My first recorded Crossfit class was on 1/2/12 (January 2, 2012). Before joining I had been involved as an instructor and competitor in Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing. Shortly after achieving my teaching certifications and black belt, I sustained an injury to my left shoulder during a tournament which pretty much ended my career. After surgery and over 8 months of rehabilitation, I tried getting back into just the workout aspect of it, but it was difficult to go there without someone hounding me to compete again. Sadly, it got to a point where I just had to walk away. For about 3 years I struggled to find a workout that would satisfy me and make me want to go every day. I don't remember how I discovered Crossfit, but I knew that it looked like something I would love. Once I decided to join, I set a goal for myself to get my MMA body back as I was now over 220lbs and a size 36" waist. But I had also been hearing about events such as the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Spartan Race etc. I put it in my mind that I would choose the one that seemed most challenging for me and gave myself a timeframe in which I wanted to feel like I was in shape for one. In my mind, I told myself that I needed one full year of Crossfit training before I even feel like I'm ready to go for it.
The first few months were extremely challenging and yet the most fun I've ever had in a workout and that includes the Strongman Classes. I was seeing some pretty good results in the mirror, but most importantly, I was regaining confidence in myself because of what I was accomplishing in class. Things that I'd never thought I'd ever do, or do again as a result of my injury, were becoming almost daily achievements. That feeling of accomplishment alone carries you throughout your day and week.
A few months in I was introduced to my first Paleo Challenge. Surprisingly with my extensive background in the health and fitness industry, I couldn't remember ever hearing about The Paelo Diet before. Once I learned what it was, I was 100% committed to doing it. I have to say, the first week or so I was having withdrawal dreams but I quickly found it giving me some results. By following the diet, I noticed changes in my waistline and energy level very early. Results are addicting! The 40 days that I had to stay in that competition were probably the biggest turning point for me. I found the diet much more simpler than people were saying it was and by that I mean it was simple to follow and stay with. I found myself not only planning my meals out better, I was also planning out may day and week in a much more organized way. I noticed my mood had changed for the better. I would have sustained energy throughout the day without the help of extra caffeine. The list goes on and I believe it's all because of eating clean and being religious with my Crossfit. .
Not only am I surprised to accomplish things I never thought I'd do such as handstand push-ups, muscle-ups on the rings or bar, or anything that requires me lifting something over my head without pain such as a keg or a barbell, I'm surprised at the rate in which I'm accomplishing these goals. I feel that by being committed and being consistent with my training and diet, I've been achieving goals far ahead of the deadlines I have set out for them to be achieved
As a result, I took first place in the men's division the Paleo Challenge in the Spring of 2012 and I participated in my first Tough Mudder well before the one year or more deadline I had set for myself. According to the Tough Mudder website, the average participant finishes the 12 mile, 26 obstacle course in 3 hours. I finished it in 2 hours and 35 minutes and RAN the entire time. This is not something I could've done before and this is not something I expected to be doing so soon.
Within the first 6 months of doing Crossfit, I was able to see results that I don't think I ever saw in the 11 years of kickboxing and MMA I did. Today I can proudly say that I have lost over 46lbs and am wearing size 30"waist jeans! I'm a at weight I haven't been since high school and I feel like I'm just getting started. And if this is just the beginning for me, I can't wait to see what the future holds at Crossfit Long Island. I've never received so many compliments on how I look as I do now, even from complete strangers. When it comes to my health and fitness, I always followed the philosophy that if you want as others have you must do as other do. I used to be the guy that would go up and ask people who were in great shape how they did it and what their secret was. Now I'm getting a taste of what it's like to be on the other side of that as I find more and more people asking me those questions.
But the most important thing for me is feeling like I regained my confidence. Every day that I come to class, whether or not I hit a new personal record or complete a workout as prescribed, I keep in mind that it's never truly about that. I may not be the competitive type that many people seem to be in class. I may not be the fastest, strongest, most agile or accomplished person here. That's perfectly fine because that's not what I came here to achieve. This is only a competition with myself to do better. The only person I have to be better than is the guy I was yesterday.
Every failure is a success here. If there are things you can't do the first try or the first 10 tries, every time you attempt to get better helps you get stronger and you find yourself getting in shape without even realizing how much all the times you failed have actually worked in your favor.
-Dennis Monkey Boy Keeley