Chris Harland – I’m fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been. Josh can’t double my back-squat weight now that’s for sure, and my kids can’t run away from me either!

Two years ago, I moved to the forest.  I was severely overweight, and with that, really unfit.  I’ve got two young kids, and I couldn’t keep up with them anymore.  I had a bit of a “new year, new me” type feeling when I moved.  New home, new drive for improvement in myself.

I went scouting around town, checking the gyms out.  I found this one gym with a special offer on personal training, so I plucked up the courage and went in.  I survived six weeks of personal training – it was hard, but enjoyable I guess.  When the offer expired, I joined as a regular member and was given a program card and a pat on the back.  That’s when it became a chore to go to the gym.  I hated it.  I went during the quiet times, too embarrassed to be around the regular’s.  This ended up working in my favour though, because it was during these quiet times that I met Tina.

Honestly, first impressions – Tina was quite intimidating!  She was throwing weights around like they were toys!  I soon realised how friendly she was though.  Before long, I found out that RF Crossfit was starting up.  Now, I had no idea what Crossfit was, but I was intrigued, so I did a little reading around, liked what I read and came along to the open day.  I signed up a few days later, and I haven’t looked back since.

I was hooked pretty much straight away.  I remember my first few sessions.  I was always apprehensive, all the skills were new to me but Tina guided me through it step by step, making sure I knew what I was doing before I started moving anything heavy around.  Every session was different, which meant that it was always something to look forward to; not just following the same old program card day in, day out.

There was another surprise though, something I didn’t expect or see coming.  I’d been training in the early morning class – it was always quiet!  But one day, there was a new guy there – Josh was his name.  I remember it well because we were doing back squats, and he was squatting double what I could manage!  I was a little put off by him if I’m honest, this young lad coming into my morning session and putting me to shame.  But it wasn’t like that, especially in the WOD.  You see, we did a WOD that meant Josh finished way before me, but when he finished, he came over to where I was working out to cheer me on, to encourage me to finish, and finish well.  And this is the best thing about my experience of Crossfit – this happens every single time.  You finish first, you catch your breath, and you encourage everyone else to finish, to keep on going, to not give up.  I used to train in the quiet classes – now I look for the busy ones, so I can work out with other great people.

I’ve met all sorts since I’ve been training with Tina and Josh; people I would never have even approached in a million years – and they’re all great.  I’ve even trained with a half ironman finisher – and kept her honest at least once!

Then there’s Richard, Paris, Pezus.  My brother from another mother.  I met Rich in one of his first Crossfit classes, and we hit it off instantly!  He’s a great laugh, a massive joker, and if I’m honest, a bit of a nut job!  Whenever we train together, it’s always fun, and he keeps me honest in the workouts at the end.  We’ve had some great times, and there’s a great video floating about of us doing some man-makers!

In all of this though, what’s most amazing is that I’ve stuck with it.  I’ve been in and out of gyms all my adult life.  I’ve tried more than a few different diets, only to find short term success.  Why has it worked?  I think it’s because the programming is great, and the inclusive and supportive environment that Josh and Tina have built is amazing.  The support of the community makes all the difference.  No two days are the same and it has delivered results I would never have hoped for.  Apart from the number on the scale going down considerably, I’m fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been – Josh can’t double my back-squat weight now that’s for sure, and my kids can’t run away from me either!

Want more?  Both Josh and Tina have given me excellent advice on nutrition, and taught me how to eat properly.  It’s not a chore – it’s simple advice that really is easy to follow.  There’s just so much crap out there designed to confuse people who want to lose weight, and they’ve helped me see it all for what it really is – a load of crap!  If you struggle with eating right, these guys are just what you need.

I can’t lavish enough praise on these two.  They’ve literally changed my life for the better, forever.

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