– Jackie Abreu-Hill
– Jackie Abreu-Hill
Turning 40 wasn’t a crisis for me, more of a checkpoint. I realized that my body had much more potential and I needed to be more active. I have always had a busy life, working as a restaurant manager, and raising my kids, but I had never consistently exercised. My daughter is 5 and my son is 8, and I wanted them to grow up knowing that exercise is part of our life and daily routine. I started running and after getting Achilles tendonitis, looked into Airrosti soft tissue therapy. Dr. Matt Arnold worked wonders on my tendonitis and suggested a coach for me, Bryan Diaz.
I started working with Bryan in September of 2011. The CrossFit workouts were (and are) the hardest work I have ever done, and also the most satisfying. After changing my diet to Paleo in January of this year, I have lost 20 pounds and counting, and have so much more energy. I pay much more attention to the ingredients in food and eat things with all natural ingredients. I feel stronger than I have in my entire life, and I am in excellent overall health. My most recent physical was so great that my doctor took me off my blood pressure medication I had been on for the past 5 years. I have run three half marathons this year (improving my time by 34:00), and am on track to run two more before year’s end.
Bryan’s training, the Paleo food plan, and CrossFit have improved every aspect of my life. I feel healthy and strong, and that translates into everything I do. My husband and kids see the difference in my energy and mindset, and now they are runners as well. My husband ran his first half marathon with me in June and my kids love to participate in fun runs. My goal is to run 5 half marathons a year, and continue with my CrossFit training four days a week, with two days of running per week, and one rest day.
The results I am seeing keep me determined to do my best at every workout. When I get tired and think I can’t do any more, my mind goes back to that before picture. When I started, I looked and felt sluggish and tired. Now, I visualize myself succeeding in my workouts and races. I realize I can make it happen.
– Carla Singer
Lisa, Maddie, and Becky are all members of the 7:15 pm class. They each decided to take the jump and compete in the 2012 CrossFit Open that recently finished. We caught up with them to see how they came to this point in their CrossFit experience:
1. When did you begin CrossFit? Why?
Becky: It was in late September 2011. Maddie and I were recovering from a night of indulgence and decided that we’d had enough. We’d seen the people running around in the heat of summer near El Rey and wondered what the hell they were up to.
Maddie: After 12 years of smoking one day I decided enough was enough. I saw a car drive by that had a CrossFit sticker on it, so I googled it and in September 2011 I found myself at Pin Up on a Saturday morning taking my intro class with Charlie.
Lisa: I checked out crossfit.com and knew it was something I would want to do and I began Crossfit in late February 2011.
2. When did you “Drink the Kool-Aid? (become addicted!)
Becky: The Kool-Aid was drunk the minute I finished a Tabbatta (sp?) of air squats with Charlie during our intro class.
Maddie: I think after all of my 5:30 AM basic classes were over and I got to sleep in and do CrossFit at 7:15 PM, I totally started binge drinking the Kool-Aid. The 7:15ers welcomed us like we had always been in their class.
Lisa: My boyfriend Bob says I was addicted before I even started. I think I was addicted early in the basic classes!
3. What is a personal goal you have achieved and are most proud of since you started? How did you get there?
Becky: the kipping pull-up. I told myself at the intro class that i was going to be able to do pull-ups very very soon. So, in less than two months after beginning CF i was doing kipping pull-ups without any assistance.
Maddie: I decided one day that I was going to try to run the whole loop without stopping and push through the pain. I tried it a couple of times, and I would mentally give up on myself. After the third attempt I ran all three miles without stopping and I have been doing it ever since. If someone would have told me a year ago I would be running a loop at Memorial I would have told them that they are INSANE!
Lisa: I am excited that I can do kipping and chest to bar pull-ups (started with the green band), though I can’t do a lot of them in a row, yet! Recently I was able to do handstand push-ups by working at it after every WOD.
4. There are rumors that Maddie and Becky haven’t missed a class since they began CrossFitting…is this true? How do you do it!?
Becky: Yes, I do believe that Maddie and I have not missed a class since we began CF. The reason why is because first of all, I spend a whole lot of beer money on this program so I am not willing to waste that by skipping or missing days. Secondly, we’ve made this a priority in our lives. We work around our CF schedule. It has become part of our daily routine….Eat, Sleep, Work, CrossFit.
Maddie: I see and feel improvements every time I come to class. If I missed one class I would totally be cheating myself!
5. What made you decide to compete in the 2012 CrossFit Open? Was it a good decision?
Becky: So when it came time this year to sign up for the OPEN i didn’t even hesitate to consider doing it. I never once thought that i would be a contender necessarily given my short time with CF thus far but i did not care. I just wanted to do it. And yes, it was a great decision. It’s helped me learn how to evaluate myself athletically as well as remind me that this sport is all about how much you really want it for yourself.
Maddie: Lisa and Becky wanted to do the open, and I was totally on the fence, but I totally wanted to be a part of it. At the meeting they both told me to do it, and Charlie said the same thing. I signed up and paid for it that night so that I couldn’t back out, best decision ever.
Lisa: Competing in the games was a way for me to get a better handle on how I was doing. I am so happy that I did it as it has helped me understand what I am capable of, which is a lot more than I thought! I didn’t always do prescribed weights in WODs because I didn’t have the confidence that I could do it, but now I am testing my limits more in every WOD.
6. What advice would you give others about competing in the Open or even other local competitions?
Becky: Advice for others? Well, just like the advice Charlie gave us….if you’re thinking about doing it, DO IT. You won’t know how well you perform under pressure, excitement and the rush of adrenaline until you do. It’s different than our regular WODs to because you push yourself to new heights.
Maddie: if you are scared to do any sort of competition because you don’t think you can do it, don’t be lame, JUST DO IT!!! You have no idea what you are capable of doing until you are in that type of atmosphere
Lisa: Go for it! You don’t know what you can really do until you really try and competitions make me step it up a notch, especially the Open.
7. Who is your favorite super hero?
Becky: I’m going to have to go with the HULK, not HOGAN, but as in the Incredible Hulk. The dude who would bust out of his clothes when he was provoked and turn in to a muscly giant and save the day. I like that guy.
Maddie: I think Spider Man would totally be able to do kipping pull ups without chalking up or ripping his hands! Lucky bastard!!
Lisa: I don’t really have a favorite super hero but Jayna, one of the Wonder Twins, comes to mind. Jayna can transform into any animal, whether real, mythological, indigenous to Earth or to some other planet and can do anything!
Fast forward to my fourth month into my new cross fit life style….I haven’t lost a pound still tipping the scale at 190lbs. Ugh! I started thinking it was time to step up my workout and start thinking about the way I’ve been eating and how it’s affected my body. So once again, with the help and encouragement from the coaches, I decided to add cross fit endurance to my workout plan. Now my mind was on overdrive and I started to think that I was crazy. I’m not a runner by any means and I’ve been battling asthma my entire life. I never let the asthma stop me from doing anything I wanted to do, although it did slow me down. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive my first day of cross fit endurance, so I talked to my coaches, Bryan and Ashley. One very important nugget that you should know: your cross fit coaches have a very special skill in seeing your full potential and not your limitations. My initial talk with Bryan went some thing like this, “Hi Bryan, I want to sign up for the cross fit endurance class, but there are a few things you need to know. I’m a horrible runner and I’ve battled asthma all my life, but I want to run a 10k without stopping.” Bryan, a guy with over flowing confidence and street toughness said, “Don’t worry Greg, I’ll have you running a 10k in 6 week and a half marathon in 12 weeks.” I’m still not sure where that half marathon notion came from, but if he said I could do it, I was willing to take on the challenge!
To make the long story short, 6 weeks into my endurance class, I was able to run the Houston Turkey Trot 10k, my very first race! I never stopped and I finished the 10k in 73 minutes. By the end of the 12 weeks endurance class, I could run a 5k in 30 minutes, run approximately 10 miles in 1hour and 45 minutes and I lost 15lbs. I’m looking back over those 12 weeks and I still can’t believe it. I’m not the fastest runner, but I’ve built up the endurance and confidence I needed to sign up for the Warrior Run in March. I’m on the move!
It’s almost been a year since I began cross fit and so many things in my life have changed. I’ve lost 15 lbs. and have a new goal of losing 15lbs. more. I’m able to run longer and faster then I’ve ever been able to do before. I have so much more energy and I feel stronger and healthier then I have felt in the last 15 years.
My business as a sports massage therapist is helping people to achieve their body, health and fitness goals. I’ve become a better massage therapist to my cross fit clients because of my own experience with BCCF. I know the needs and goals my clients have as ‘cross fitters’ and I possess the knowledge and skills needed to help them stay healthy while they achieve their cross fit goals.
Bayou City Cross Fit has similar goals. The coaches are dedicated to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals, no matter how long it takes. They have helped me get this far….and it’s just the beginning. My goals are to run a full marathon, dead left 400lbs, do a muscle up, and run a six minute mile. With the help and encouragement I receive from my coaches, family and friends, I can’t fail. Remember, when you surround yourself with world class people you become a world class person and then there is no such thing as an unrealistic goal, just an unrealistic time frame. Thanks to all my friends at Bayou City Cross Fit.
As a kid, since I learned to walk I was always running around, athletic and involved in sports. Right around my 30th birthday for some reason just I stopped being active. At that time I weighed about 170, worked out with SWAT officers and was in the best shape of my life. Fast forward to December 2010. I was weighing in at 236, it was hard to tie my shoes, I sweated just from going upstairs to my bedroom, I friggin waddled. In short, physically I just felt and looked horrible. I was wondering who that guy in the mirror was, because it … was .. not … me. My friend Jason Schuren was doing xfit at Bayou City Crossfit around that time and he looked fitter than I had ever seen him, and we’ve been friends for almost 25 years. Through BCC he had lost about 20 lbs., so I asked him about xfit and he said to do it, for sure. People say this all the time, but it really was one of the best decisions I ever made. Ten months into the program I’ve lost 35 pounds and people just keep telling me how good I’m looking. I’m going to see the south side of 200 again for the first time in over five years. My wife laughs at me because she can pants me with my jeans buttoned. I look forward to xfit every single session. No lie. The Bayou City Crossfit culture makes that easy. My coach and classmates are awesome. I still remember how self-conscious I was walking up for the first time, this fat P.O.S. wondering if xfit could really help. I’m a pretty shy dude at first. A big part of staying with it was the non-judgmental welcoming and acceptance of the coach and the class, and the continuing encouragement. Never underestimate how much that helps someone, never. They may not even visibly respond to it, but it sinks in deep and keeps you going. Kristian Montoya has been my coach since day one. I am sure all the coaches rock, but Kristian is a very high caliber instructor, and I never say things like that lightly. He pays attention, pushes, listens, recommends, encourages, works you to your ability (plus some) and he doesn’t give up on you. I think if I could give anyone any advice it would be to just get out there, get out of your envelope and try something new and meet some people. They’re all great people. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s going to hurt, but you won’t mind, not really. Also, always go, even if you’re injured. It keeps you in the game and the instructors can work around any injury you have. The only times I don’t go are when I’m bed ridden with some deathly illness, or if my family or friends really need me. If fear or “can’t” gets in your brain, go online and check out Team Hoyt. Those guys demonstrate how you can move mountains through sheer will (the mental battles are as hard or harder than the physical challenges). My favorite part though is my 2-year old Mari who likes to get down on the floor and roll with me on my foam roller as I work out the knots. No lie, it’s awesome. Thank you BCC, Vic, Kristian and my classmates, and always my wife for her support, thank you all so much. I can’t wait to hit 170 again.
Tanner DeBettencourt, Old School to New School
Being an athlete my entire life and a gym rat in highschool, I thought I was “fit” already. I would run after every beach muscle session and eat the government’s recommended 11 servings of breads and grains a day. That all changed when I began Crossfit.
I started Crossfit in September of 2009 because my baseball coach at the time, Charlie Johnson, wanted someone to go with him. He told me that it was insane and said if it was as crazy as it sounded it would be a great way to get into better shape and take the “puff” off of me before going off to play college baseball. When we first got to the box I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was nonstop. I was used to lifting, take a ten minute break, lift some more, and then another break. This was a whole new territory for me. I immediately began getting intimidated, especially after seeing this huge dude with tattoos all over his back and shoulders working out, Charlie and I looked at each other all wide-eyed like what did we get into? Then it was time for the workout.
That first workout was a “big jar of suck”. After my first workout I realized this was better than any workout I had ever tried. I continued Crossfit for a couple more weeks until I fell victim to the temptations of the college-life. While at college I went back to the classic globo gym ways of “back and biceps” and “chest and triceps” but it just never satisfied me enough. After my freshman year, it was apparent that the freshman 15 was not a myth! Then during the summer of 2010 Charlie started a Crossfit Hardball class and as soon as I heard about it I had to do it. Within a week, I had way too much of the Crossfit kool-aid because I was hooked. I was so hooked that I even asked for a job cleaning up the box just to be around it more and this is where Crossfit changed my life the most.
Now that I was at the box so much I became friends with all of Bayou City Crossfit’s awesome coaches. Within weeks of me starting the cleaning job they had all taken me under their wing. They went out of their way to teach me all they knew about the proper form for lifts, how to eat, and how to coach others in these ways. This opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming a Crossfit coach in the future.
Around the same time I accepted the whole nine challenge from Charlie Johnson. This challenge consists of eating no dairy, sugar, or starches for 30 days. Let’s just say it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but because of the challenge my life has been changed forever! I went from “puffy” to looking “fit” very quickly, lost about 15 pounds, and I now can say that I live a paleo lifestyle. Well maybe not completely paleo, but about 95% of the time, I mean I am in college.
The summer of 2010 changed my life completely. The help and support that I got from Vic, Charlie J, Charlie G, Shelby (Scooter), Katie, Kristian, Andrew, Vic Sr., Doug and many other people helped me become one of the strongest and the most fit players on the baseball team as a sophomore. They also helped instill in me a healthy lifestyle that made me stay in shape throughout my second year of college and caused me to want to help others in their quest to become fit. I took my Crossfit level 1 certification course in November 2010 and I am now the coach for the Crossfit Hardball class. Bayou City Crossfit, You have changed my life. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
I am a professional hobbyist. I like to try new things, and go where the wind takes me. When my Lady suggested I try Crossfit, I decided to give it a go. I was already running half marathons and participating in endurance cycling events. I was just looking for extra cross-training. I wasn’t too sure how Crossfit worked, but Shelby said I could try a bootcamp class to see what it was all about.
When I arrived at the gym for the first time, it was intimidating to watch the previous class finish up their workout. I saw people, in better shape than me, lifting huge weights and doing tons of pull-ups and pushups. I was thinking that maybe I was in the wrong place. I could run and cycle, but pushups and pull-ups I wasn’t so sure about.
The first day of Shelby’s bootcamp was definitely an intense workout. I remember it involved a few rounds of box jumps and pushups. It sounded easy enough, but I was wrong. I did my box jumps like a champion, but then came the pushups. I struggled through the first round of pushups and wasn’t able to complete the final rounds. My arms had turned to rubber. I knew I had given it my best shot and instead of feeling defeated, I was determined to improve. I signed up to attend Shelby’s class three days a week and it was a great decision.
At first, I had to scale back the workouts and use smaller weights. Within the first few weeks, I could already see improvements. Eventually, I noticed the workouts got easier and easier. Shelby also noticed and made me increase the weights and just pushed me harder.
Within the first three months, I was already seeing great results. I lost about 12 pounds, my clothes were fitting better, and I was starting to see new muscles. My food baby disappeared and my Lady started noticing and commenting on how I only had one remaining chin. My cycling and running were also both improving. Six months after starting Crossfit, I cut my half marathon time from 2h 04m to 1h 45m!
It is now nine months later and I am fitter, faster, and stronger. I have lost over 35 pounds and feel great. I look forward to going to bootcamp and really enjoy the classes. Everyone is very supportive and the coaches are fantastic. They will get to know you and will even check up on you if you miss a class or two. Anyone can do these exercises or a variation of them. Every coach takes the time to modify the workout to meet everyone’s different needs. The vigorous cross training has been great for my overall fitness and fits well with my needs as a runner and an avid cyclist.
1. Lose Weight
2. Change My Diet
4. Quit Smoking
5. Be Medication Free
The very next week, I decided to tackle goals number one, two, and three. I joined a gym and changed my eating habits. Nine months later, with diet and exercise I lost 50 pounds. After these goals were accomplished, I realized that goals one through three were almost pointless if I didn’t quit smoking. That’s right; I exercised and changed my diet, and STILL smoked. I knew there was no easy way to quit and medication was just not an option for me so, I made the decision to put them down. In moving forward with goal number four, I did just that, I put the cigarettes down. It’s been over a year now since I quit smoking.
I went back to my doctor with my before and after picture and gave her an update on my progress. She was extremely impressed with my progress. She did a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and told me that some of my blood levels were still not where they should be. This was highly disappointing considering all of the hard work and determination I had dedicated to making changes in my life. She again suggested I take medication. I asked her if there was something else I could do instead of taking the medication. She said I could increase my exercise and make a few more changes to my diet. The suggestion about the increase in exercise was NOT something I wanted to hear and certainly not something I wanted to do. However, what it really meant was my current exercise program was just not quite cutting it. Although it was not something I was thrilled about, I was going to have to make a change to my current exercise program in order to accomplish my very last goal of being medication free.
Shelby Frakes had talked to me a few times about trying out her boot camp at Bayou City Crossfit so; I decided to take her up on the offer. My first “try out” session with Shelby took all of about eight minutes and completely kicked my butt. She said she had “taken it easy on me” because she wanted me to come back. That statement alone gave me a reason to be apprehensive about what was in store for me. Regardless of the painful aftermath of Shelby’s “try out” session, I purposed that I would go through the boot camp for at least three months. Shelby tweaked my diet and kicked my butt in every single boot camp session three days a week. I continued with her program for a total of six months before I made a follow up appointment with my doctors. Collectively, I received REALLY great news. The news was that my heart was now beating like a finely tuned watch with no skipped beats at all, and my blood levels were well within the normal ranges.
I’d like to say thank you to Shelby for pushing me, encouraging me, and helping me to achieve my fifth and final goal of being medication free. I still can’t believe I pay someone to inflict pain upon my body on a regular basis but it has certainly made an enormous impact on my health and is completely necessary for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Because of Shelby and Bayou City Crossfit, I have increased energy, endurance, strength, agility, flexibility, and a much better immune system.
This is my story about setting goals and achieving them. Everybody’s goals are different but mine was to ultimately do the Ironman triathlon.
I got into triathlon a couple of years ago (about the same time as I got into Crossfit) and right after my first sprint race in August 2008 I got fascinated by the Ironman Distance: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. One after the other in under 17 hours. Madness.
This fascination really kicked up a notch after moving to Houston. My starting point – Feb 2009, the Houston Rodeo Run and my first 10km “race”. It took me an hour which is not quick at all and I was a broken man afterwards!
I had already started at Bayou City Crossfit and it was there that I started to notice the difference that focus and dedication made to people’s performance. The Spring Challenge in March 2009 was a real eye opener to see what can be achieved by ordinary people when you set your mind to it.
The next stage on my journey was the ¼ Ironman distance triathlon in Galveston, April 2009. My Crossfit training as well as my triathlon training was starting to really improve my fitness and I started to believe that I could be capable of the longer distances. So rather than think about it too much and risk changing my mind I went for it – and signed up for the New Zealand Ironman (March 2010).
Then I was looking for my next goal for 2009 – and found it. The Half Ironman triathlon. July, Buffalo Springs Lake, Lubbock, Texas. 70.3 miles. Despite the rain, the wind, the hills and having to run my first ever half marathon I did it. Goal achieved and one more step closer to the big one.
I did one more Half Ironman in Austin in October and then set about some long winter training hours. I kept up my Crossfit training as much as possible, using the WOD’s as my strength workouts to supplement my endurance training. The high intensity, quick recovery WOD’s really helped my endurance – as long as I could still walk the next day! The mental game you have to play against yourself at CF was also great preparation for the long hours of training I was doing outside on the road.
The next thing I know Christmas has been and gone. 2010 is here, it’s race day and I’m up to my neck in New Zealand lake water at 7am with 1200 other people. To say I was nervous doesn’t even come close. A million things go through your head, first “How did I end up here?” then “What am I thinking?” then “No seriously how did I get myself into this?”
The adrenaline is pumping but before I can think much else a cannon goes off and 1200 stationary swim caps turn into 4800 flailing arms and legs. I get kicked in the face, a stray elbow hits me in the ribs. It’s every man and woman for themselves. I manage to find some clear water and get my rhythm. All the time in my head “Can I do this? Can I actually do this?”
I swallowed a lot of lake water on that swim but finished feeling good. Then I was onto the bike. A bit too much hype and adrenaline coming out of T1 (Transition 1 – swim to bike) meant that I overcooked it on the 1st loop of the 2 loop bike course. A nasty crosswind on the 2nd loop coupled with my fatigue made things pretty unpleasant for the last 10-15 miles. By the time I reached T2 (Transition 2 – bike to run) I was so sick of my bike I would have run back to Texas if they’d asked me to. My legs felt surprisingly good though and I set about finding a rhythm for the next few hours on the 2 loop run course.
This is where my support crew really did their thing. Having people up close and cheering you on is priceless. Never underestimate how much difference it makes every time you encourage someone, at the box or when you are spectating at a race. My support crew made all the difference for me on my Ironman run. More than any energy gel, cup of gatorade or tasty paleo snack !
Most of the run course is a blur for me when I think back – except for the last few miles – the point in the race when you know you’re actually going to finish. You know you’re going to achieve that long awaited goal. I remember thinking about every early morning at the pool before work, every lonely hour training on my bike in the cold, every lap of Memorial Park I ran (and believe me there were plenty of those), sore feet, ice baths, shin splints, Airrosti, bleeding toes, more ice baths, all those beers I’d said “No” to. It’s all there at the end with you as you come round the last few corners… and then what a rush to finally come down the finish chute, to see the finish line, to hear your supporters and hear the man call out your name… “Andrew Oliver. YOU are an Ironman”.
Ironman was my goal and I went from a 60 minute 10km to an 11:46:34 Ironman in 53 weeks. Anything really is possible. What’s your goal?