My journey for a better and healthier life started in June of 2016. I had just moved out of living with my Ex-girlfriend and was the heaviest I had ever been. At that point in time was when I knew I needed a positive change in my life. The idea of starting Crossfit started when I would talk to my older brother about once a week on the phone to catch up on his life adventures in Wisconsin. He would always talk about the Crossfit gym that he goes to and how he thought I might really like it. At the time, joining a Crossfit gym seemed like a bad idea because I was not confident in my endurance, plus I was still looking for the location of my new home (there’s always some excuse, right?).
With the idea of joining a Crossfit gym in the back of my mind, I started running 3 to 4 days a week and slowly lost about 15 lbs and improved my 5k time to about 22 minutes. I would do a little bit of lifting on the side but I didn’t have much access to any equipment. After about 4 months of living out of moving boxes and bags, I finally bought my first condo in the south end of Clintonville in October. I knew that once I got settled in, I just needed to find my niche to fit in my new community. It was late November when I finally unpacked most of my belongings and it was the first week of December when I started going to Crossfit 101. I felt like a pretty athletic 27 year old at the time but quickly left my first class thinking that I still had a long way to go before I reached my goals. I also remember hating the fact that I couldn’t do one strict pull up and that there is an evil crossfit movement called double unders.
I remember the first time that I really got acquainted with the CFC community. I had just finished 101 and was able to go to maybe one 6:30 class before the annual Christmas party. I wanted to meet some of the current members at CFC, so I figured the Christmas party might be a great way to do so. As the night went on, I started meeting some new friends in Katie, Nicki, Bridget, Lawrence, Sema, Lois, and Nick. A few of us even went out for drinks after the party and CFC was beginning to feel like the positive change that I needed.
In late December, the Veatch family likes to take an annual vacation, so my goal for vacation was to be in better shape than my brother. I already had the height advantage, the longer legs, and could beat him in pretty much every sport growing up (Sorry Kyle). All I wanted to do was beat him in a 2-mile run and be able to do more push-ups than him. Long story- short, I failed miserably in both aspects. Once I came back from vacation, I was more motivated than ever to become a “fitter Colin”.
It was exciting to walk back into the gym after vacation with everyone saying “where have you been, we thought you quit?”. One of those first classes back I remember having no idea what was going on and Nick giving me some guidance on some of the weights and percentages that he was using. Fortunately for me, I was comfortable using the same weights and percentages. WOD after WOD I caught myself posting my weights and my times on the APP and Nick and I always seemed to be right next to each other in ranking. We would usually partner up for warmups or partner WOD’s and we would push each other throughout the workout. I seem to always push myself to another level when there some extra support or when there is competition involved, so festivus was definitely on my list of things to do. Once I heard about the partner festivus, it was only natural that nick and I “go together like ****** and waffles”. Just watch the movie to fill in the blank.
It was early 2016 and my wife (Hi Katie!) came home one day frustrated after a workout at her gym. She told me that she wanted to try out this thing called Crossfit, but wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t make fun of her for joining some sort of fitness cult and to see if I wanted to join with her. I laughed and told her I wasn’t interested, but also had no intention of making jokes. She immediately loved it. She would come home and talk about how awesome everyone was, who she had partnered with on something called a “wawd”, and the new PR she might have hit. The other change I started to notice was this question that seemed to reverberate off the walls of our home: “So when are you joining CFC?” “I think you’d really like it, do you want me to sign you up?” “Are you going to join this week?” My response was always the same, “No, I’m glad you enjoy it so much, but I’m good”.
My reasons for not joining at the time were two-fold: 1. I had recently started a new workout and was making steady gains and wanted to see how far I could go and 2. I had an impinged vertebrae injury and was worried about reinjuring myself. Fast forward to the fall of 2016 and my gains had plateaued, not only that but I had successfully been compromising with myself on cardio over the last few years and what had started as “run 2 miles and then lift” became “run 2 laps and lift”. On top of that, earlier in the year my doctor suggested I lose 20 lbs (I actually laughed at her when she said 20, because my blood pressure was in the pre-hypertension range (thanks dad). I realized that I needed to make a significant change in both my fitness and nutrition if I was going to improve my health. Katie and I had a vacation planned in September and I told her that when we get back I wanted to sign-up for Crossfit 101 and finally check out CFC; she had never stopped raving about it so I figured I could at least check it out and if I hated it at least I know I tried, right?
I’ll never forget the feeling of being incredibly humbled in my first 101 session. Mere minutes into the class Marissa asks “So who can do pull ups?”, I laughed to myself and thought “Oh man, I’m going to crush this”. I told her that I do pull-ups all the time and she told me to do 5. So I hop up on the rig and start going, I start to hear “Nope. Lower. Get higher. Nope. Lower. Nope.” I got down and she explained the range of motion involved in a correct pull-up. Then she had me get back up on the rig to try again; I think I got 2. Having that experience made me reevaluate and scrutinize every “skill” or lift form that I had come in thinking I had down pat. Once I began coming to classes the thing I found most refreshing was that every coach in the gym stressed technique and form over everything. Sure, I dropped by back squat 5 rep max by nearly 50 lbs at first, but I didn’t have a sore back for 5 days after doing squats. I went from alternating weeks doing a day of squats or deadlifts, because that was all my back could handle, to doing Wendler where I did some sort of squat or deadlift nearly every day of the week and with back feeling fine. It felt amazing.
While the fitness portion of the gym was nice, I’ve worked out in many different gyms, and the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones where I had people around me that I had fun working out with. The people I had heard so many stories about, Kelly, Lawrence, Val, Dennis…became my workout partners and gym buddies. I even started going to different class times and meeting more amazing people and coaches. One thing I love most about our gym in particular is how uplifting it is to be struggling through a WOD and having everyone who is done cheer you on. Some days you’re the one cheering earliest and loudest, other days you need people to be loud for you as you fight to finish that last rep. I knew coming in that I would be getting a good workout, what I didn’t expect to find was the great community of people that make the gym what it is today.
Colin joined the gym a few months after me and since we were pretty close strength-wise, we would partner up frequently for strength WODs. Over time it became clear that we weren’t partnering up just because our PRs are close, we partnered up because I think we both do a great job of pushing each other in every WOD while still having fun. I remember the day Colin got his first bar muscle up, cheering him on, while I can think of a number of times when I was finishing a set or attempting a PR and Colin would be the one next to me pushing me to finish strong. Once talk of Festivus began, I wasn’t sure about signing up until Colin said he was interested and then I agreed to be his partner. Now all we needed was team name. We had a “short list” of about 15 names, however based on the enduring legacy of a motion picture about a fictional paragon of NASCAR and some truly breathtaking uniforms, team Shake n’ Bake was formed. Since registering we’ve been working hard to get ready and are excited to compete in our first competition.
“If you smell a delicious and crispy smell after the WOD, it’s not your METCONs burnin’, it’s SHAKE n’ BAKE”