people may have about me). This is such an amazing and inspiring story and I think that many crossfitters can find parallels in their own lives!

Serge said...

The rest of the world needs to see that there are no excuses for not being able to start Crossfit. The scalability and positive impact it has had on the wide variety of people who have come from all different backgrounds is clear and apparent. Breaking society's laziness and lack of motivation will better themselves. Something that reminded me of this over the weekend was a friend of mine mentioned that work was very much a grind and not very cerebral. We do not challenge our minds and therefore we do not challenge our bodies. We are exhausted by busy work through the day and a lack of individualism and self accomplishment is diminished. Breaking this laziness would not only lead to society's laziness on a physical level, but on intellectual innovation as well.

Anonymous said...

I have been "overweight" my whole life....and guess what I too love crossfit. For the first time in 29yrs i have a relationship with my body and have come to realize i enjoy using it!

Awesome jerry!!


Gordo said...

I am glad you are making the effort to reach out to everyone. I still remember our experience together at a Level 2 a while back. Your comments have kept me inspired in spite of not passing the event. Keep up the good work.