I started CrossFit in May 2009. Before then I had done some long distance running. But the constant pounding on the pavement resulted in a knee injury. So, I stopped running, felt sorry for myself for a couple of years and put on 20 lbs. In May 2009, I was growing very restless. I kept pinching the spare tire I had while I sat at my computer and kept thinking, “I’ve got to do something about this!” But what? I didn’t want to get a gym membership because I knew it would be a waste of time. I envisioned going to the gym, wandering around wondering what to do, being intimidated by the “Mayors of the Gym”, ultimately running on a treadmill then giving up after a month. Going back and running countless miles again would only result in another banged up knee. What to do?

The answer came when I was out for a walk while waiting to pick up my daughter from a dance class. It was in a light-industrial park in Orillia, Ontario. I knew there was a business there called “CrossFit Orillia”. I really didn’t know what they did. As I approached I could hear a person grunting and watched him jumping repeatedly onto a wood box. There was somebody by his side pushing him on. The jumper then got off the box and started running my way. It turned out to be an old friend from high school. He had his shirt off and was drenched with sweat. As he passed I said “Hi Brian…..?”. “Hey Tom!” He gasped and continued on his way. I was intrigued to say the least.

A week passed and I became thoroughly disgusted with myself. On a holiday Monday I climbed onto my bike and pedaled to CrossFit Orillia, squishing my spare tire with every pump of the pedal. I showed up just as the last of the people were leaving the gym. James Gordon, owner and coach remained. We had a talk and he explained what went on in CrossFit. He pointed out the absence of machines, mirrors and TVs. About the only thrill he could offer was “a bucket to throw up in”. I said I’d be there the next day, still unsure of what I was getting into.

My 1st day of CrossFit was May 19th, 2009. On the whiteboard for the WOD was “Helen”. There were about 6 others at this session. James spent some time with me instructing the kettlebell swing (had never known such a thing existed until that day), and a jumping pullup. After a warmup and stretch, we got underway. 17 minutes later (after barely completing the last round of jumping pullups) I lay on the floor bewildered! A brute of a fellow named Brian came over and pulled me up and clapped me on the shoulder. All the others who I had done Helen with shouted their congratulations. Rob shook my hand. Maria and Becky gave me high-5s. I was still in awe of their kipping pullups. But I was hooked. This was for me! Unlike a gym where you have only an inclining of what to do, at CrossFit you showed up, did as you were instructed and got results.

I still couldn’t raise my arms above my head two days later when I returned for my second day. But I kept right at it. Soon, discussions of The Zone diet came up. I studied it and jumped on board. Mid-June and the muggy Ontario weather set in. One of the WODs was running as many 1KM loops in 30 minutes. At the conclusion of that WOD I shaved off the long, blond hair I had going past my shoulders. It was like coming out of a cocoon. By the beginning of July I was noticing huge improvements in my work capacity. I was starting to catch up to some of the regulars. By mid-July, I announced I was moving to BC. James pulled me aside and said “I can’t let you go out to BC without a kipping pullup!” We spent the next 30 minutes getting it right. By the end of the session I had pulled off 10 kipping pullups. I went home, dragged my family outside and demonstrated the pullup on a tree branch, much to the chagrin of the nesting robins.

My family and I moved out of Ontario on July 25th. We were aiming for the Lower Mainland. We landed in Maple Ridge. Within a week, I found Michael Fandrey. He was operating Rocky Point CrossFit out of a detached garage beside his home. He ran me through a few preliminary tests to ensure I had some grasp of CrossFit. Thanks to the good folks back at CrossFit Orillia, I pulled off a convincing bit of weighted runs, pullups etc. So, Michael threw me over the boards and had me do Nancy. (5 rounds of Overhead Squat, 400m run).

I learned quickly that Michael had a great strength in coaching the Olympic Lifts. My CrossFit training now took a turn more towards the bar and I saw very rapid gains in my strength conditioning. Michael and I hit it off. On a late September day, we climbed to the top of Golden Ears mountain and back in 10 hours. Being CrossFitters, we ran the last 2KM back to the car. Afterward, Michael proposed that we work together to move Rocky Point out of the garage and into a proper location.

We spent the Fall and Winter pulling all the pieces together to get the new “Box” opened. I attended the CrossFit Level 1 Certification in December and started training my first client around the same time. In March, I went to the CrossFit Kettlebell Instructor cert. By then, I was training more and more clients. I love it! I get very excited when my clients see and feel the differences in themselves as a result of their hard work and commitment.

To say CrossFit has changed my life is an understatement. In the WOD, you learn how to push your mind and body to the limit’s of it’s comfortable experience….then push past it. Your realm of experience grows! Last year, the concept of doing 30 Clean and Jerks of 135 lbs seemed fiction. Now I’m aiming to do that very feat in under 2 minutes. After a while, you start to see life as a WOD and you start pushing against the comfort zones and ruts that have kept you from doing the things you only dreamed of before. Like pulling up roots and moving across the country.

The day before I started CrossFit I took my weight (210lbs). My pants were 36 around the waist. My bodyfat percentage was roughly 23%. Today, I’m down to 192lbs. Wear 32 pants and my body fat is down to around 12%. My energy levels are that of a person 15 years younger. I have the confidence to try new sports. I can easily keep up with my kids. And I feel incredible!

 tombefore  tom1year
  The day before I started CrossFit.  1 Year of CrossFit
 WTM  4years
 Competing 2012 World’s Toughest Mudder  Almost 4 years of CrossFit


For me, CrossFit is not just a way to stay in shape. It is a way of life. I’m in awe of what it has done for me and my wife (Yep, she couldn’t ignore me any longer and has been doing CrossFit for nearly 2 years. She’s amazing!) I’m so excited to have the honor to coach other people towards these big changes in their life. I have a passion for CrossFit that I want to share with you. If I can be of service to you, shoot me an email. I’ll gladly answer any questions or concerns you might have.