CrossFit Journal: The Performance-Based Lifestyle Resource

Meal Of The Day


Laura Revels

Laura, before she loved CrossFit. I know she is calling me names in her head in this pictureUphill battles and frustrations could not stop her!

Ok……ok…..Jen has bothered me enough that I am finally going to put this together. (Jen here: just so proud of her, had to get her story out!)
     My success story is what I am referring to. May I just start by saying that I, Laura Revels, 41 years of age, dead lifted 205 lbs just two days ago. Whoa. This lift is one of my strengths by the way, because I do have weaknesses that I still need to work on. I also just completed my first half marathon. My time was 2:21:24. That folks is also one of the hardest things I have ever accomplished. I did not ever stop running. I have to tell you, I sure as hell wanted to. Although hard, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact I completed it and have it under my belt. 

Being married to a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer and two time IRONMAN finisher pushes one to get it done, I am telling you. My husband found this little hole in the wall place called CrossFit and was attending WOD’s daily for approximately two months before he finally peaked my interest. I was complaining that I could not get out to run as much as I wanted, and all my pants were tighter than hell and I was not about to go and buy a whole new wardrobe in the next size! He kept telling me I should come try it, that he loved it. He said he was hoping it would help him obtain a better time for his second Ironman. (BTW, it DID!) 

I remember the first day I saw Ben at that hole in the wall his cap on backwards and wearing funny looking toe shoes. There were a couple others wearing those funny toe shoes. I remember how hot and sweaty everyone was. I was not afraid of sweat, as I was an athlete in high school. I played basketball, and ran track. My track coach had me running 300 hurdles and long distance. He always said I had the legs for it. I did hurdles but I had horrible form and I hated that race. Which that word “form” still haunts me to this day. So after a month of talking about it on and off I finally gave into signing up for the on ramp class. Kurt said he would pay for me if I wanted to do it. In my mind, Kurt paying for it keeps my butt in check.

The days I am like screw this I don’t want to go…..there is this voice telling me I have to. Jen would say, Laura, you should do it for Laura. Well Jen, I did actually do it for Laura. One of the hardest things I have ever done for myself. I am way too competitive. I HATED when we would run that I came in last. I HATED when I could not do something and I was constantly being told to do this or do that. (STILL happens…..Laura keep your knees out)  There were a few days I would get in the car and go home freaking crying from the fact that I was so overwhelmed by pure frustration and my lack of “fitness”. I would talk to myself and be like this is ridiculous, I can’t do this, I suck, I am quitting, this is bullshit. My muscles were KILLING me. I would get out of bed feeling like a MAC truck rolled over me. And OMG I still have those days when my weaknesses appear and my muscles are KILLIN me!  Now, I think I live for that feeling. Weird to be a pain junkie….I guess it is better than any other kind of junkie.        
To top it all off,  I royally jacked my shoulder one of the first days we grabbed the bar to start learning the Crushing the DT Challengekip. I had shoulder problems off and on previously, but my arm was basically numb and after a doctor visit, he confirmed my shoulder was a definite mess. I told doc that I did not want to quit. I needed his help to get me through it. It worked. I had to modify a lot, which, was doctor’s orders and Ben and Jen helped with that. I paid a lot of money to have treatment. It put me behind everyone else which kind of drove me nuts.
Let’s talk about the Paleo diet too. Kurt and I already ate organic as much as possible. But what we learned about getting rid of bread and pasta helped a ton. One of the other things I had to give up was oatmeal in the morning. Took me awhile but with Jen pushing me, I finally did it. I am really not a sweets person per say, so the sugar thing was not an issue but getting rid of the “full of sugar creamer with my little bit of coffee” took some adjusting to for sure.
I do fit into smaller pants now. My shorts are too big, I have to wear a belt to keep them up. I think I will be adding to my wardrobe now with clothes in the next size down instead of up. I have more energy. I have a daughter and a full time job where I sit behind a desk for 8 hours a day. I attend Crossfit 3 days a week and sometimes fight with the thought of adding a fourth day. I am fighting with overcoming my fear of failure (HSPU, snatch to mention a few and damn those DU’s) and wanting to try the Women’s Challenge. We will see. Determination, I think is what kept me coming back and still does. And people always comment on my arms these days, I kind of like that


Angie Hayes

Angie, and "THE" Birthday picture that prompted a changeEx-athlete turns to CrossFit and AdvoCare for a life and body makeover!

Once upon a time, I was an athlete. After I stopped playing ball I was in and out of the gym, gaining and losing weight like a yo-yo. My weight inched up, slowly but surely. Two years ago I worked hard core, strictly starving myself on one of those “fad diets” where I only got 1200-1500 calories a day (that’s not much for a gal who is 6’3”) and I lived in the gym, averaging an hour plus of cardio each day, I even paid personal trainers ungodly amounts of money. I got down to 175 pounds but wasn’t very strong, had no definition, and still wanted to lose more.

Then my life, emotionally, hit the fan. I moved to a new state, started a new job, went through a divorce, and became very depressed. I ate to satiate all the negative emotions. I ate until I hit 250 pounds. I knew I was gaining, but then there was this terrible picture of me from a friend’s birthday party that made me nearly hurl. Something had to give, had to change. 

When I lived in CA some trainer I met told me about Crossfit. I blew him off; to me it was “just like every other fad.” Then, at my new place here in Webster, Clear Lake Crossfit was ½ a mile from my house. I had to try it out; at least one workout. I didn’t realize how out of shape I had become! The baseline workout had rowing, sit-ups, air squats, push-ups and pull-ups. I couldn’t do any of it without modifications and it took me forever. It was the best work out I had found since playing ball in college! I was hooked; I had to come back. I started coming 2 days a week, then 3 days, then 4; I couldn’t get enough.

But 3 months in I hadn’t lost a pound, I had increased my consumption level with my activity level. So I finally gave in and started listening to the great advice that my coaches there were offering. I started eating a modified version of Paleo and taking Advocare. The weight started melting off. 25 A 50 pound lighter, stronger, smoking hot, confident Angie!pounds gone in 2 months! And I was eating as much as my tummy wanted, no more starving myself! At one point I thought, “this Advocare is too expensive, I’m gonna try it without.” Two weeks and I didn’t lose a pound; back on it and the weight started melting off again.  That was the proof I needed; Clear Lake Crossfit, the amazing coaches and people there, Advocare and Paleo, there is no better way.

It’s nearly a year later and I am stronger than I have ever been. I can do real pull ups, real push-ups, lift heavy weights for multiple reps but most importantly, I have learned about pushing through. When my mind says, “you can’t do any more, you need to quit, this hurts, it’s hard” I don’t have to listen. I have watched my body continue moving, keep lifting, push through the pain; I can keep going. And this has changed my life drastically; I have learned to apply this perseverance to all kinds of things I do outside of the gym. No matter how hard things are or how tough things seem and how much I want to quit, I can keep going and I will succeed.

Lastly, the real kicker, I’ve lost 55 pounds, I’m down to 195. I’m wearing a smaller size than I did when I weighed 175 and I feel confident in my body for the first time in my life.

I cannot put words to the love I have for Ben & Jen, the coaches here. I would not be where I am without the encouragement my CrossFit family has given me. It’s the best thing I have ever done for myself and this gym is full of the most wonderful people I have ever known. 


Melissa Sanchez

Melissa, BEFOREAvid mountial biker finds a fitness regime that WORKS and she LOVES!

Let me start off by saying that I wish I would have started CrossFit back when I first heard about it through Ben who used to coach on our campus. Although I was interested, I was a little reluctant to give it shot because quite honestly, I wasn’t sure about paying more than I ever had before for a gym membership.  I cannot emphasize just how glad I am about working through that doubt. CrossFit IS worth every penny and then some. If anyone is having doubts at all about the membership fees, please DON’T! Just know that the benefits you will reap will be worth it. The reason the membership dues are higher than at other popular gyms is due to the fact that this isn’t just any ordinary cookie-cutter gym. Here you get individualized attention focusing on proper technique, form, nutrition, a supportive community, but most of all you get RESULTS! On several occasions I have told my husband that if I ever had to give up something I would stop shopping (which I LOVE) before I would give up CrossFit.

I’ve been an avid mountain biker for 13 years now. I have been a pretty active person and a member of various gyms throughout my life; however none can compare CrossFit. I thought I was “in shape,” but I didn’t realize how much more I could push my body. CF has given me the opportunity to push through work outs that I never thought possible. I joined CF in August 2010, and I am really pleased with the overall results. I have experienced improved strength, appearance, and best of all, improvement in my mountain biking skills, techniques, and endurance. Just recently we had a long hard ride at Rocky Hill Ranch (18 hard miles), and I was thrilled that I didn’t have to dismount my bike ONCE!!! In the past, I have had to walk my bike up several climbs because I just didn’t have the legs (even after many years of riding) to push through. I know that being able to make all of those hard climbs without dismounting are due to CrossFit training. Last summer we mountain biked Colorado and had a blast, but some of the trails were tough. There is particular trail, Monarch Crest Trail (about 38 miles at 12,000 ft.) that I can’t wait to go back to and conquer! We will be there this summer.

Although my schedule is pretty hectic, I have made CrossFit part of my schedule. I am a teacher, grade level instructional coach, translator, graduate student, and a mountain biker. I feel that CrossFit has enhanced every aspect of my life. I am so not a morning person, but I LOVE CF so much that I have committed to working out Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 5:00 AM. Now my body automatically wakes up on those days. It is a great start to my day, and I love working out with the 5:00 AM group. They are all extremely supportive and just a great fun crowd. Since day one I have felt very welcomed and supported. Because that welcoming feeling was so valuable to me, I make it a point to make new members feel welcomed. Several of my friends have joined CFCL since I started, and it makes it fun, challenging, and even add a little friendly competition. 

I love challenging myself and realizing that I have so much more in me than what I think I do. One of the things that I love about this place is that the challenge is always against you. No one is really focused on who’s first and who’s last. The focus is always on improving your own skills/time. CFCL has incredible trainers that will guide you through your self-improvement journey; however, the trainer cannot do the work for you, so commitment is crucial. You HAVE to push yourself to new limits, and this is possible with the Melissa, a pillar in 5AM, AFTERencouragement and support you receive at CLCF. After 13 years of mountain biking, I have finally committed to racing. Although I am a little apprehensive about it, I believe that I am now well prepared for it. 

I used to think that I ate pretty healthy, but once I was introduced to Paleo, I saw things a little differently. I have committed to the Paleo lifestyle for about the past four months. Although I have only lost a few pounds, I have lost inches, and I feel great. My clothes fit so much better, and I even had to have some stuff altered because it was way too big. In January my husband, who was not a CFCL member at the time, committed to Paleo as well and lost a little over 5 pounds in one month.  He is still going strong. His next step was joining CFCL, which he did last week. I am ecstatic about him joining. I know that we will encourage each other, and it definitely makes food planning and dining out so much easier because he can now understand the senselessness of working out so hard just to waste it away in poor eating habits. 

People frequently ask me about CrossFit. Recently, I was asked if I thought I was in the best shape of my life, and my answer was simply “YES!” At 39 I feel stronger, have more confidence, and look better than I ever have before. I just can’t say enough good things about Clear Lake CrossFit.


Amber Wilson

On a scale of 1-10, my activity level has pretty much been at a 2 for the past 14 years, and while that worked for me in college, as an adult, it meant a slow steady weight gain. I’d sign up for a boot camp here and there, but once the 6 weeks was over, I’d go back to being a desk jockey and couch potato. Even free membership/access to a fully-equipped gym and fitness center couldn’t pull me out of my sedentary lifestyle. At the age of 24, I was put on medication for high blood pressure and after several years of feeling like I was going through life in slow-motion, in 2008 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which can make gaining weight easy and losing weight extra hard. Add onto that serious insomnia and I was just totally out of whack. I just accepted the fact that I would probably never be able to lose all the weight I’d gained since college. Last summer, a friend asked me to go with him to check out this new gym called CrossFit. When we pulled into the warehouse facility and then drove up to the ‘gym’, I was uninspired and the completely UNimpressed.

It was hot. Sweat was flying off the few extremely fit guys that were working out. There was no equipment set up. It was hot. No TVs. I sat on the bench and played on my phone while Ben talked to my friend (did I mention I was hot?) and waited impatiently. After we left, I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in working out in a bare, hot garage in a warehouse complex. Several months passed and I heard the same friend inviting people to join him at that same ‘gym’. He remembered what I’d said before and didn’t bother asking me.  I still thought working out at a garage was dumb, but I was insulted that he didn’t ask me…so to teach him a lesson, I signed up for the February On-Ramp class he had signed up for.

“300m row, 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 pushups, 10 pull ups.” Back in February, the day before I was supposed to start On-Ramp, Ben casually told me with a smile that would be my fitness evaluation.  8 or 9 minutes later, I finished and was ready to pass out. I got in my car to drive home and was right at the puke-point…I sat in the Kroger parking lot trying to compose myself for 25 minutes because I felt like if I took just one more step, my lunch would be revisiting me!  I wondered if I was kidding myself by thinking I could handle On-Ramp if that one ‘evaluation’ nearly killed me, especially since I only signed up to prove a point. I decided that I would at least try, even though I thought it would be way too much for me. But as I progressed through On-Ramp, Ben, Jen and the other trainers were incredibly supportive and encouraging…I started to think “well, maybe I can do this!”

When On-Ramp was coming to an end, I was still hesitant to sign up for a ‘real’ CrossFit membership. I’d been making progress, but still just running 200m left me out of breath and for every WOD, I would pray that I could snatch up one of the two 15lb bars before anyone else. And to top it off, I couldn’t remember seeing any women that looked as out of shape as I was--it was slightly intimidating! But I decided to try CrossFit with the training wheels off for a month since I’d already noticed my body changing…plus I was sleeping better and had more energy during the day. Turns out maybe working out in a hot garage in a warehouse complex WAS for me?

Then, towards the end of my first real month of CrossFit, I heard about a Paleo challenge that was going to start in April. I didn’t really think much was wrong with my diet, but my problem was more that I didn’t eat regularly. I pretty much never ate breakfast, might not eat lunch until 1 or 2 pm, and dinner would be something quick I grabbed on the way home from work. I started reading up on the Paleo lifestyle and immediately started sweating: no grains? I could eat a whole loaf of wheat bread by myself if I wasn’t careful and wouldn’t have a problem if I just had bread as my meal. But as I kept researching, I began to find not only stories of how eating Paleo affected ‘normal’ people, but how it impacted and improved the general health and well-being of other people diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I knew it’d be tough, but I figured it couldn’t technically hurt me, even if the sacrifice would hurt.

I armed myself with recipes, planned out menus and tried to stay as prepared as possible so that I didn’t just reach for something convenient when I got hungry. The hardest thing to avoid was sugar…who knew sugar was added to so many things?? I was worried I’d miss bread/grains, but I quickly learned about Paleo alternatives to replace them. After pushing through the first two weeks, I started noticing a lot of changes: after years of stomach/digestive problems attributed to IBS, my stomach problems started clearing up, I had much more energy during the day and during workouts, I started having strength gains during workouts, I recovered from workouts quicker, I was getting restful sleep at night, I stopped getting reoccurring sinus infections, I felt more satisfied when I ate meals...I was determined to put my all into eating clean and see where it would take me when I paired it with CrossFit.  At the end of the challenge, I'd lost 22.5 cm (almost 9 inches), dropped 2 pants sizes, increased my back squats from 1 at 120lbs to 10 at 155lbs, increased max pullups in 1 min from 15 to 23, increased my dead lifts from 1 at 195lbs to 12 at 195lbs, finished Fran 3 minutes faster, and last week, in the strength WOD, I did a 95lb Clean and Jerk!

The support and encouragement from everyone in the box is incredible; there have been times I wanted to quit in the middle of an insane workout, but having people that I've just met cheering me on and giving me the extra push to finish strong is something I've never it's something I can't imagine being without!! CrossFit truly IS for everyone and I feel lucky to have found a box as awesome as Clear Lake CrossFit!! 


Diana Fairbairn

As a mother of two young children, wife to a husband with a very time consuming job, full time educator, and a graduate student, I just didn’t see how exercise could fit into my life.  Since 2006, I attempted to fit a gym workout into my life at least three days a week.  Bringing myself to get dressed and drive to the gym for my mundane, unfocused, coachless workout became increasingly difficult.  I believed I was fit, yet I couldn’t run a mile without stopping because I just didn’t want to push through the pain. 

Thankfully, this past year I was introduced to a new co-worker, Ben, who took on a job at my school and his wife, Jennifer.  It would take two months of seeing Ben’s “Crossfit” shirts and asking questions before I would build up the courage to step foot into Clear Lake Crossfit.  After my first workout, in late October, and that “What the hell was that?” feeling, I was hooked.  You see, I had never been asked to do anything for time or been encouraged by others to finish strong.  It had never occurred to me that to get better and stronger, that I would have to push through my comfort zone.  My true potential would remain unveiled.  Could this be what I had been missing in my life? 

In my short time at Clear Lake Crossfit, I have built friendships and have joined a community of athletes (yes, that’s what you’ll be at Crossfit) who are encouraging and supportive each and every day.  They are genuinely proud of each other’s achievements and are there when a person needs a strong push.  These people are a FAMILY!

I’ve lost 12 pounds, 2 ¼ inches around my waist and finally, for the first time in my life, am able to actually see that I have abs and triceps.  I’ve entered two competitions (yes me, the non-athlete) and surprisingly finished in the top five.   I’ve gone from not being able to hold a 33 pound bar up to my chest to squat cleaning 110!  The most amazing achievement in my eyes is that I can now do pull-ups without assistance.  Do I still have goals?  Of course!  Muscle ups, hand stand pushups, greater strength, better endurance, better times on my workouts…The list continues. 

All of this doesn’t come without effort.  The workouts are hard, seemingly impossible at times, but the feeling of accomplishment each day outweighs the discomfort I may feel.  The people are inspiring, encouraging, motivating, and hold me accountable.  And what’s so funny to me is that I didn’t have “time” to fit exercise in my life.  Now I can’t get enough!  Why did it take me two months to step foot in the door in the first place?  I’m sure my reasons were no different than yours.

Ben and Jen have taken the time to not only coach me during my workouts but help me get my nutrition on track too.  I’ve moved from a diet that was “healthy” in my opinion to one that is ultra clean, eating a balanced diet of the “stuff nature intended.”  In the beginning, I wasn’t sure it was right for me, but I’ve never in my life been at the weight I’m at now.  I was convinced that I would never have a flat tummy after my two children.  Who knew?

Thanks to Ben and Jen and this community of Crossfitters, I’m stonger, have more confidence and friends, play more with my children, and have energy to keep moving from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed.  I can outperform the typical man (Crossfitters excluded of course since there’s nothing typical about us) and feel empowered each and every day.  I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with these amazing people every day. 

The choice is YOURS to make a change in your life, and I can promise you it will be the best decision and most rewarding choice you will EVER make.  I certainly didn’t feel this empowered just a year ago.  Clear Lake Crossfit has done that for me, and it will undoubtedly do it for you too!!

Thankfully Crossfit,