Intro To Crossfit
“It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! Magazine…” is most likely what was playing on my ipod (yes ipod, not iphone) as I jumped rope during my warm up at Pug’s Boxing Gym. Before I ever even heard the word “crossfit”.
It was the summer of 2012, I was 18 years old and had just graduated high school. Throughout my childhood I always enjoyed being physically active, competing in anything I could, and taking on new challenges. Although I always craved it, I was never able to play organized sports, for reasons outside of my control. So after graduating high school I decided I would take up on boxing and learn the ropes (pun intended). Two of my best friends and I joined Pug’s Boxing Gym in Crystal Lake, IL that summer. I loved it.
It was one of those summer days in July 2012 as my friend Luis and I were leaving Pug’s, that he suggested we “check out that crossfit place a few doors down.” My initial response was “WTF is that? No dude, let’s go, I have to go to work.” But he insisted and I gave in just to get it over with sooner. As we are walking down the parking lot making it to Crossfit North Wall, the guy in charge is locking up and clearly getting ready to leave. My friend hustles and catches him as the door is being locked and begins talking to him. This guy introduced himself as Andrew (AKA The Roo), and was the most welcoming and friendliest 27 year old I had ever met, except he was 42! I was shocked to see how young and fit he looked compared to his actual age, this guy was clearly doing something right.
Roo let us inside, showed us around, and talked extensively about Crossfit. I remember nothing of what was said, but have a vivid memory of how I felt as I walked around the odd looking “equipment-less gym”. That day we signed up for the OnRamp classes and showed up the following week ready to fitness. I remember completing the OnRamp program and jumping right into classes for the next two weeks. Then, the following month I left to go to college in Mexico.
After two semesters I quit college and returned to the USA. Not even a week of being back, and I was already attending the 5:30am Crossfit North Wall Classes. When I was away I always thought about going back to crossfit, and I did. For a few months I trained both in the boxing gym and crossfit, but as my time became more and more limited I had to pick one over the other, crossfit was the winner. I continued consistently showing up to class and progressively diving deeper into the crossfit cult. Watched the Open, Regionals, and Games of previous years and dreamed of eventually competing on the elite level.
Intro To Coaching
As my passion for competitive fitness grew, so did my curiosity and hunger for more knowledge. I registered to do my Crossfit Level 1 Course September of 2014. I showed up, soaked up the weekend, got my L1, and fell in love with my newly discovered passion, learning and coaching fitness. Eventually Steve, the owner of Crossfit North Wall, found out I did my Level 1, and offered me a job as a trainer at the box. I was super excited and accepted with no hesitation in March 2015. The following week I received an e-mail announcing the closure of Crossfit North Wall. Not only was my newly initiated coaching career in jeopardy, so was my gym’s existence. As I continued to learn more about the upcoming closure of Crossfit North Wall and future plans for the community, I learned that there was a possibility of staying open if a buyer/new owner was found promptly. As soon as I heard that I told Mike Bodi (one of our coaches) that I was their man. He told me that there was already an interested party (Wayne Schultz), so I told him if anything changed to let me know.
Sure enough, Wayne became the new owner of Crossfit North Wall, which was now transformed into Crossfit Phoenix. I concluded my time as an athlete in Crossfit North Wall, and began my coaching career in Crossfit Phoenix. It was great, I loved it! I was training more and coaching as well. I began taking courses to develop my coaching skills. The following years I would go on to complete my CFL2, USAW L1, PNL1, PNL2, NASM-CPT, and enroll at McHenry County College for a Fitness Cert.
As my skills and knowledge developed it became evident that my career was in need of an upgrade as well. Becoming a gym owner was the next step, I decided. In 2017 an opportunity to take over a nearby closing gym came to Wayne. He was kind enough to offer me a position as a partner. Once again, I unhesitantly accepted. Days went by and the opportunity began to fade away little by little. For reasons outside of our control (once again), the opportunity was lost and I was back to square one.
Transition To Ownership
The following months I kept training and coaching, with that itch still of eventually owning a gym. So I eventually made up my mind, and decided to move to Mexico and open a crossfit gym in my hometown. It took me months of planning and arranging but it was finally becoming a reality. The summer of 2018 I drove down south in my truck packed with gym equipment, hundreds of pounds traveling 2,000 miles south. A few weeks later I returned for more equipment. Again, I made the 2,000 mile drive to my hometown in Mexico very excited about the future. Months passed and so did unexpected circumstances. What started as great possibilities and dreams finally coming to fruition, became another situation that was out of my control and once more left me inches behind accomplishing my goal.
Back to the States I go with my wife and kid the summer of 2019. Not really knowing what the next move was. Mildly lost without a plan, and trying to get past the feeling of frustration of being again so close to becoming a gym owner, but not accomplishing it. I went with the flow for a few weeks. Then, very unexpectedly during a conversation with Wayne, he mentioned to me that he was flirting with the idea of selling the gym. I didn’t hesitate to tell him I was definitely interested. What began as a casual conversation turned into a very serious opportunity, which I was very excited for. In a matter of only a few weeks we worked out the details and by early December 2019 it was set in pen and paper that I would finally accomplish one of my most cherished and chased goals, becoming a gym owner.
It was extra special for me because I would now be leading the gym that gave me so much since day one. I began my crossfit journey in Crossfit North Wall, I began my coaching career in Crossfit Phoenix, and I began my entrepreneurial path with Crossfit Phoenix 815. At many times in my life I have been so close to accomplishing certain ambitious goals, and have fallen short by a few inches. Now, I finally was able to fulfill one of these life goals. Little did I know, the toughest obstacles were just to come.