One year ago today my wife (Richelle) and I made the life changing decision to take over ownership of TLA and one month later we were shut down due to COVID. Uncertainty, fear, and dread washed over us as we scrambled to figure out how to continue to provide a service to our members as well as figure out how to grow in an industry that was currently on pause.
Growing up I played all the organized sports, from Lacrosse to Wrestling. I was always a physical kid running around climbing trees and riding bikes everywhere. I entered the Marine Corps right after high school and ended up stationed in San Diego. It was during my time in the Marines that I was introduced to CrossFit (2006 time frame). But it wasn’t until I deployed to Iraq that I actually started really caring about and focusing on my health and fitness. I started hitting the gym without any real understanding of what I was doing. I made some improvements and did get fitter but always felt like I was just barely making any fitness gains.
As luck would have it while in San Diego I also met and eventually married my better half. We moved back to Western Mass after my enlistment. I eventually got hired as a firefighter/EMT. I still worked out at a regular globo type gym and tried my hardest to stay in the same shape I was in as an active duty Marine.
Richelle was introduced to CrossFit by a friend and immediately made it her new fitness modality. I was still jogging on a treadmill and using leg curl machines following some random program I found on the internet. I started to see huge physical changes in her and it intrigued me to try more CrossFit style workouts. When she became pregnant with our daughter, I used that as an excuse to start CrossFitting with her. It quickly became my favorite thing to do. I started doing a few local competitions and still do currently. Though now it’s just for fun.
The CrossFit class structure and workouts reminded me of the group workouts I had done in the Marine Corps and the fact that they could be modified for everyone was awesome. But what really set my passion on fire was seeing ordinary people start accomplishing extraordinary things. Not just witnessing weight loss or strength gains but seeing a person's self confidence grow in front of my eyes. I swear I get more emotional and more excited over witnessing a new PR than I do hitting my own. It’s those moments when my WHY is reaffirmed. I need to share with others how beneficial nutrition and exercise is to their well-being. I strive to learn more and teach more and then learn some more. The more I learn the more I realize that there is so much more to learn. CrossFit has given me the ability to share my knowledge and expertise with others No matter how hard you work, no matter how smart you are, there is ALWAYS room for improvement.
Fast forward from the start of my fitness journey to roughly 13 years later, and on top of owning a great business we are also the proud parents of a wonderful little spitfire who definitely keeps us on our toes. (she loves our Crossfit Kids class too!) Making sure she learns the importance of physical fitness and living a healthy lifestyle is of great importance to us. Luckily she is naturally very active and likes to eat healthy.