Mike Newland

Why I do CrossFit.

February 2012, I had just had back surgery to repair a herniated disc at L5. Until this point I had considered myself just a bigger guy – stocky, big shouldered – I knew I had to lose a few but didn’t consider myself fat or out of shape really. During my recovery, I had nothing but time and I began to add up all the things that were wrong with me – bad back, bad knee, often tired, high blood-pressure, high cholesterol , totally unmotivated and the list goes on. Heck I even used to get tired playing golf, the thing I really love to do. I was forced to be honest with myself….. I was fat, I was out of shape and I was only 42.

My wife on the other hand was running 5K, 10K and marathons. She joined CrossFit Dubuque in January 2012 in order to supplement her running until the winter subsided. After seeing her results – my wife who was already fit was getting more fit and I was laid up like an old man. I needed to change, I needed to get healthy or I was going to make her a widow at a young age. I followed the recovery plan from my surgeon to a tee and after my 12 week check-up, he cleared me to begin CrossFit.

I started the foundation classes in June 2012 – I was 262 lbs., and I was nervous, OK scared. I couldn’t do 1 pull-up, run a 200, or do a single Olympic lift. In the beginning, I barely made it through the warm-ups. Coach Phil and Coach Mike were there, always motivating me, challenging me and correcting my form (from the beginning they were both very conscious of my back injury). They saw my potential long before I did.

In July 2012 I began doing the regular WODs and I haven’t looked back since. The other athletes and coaches supported me from day one. By August I bought new clothes and by November I bought new clothes again.

Fast forward to today. I am now 210 lbs., I went from a 42 inch waste to a 34, from a 52 inch chest to a 44 and my shirt size fell from XXL to a L. My back feels great! I take the stairs whenever possible because I can and my golf game is better than ever. I am not great at all the CrossFit movements but I can complete any workout that is put in front of me. If I am asked to do 100 pull-ups, I can; 100 burpies, I can; Rowing, Olympic Lifts and Toes to Bar, yes yes yes. Hand Stand Push-ups – well let’s not get crazy….

I am of course grateful to the coaches, to the friends/athletes of CrossFit Dubuque and especially to my wife for believing in me more than I did. I am not an elite CrossFit athlete but I am coached by elite coaches and surrounded by elite people. What I am is healthy.

CrossFit is not a cult, it is not a fad and it does not make you stick to an insane diet. CrossFit is a choice and what it does is make you accountable for your own decisions. Pull-ups are much easier at 210 then at 262 and they will be even easier at 195.

If you want to change, truly change and begin living life instead of watching life….then do so.


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