Jonathan Spear


Published January 27, 2015


I was encouraged to try a 101 class at Forge by my brother-in-law. He had heard about the gym through a mutual friend. He had already done a 101 class and was thinking about joining the gym. We used to run and exercise together, and he thought it might be something I would want to do. The idea of working out in a group setting was a little intimidating for me. If you’re not in great shape, going to a gym and working out with a group of strangers is not an appealing idea. I decided it was time to make a change because I was tired of feeling overweight and inactive. Mostly, I wanted to feel better for myself, but also, I wanted my wife, Stephanie, and our daughter, Isla, to be proud of me, too.

I can’t remember everything about that first 101 class, but it was a complete disaster. We did the typical dynamic stretching: knee skips, high knees, lunges, mountain climbers, static stretching and then a warm-up. I don’t even remember what the warm-up was because after the lunges and fast-paced movements my legs were on fire. I had just done more work in 15 minutes than I had in the past 6 months, and I was really struggling. I started feeling dizzy and nauseated, and eventually, I stopped the 101 workout completely—to try and stave off the nausea.

I have never been much of a quitter so I was feeling badly about both my willpower and my health at that point. I remember looking around the gym and seeing people doing all the things that were giving me so much trouble with relative ease. I wanted to be able to do those things, and I made it my goal to be healthier—to get through the Forge workouts. Since it was a Friday, I was offered a beer, but opted for the Gatorade instead, which actually made me feel a lot better pretty quickly. Chris mentioned I probably hadn’t eaten well enough to prepare for that type of a workout, and he gave me tips on diet changes that would help me.

I took Chris’s advice seriously and limited the amount bread, pasta, dairy and sugar that I consumed. It really made a difference in the way I felt and performed during my workouts. I started going to the 5:30 a.m. class three days a week and scaled the workouts to something I could handle. After a few weeks, I felt more confident in what I was doing and started trying to push myself more and more. I also met a lot of great people in the morning classes, and I really enjoy working out with those people every day. For an introvert like me, it’s been a great experience to get to know my fellow 5:30 a.m. folks, and I feel like there is great camaraderie in our early morning workouts.

I started CrossFit in November 2013, and as of May 2014, I have lost 32lbs. In the beginning, I was losing an average of about 2lbs a week. Eventually, that weight loss reached a plateau, and I have maintained the same weight, give or take a pound, for the last couple of months. I dialed back on my diet a little after doing the Whole 30 challenge, but I still try to avoid grains, dairy and sugar as much as possible. My clothes fit better; I feel more athletic, and I am more content. Aside from the physical benefits, losing the weight and becoming more active has given me more confidence and improved my productivity at work. I also feel like a better father and husband.

If you are in the position I was in a few months ago, and you want to make a change, I highly recommend Forge. I can’t imagine a better group of people to help you move in that direction. The coaches and other members are extremely encouraging and enjoy helping others. It’s a great environment for change and improvement.

For beginners, I’ll echo some advice Chris gave me early on. Don’t pay attention to anything other than your own goals and improvement through getting a good workout. Do not worry about time, the amount of weight you are lifting, or what others are doing next to you—just have fun.

Jonathan Spear


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