Ronnie Gatrey


Published January 27, 2015


For me, the hardest part of working out at Forge is walking through that door for the first time. I’ve been a member for a little over 3 months, and I can honestly say that silencing the doubt and walking through the door was harder than any WOD I’ve ever done.

I had been a member of a local gym for almost 4 years before joining Forge. Since I wasn’t good at finding workouts, that led to me going in and doing the same thing everyday, of which my body quickly got used to. After 5 months of not going to the “other” gym, I finally decided to cancel my membership. Suddenly, I found myself at 305 pounds (yes, you read that right) struggling to put my shoes on and having to buy new pants to wear to work. I remained sedentary for a few more months not really caring about my health much. Then, my son was born. My wife had been telling me for weeks that I needed to be more serious about my weight/health, but I pretty much ignored her. She also had been encouraging me to check out a new gym in the area (Forge) that was literally a mile down the road. I eventually grew weary of her nagging and promised her that I would call. After talking to Rich, I sank even deeper in doubt. “Crossfit! I can’t do that!”, dominated my thoughts. But Rich’s energy and genuine concern for me and my newfound health goals gave me just enough encouragement to pay Forge a visit.

My first visit to Forge was something I won’t forget. Rich greeted me with a smile and a firm handshake and thanked me for stopping by. He then introduced me to Chris, who asked me about health goals. After hearing them, he looked at me and said, “Give me 3 months, and we’ll get you right!”. I didn’t believe him at all. At 305 pounds, I felt like I needed more like 3 years! We talked for a few more minutes, and then, before I knew it, I was thrown into the warm-up. The warm-up was easily the most intense workout I had done in at least 5 years. Not knowing it was the warm-up, when we were done, I headed for the door and Rich promptly reminded me that this was merely the warm-up. My shirt was drenched with sweat, and I could barely breathe…and we hadn’t even started the REAL workout yet! Seeing what terrible shape I was in, Rich advised me to start off with 101’s for beginners. After doing what felt like 5,000 squats, sit-ups, and push-ups, I rushed through the cool down and got out of there. When I got home, I fell flat on the floor. Still breathing really heavy with my face buried in the carpet, my wife asks me, “How was it?”. I quickly replied, “I’m never going back to that place!”. When I got to work the next day, I couldn’t stop thinking about my experience at Forge. Even though the soreness in my legs and arms made it pretty difficult for me stand up, sit down, walk, etc., I suddenly was ready to return to Forge for another workout. At this point I decided that there was no turning back.

What transpired during my 2nd week at Forge is what really sold me. Since I was new and terribly out of shape, it didn’t take me long to realize that I was going to finish my workouts well after everyone else. Well, one night during that 2nd week, I found myself approaching the end of a WOD. Everyone else had finished, and I felt like I had nothing left in the tank. I kept telling myself, “There’s no way I’m going to finish”. With my hands on my hips, I took a really deep breath and looked up at the ceiling, and before I knew it, one of the members (Cory Jackson) who had already finished their WOD approached me and asked how many sit-ups I had left. Not giving me a chance to answer, he gets down on the floor and says, “I’ll do them with you”. Visibly shocked, I had no choice but to fall on the floor and start knocking out the 50 remaining sit-ups. I closed my eyes and gave it everything I had. Halfway through the 50 remaining sit-ups, I decided to open my eyes and rest for a few seconds. When I opened my eyes, I noticed that the whole class had huddled around me and started rooting me on. I dug really deep and breezed through the last 25 sit-ups. When I finished, the place erupted! I was congratulated with high fives and fist bumps. Not only did this make me feel right at home, but it made me feel like I could do anything. Knowing that everyone in there is rooting for you and wants to see you improve is what Forge is all about. This is what I love the most about Forge.

After 3 months, I’m 20+ pounds lighter and a lot stronger. My clothes fit a lot better, but most importantly, I feel SO MUCH BETTER! The thing that keeps me coming back to Forge is easily the community feel that permeates through the gym. From the coaches to the athletes, I’ve been engulfed in encouragement and support. Chris and Rich are devoted to helping athletes fulfill their highest potential. They are extremely patient and stress proper form, as they understand that most people are unfamiliar with a lot of the lifts and exercises.

I am truly blessed to be a member of Forge Fitness.

Ronnie Gatrey


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