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Holly T.

Holly T.

6 months ago, I walked into Crossfit Templar for the first time and I was terrified. I looked around at all the athletes in the gym and was instantly in awe of the positive atmosphere and attitudes. Like most women, I couldn’t help but check out the brawny men and their big muscles, but what I was most immediately impressed with was that the WOMEN looked so fit and their arms were sculpted and strong. I wanted to be like them!

I was reluctant to start because I considered myself a FORMER athlete. When I was 10 years old, my dad starting running to quit smoking and soon he had the entire family signed up for every road race in the tri-state area. I competed in 5K’s and 10K’s almost every weekend as a kid, and running became a huge part of my identity throughout high school and college. My 2 favorite sporting achievements were competing in the State Cross Country meet as a 7th grader and then later qualifying for Nationals in Track & Field in the 400 and Long Jump in college.

After college I starting running marathons to stay in shape and could eat anything I wanted without ever gaining a pound. That is until P-day and D-day. P-day was pregnancy – my first pregnancy was with twins and I gained 75 pounds. Apparently I ate way too many pickles and ice cream. D-day was my divorce, which drastically changed my eating habits for the worse as well. Being a single mom of 3 kids all in different school and sporting activities, plus holding down a full time job gave me little time for meal prep or finding time for exercise. I made excuses to put my health and wellness on the backburner.

HT-beforeSideHT-BeforefrontMy workout routine the past few years has consisted of an occasional 30 minute jog with tons of sit-ups to get 6 pack abs. I was frustrated that I never seemed to get in shape or shed any pounds, and the only 6 pack I could see was sitting in the refrigerator next to the leftover pizza. I had heard that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. I was tired of the excuses and I wanted a change. A friend had told me about Crossfit and I checked it out online first. The success stories inspired me and I set up the free trial class to see what it was all about.

After day one, I was so sore I could barely walk upright for the next 3 days, but I loved it and I wanted more! It didn’t take long to start seeing results. The first couple of months I had to modify EVERYTHING and even though it was a bit embarrassing, everyone still encouraged me and I got the fist pumps and high fives just for finishing a workout without passing out.

When the Paleo challenge started, I was excited to see if changing my diet would bring even more results, and the fact that there was prize money at stake made it even more fun. Who couldn’t use some extra money around the holidays? I asked Sean what it would take to win the Paleo challenge and he said the most important thing was to be strict and stay consistent. I took that to heart and never had a cheat day, even while traveling for work. As the days passed, it became less about the competition and more about how great I was feeling. I had way more energy, was sleeping better and the pounds were starting to fall off. I started noticing my arms (formerly my bingo wings) were getting some definition and my old runners legs were slowly but surely making a comeback. I was able to RX my first WOD and could lift way more weight. I was pumped!

The best part was going back to the bodpod and finding out I had lost close to 10% body fat and gained a ton more muscle. I lost 20 pounds and took almost 3 minutes off my baseline workout in just 2 months. I have become a believer!! The Paleo diet is definitely my new lifestyle and I’m excited to continue to see the results. I know I’ll never see my name on the board or finish a wod first, but I do know that I’m improving myself every single day and that is enough for me. And I don’t have to call myself a FORMER athlete anymore. Thank you Crossfit Templar!

HT-Afterside HT-AfterfrontI also have to shout out to Gretchen who knew I wanted to do a pull up so badly – she challenged me to work on my pull-ups at least 3 times every time I entered the gym. TL gave me some great pointers and Jill D always took the time to encourage me and offer tips. I can now say that I can do at least 1 pull up unassisted!!! Woo hoo!! Thanks to all the trainers and athletes who have inspired and challenged me and to those of you who don’t think you can do Crossfit…think again! If I can do it, so can you. No more excuses.

Andy & Shannon V.

Andy & Shannon V.

In January, 2013, our lives changed as we began a journey that we dreamed about but
never expected…

I have struggled with weight my entire life. In high school, I was athletic and in shape but
felt fat around the “skinny” girls that surrounded me on a daily basis. After high school
and the sports stopped, my weight became more of an issue. I would go from gaining
weight to not eating enough and exercising excessively. My weight would go up and
down for several years until it just kept going up. After my second child, I was at my
heaviest, 296 pounds. I felt hopeless and looked to gastric bypass surgery as my solution.
It was a solution…temporarily. I got down to 145 pounds and fit into a size 6. I thought
I was happy eating less than 1000 calories a day and going to the gym on a daily basis.
That didn’t last long…10 years later I was creeping my way back to where I was pre-
surgery as I stepped on the scale and it read 255 pounds…











Early in 2012, my brother Keith began ranting left and right about his newest fitness fad…something called Crossfit. He began posting recipes that had no sugar, grain, dairy and, as far as I was concerned…flavor. I mean, really, brownies with no sugar…no flour? I cringed at the thought and teased him frequently about it.

Fast forward 6 months…my brother visited us and I see first hand what this “fad” has
done. He was fit, happy and confident. To be honest, I had been secretly looking into it,
but was scared to death to even fathom the idea of walking into one of these…boxes???
During his visit, my brother convinces us how great Crossfit would be for our son, Dalton
and his soccer game. Dalton is a soccer goalie and soccer is his one and only sport.
While we agreed that this type of training would be great for his soccer game, we didn’t
seriously consider it until a couple of weeks later. My brother messaged me after he
attended a Crossfit Kids certification where he happened to run into Teri Lynn from
Templar. After talking with her for a while, he convinced me to at least look into it.
Dalton wanted nothing to do with it. I had to force him to go and watch a class (which
Gretchen invited him to join and he declined). A couple of days later, he agreed to “try”
a class…he was hooked. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Dalton attended the
Crossfit Teens classes at Templar which Andy and I came along to watch with pride.
Dalton was a quick learner and, since he has both of our competitiveness, it seemed like a
perfect fit for him. Little did we know, Andy and I were both slowly becoming addicted
to Crossfit as well.

Jump forward 2 months…January, 2013. A new year, a new start, a new way of life had
begun. We both began Crossfitting 3 days a week. Our bodies had never hurt so much,
but we had never enjoyed exercising as much as we were. As shocked as we were by
how much we loved the classes and the soreness, we were astonished by the people
surrounding us. My brother had kept telling me, “Crossfit is more about community than
it is the workouts”, but until I was fully submersed in exhaustion doing step ups on a 12
inch box and push ups from my knees with Swan sitting on her box (since she finished
her WOD several minutes earlier) cheering me on that I understood what he meant. It
wasn’t my competitiveness or my desire to be fit that kept me going until I finished that
WOD, it was Swan. Instances like this repeated itself over and over again during the next
few months and we were truly hooked.

AndyShannon_After1Andy and I were both athletes growing up. I played soccer, basketball and softball. Andy
played competitive tennis. We were both competitive in everything we did…sports,
board games, work…you name it, we wanted to be the best at it. While we certainly
were NOT the best at anything when we started at Templar, we found those few things
we felt confident with and worked even harder to become better.

We slowly began changing our diet as we continued our journey. I was lucky enough to
have a knack for cooking (part of the reason I weighed close to 250 pounds) and this new
Paleo lifestyle challenged me to make some of our favorite meals, healthy and tasty.
Also having the talent of photography helped me showcase my meals and recipes on
Templar’s nutrition page on Facebook. Soon after, my good friend Paul Nobles Jr. began
his Eat To Perform site and asked me to do a recipe blog. That recipe blog soon turned
into a self therapy blog for myself and helped me face a lot of demons that I discovered
many people shared.

About 9 months after starting Crossfit, I participated in my first Paleo challenge. Andy
had shoulder surgery on the first day of the challenge, so although he wasn’t an official
Paleo challenger, he was also participating since he was eating what I was making.
I felt great after that first horrid week and the 7 weeks following. I lost about 13 pounds
(down to about 205 lbs) but didn’t win the challenge. My competitive side wasn’t happy
about that, but I got over it.

Andy was out of Crossfit for about 6 months after his shoulder surgery (injured from
throwing a toilet into a dumpster, not Crossfit…) and his return to Crossfit was even
more humbling than when we first began. His strength had diminished significantly and
he was not happy about it. Luckily, the pressure of not going to Templar was worse than
the humility of going.

Just as many do, we fell of the wagon for a few months as the summer of 2014 rolled
around. Cold beer and not so healthy food crept their ways back into our lives. Needless
to say, when we heard a Paleo challenge was starting in September, we were relieved!
This is just what we needed to get back on track. That joyfulness was soon
overshadowed by my memories of that first week of Paleo. Once again, it was a ROUGH
first week, but we kept at it. We were strict Paleo for our first month, cutting out all
sugar, grains, dairy and alcohol. We began introducing some dairy, rice and alcohol back
into our lives and added some running in to our workout routine.

AndyShannon_After2Well, here we are…almost 2 years into our lifelong journey of fitness and health and we are both healthier and stronger than we have ever been. Since I joined Templar, I have lost 70 pounds but have gained so much more. I am confident, I am strong and I am healthy. I know that we have only begun our lifelong journey, but we are looking forward to this journey and spending it with the family we have gained at Templar.

We cannot thank Sean and Gretchen for all they have done for our family by letting us be
a part of Crossfit Templar and Crossfit Templar Teens. To all of the coaches at
Templar…you are amazing, each and every one of you! You have each played animportant role in our lives and we cannot thank you enough! To our Templar family…you are what keeps us going, physically and mentally. We know that all we need to do is show up for our WOD and you will take care of the rest.

“JOURNEY-The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to take the