My name is John, and I’m one of the “new kids” at the gym. While I’m not new to working out, this is my first foray into an official program of “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity”. And I gotta tell you, it’s been quite an experience so far! I am being pushed and tested in ways that I never expected. But I’m also seeing progress and experiencing a ton of small victories along the way.

My fitness journey began just over 5 years ago. I was finishing my master’s degree at the time, which included countless hours, over the span of a couple years, of sitting at coffee shops while reading books, typing papers and eating way too many snacks. My weight had ballooned to an incredibly unhealthy 404 pounds!

This was in early June of 2012 and I was serving as an associate pastor at a church in Huntington Beach. A group of people from our church decided they wanted to participate in HB’s annual 4th of July 5k and they convinced me to join them. One of my friends from church happened to be a personal trainer that had just opened a small gym with his girlfriend. He offered to work with me for a few weeks to get ready for the event. During that month I ended up losing almost 20 pounds! So after the 5k I continued training with my friend and five months later I had lost 75 pounds. At 19 months in I had managed to drop 170 pounds!!! At 43 years old I weighed 234 pounds, my lowest weight since junior high school.

During my journey I had gotten hooked on fitness. And I had so many people asking me questions and advice that I figured I should probably make sure I was giving out correct information. So I decided to get certified as personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). My story was also a great advertisement for my friends’ gym and more people we knew started to come in for classes. I eventually ended up joining the gym staff to lead beginner “boot-camp” style fitness classes for a few months. I then worked at a local 24 Hour Fitness as a personal trainer for brief time after that, as well.

A couple years ago I entertained the idea of competing in powerlifting. After a few months and some minor injuries, I decided against that plan. The gym I was training at at that time offered martial arts classes, so I got into Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But then due to some schedule conflicts I was unable to continue with that, also. I gym-hopped for a while, but I got really frustrated as I struggled through my workouts and my motivation dipped a bit. I also started to gain back some of the weight I had lost. That’s when I figured I’d give CrossFit a try and found Ion Strength & Conditioning.

I have loved being part of the Ion community for the past couple months and I can’t wait to get in the gym every day. I really enjoy the hard work, but I also dig the connections I’ve made with people I’ve met so far. If you have been around during the 4:30 class then you know I tend to mask my pain with humor during the workout. But I’m also truly having fun while I’m there! I just attended Jeremy’s Level 1 Coaching class and hope to get back to helping other people improve their health and fitness in the near future. And I, or should I say WE (my wife, Beth, just joined the Ion community a couple weeks ago also!), are very much looking forward to getting plugged in to the life of the Ion community and contributing where and however we can! Please feel free to say “Hi” if you see me around the gym, I love to talk to people (another fact that is blatantly obvious during the workouts!) and I love making new friends. I’m excited and hopeful for future progress, both for myself and for the Ion family!