If I would have asked Nick five years ago what his dream was – or where he saw himself in the next five years, owning a CrossFit affiliate gym would not have been on his list of answers. At that point, he had no idea that CrossFit or Paleo even existed.
Nick had recently been medically retired from the Army due to an injury he sustained while in Iraq in 2004. After he was discharged in 2007, he worked as a local mechanic and went to school for Computer Networking, but was constantly faced with monthly, week-long hospital visits for pancreatitis – a chronic condition that occurred as a result of his injury.
After 2 years of very regular hospital visits (Nick was pretty popular with the doctors and nurses) and a Whipple procedure, Nick’s pancreatitis had subsided, but he was then battling issues of malabsorption, weight loss, fatigue, constant nausea, and the list goes on…we were grasping at straws. His doctors prescribed a bland, low-fat diet, B12 injections, and a long list of other vitamins to combat the malabsorption and loss of bone density – none of which really improved the quality of life for this 27-year-old man.
In December 2010, my sister loaned me a book that changed our lives forever – The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. This book detailed the Paleolithic diet in a way that really made sense – and made us reevaluate the Standard American Diet (SAD). All of the illnesses and autoimmune deficiencies associated with grains and sugar pushed us into thinking that this is something we should try. After all, what did we have to lose? By January 2011, we decided to try the Paleo diet for 30 days hardcore. After two days, I can quote Nick saying “I miss bread” and then a few days later “I may never eat bread again.” Within a week, his nausea had subsided…within a month, he quit taking all of his prescribed vitamins for malabsorption (because he was obtaining and absorbing those vitamins from the foods he was eating)…and shortly after, he put the video games away and began searching for ways to expel all of this new energy he gained from eating like a caveman. That’s when CrossFit came along – something that offered “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements” and would help him rebuild his muscles and become stronger and faster than before his injury.
Once the fatigue and nausea were no longer part of his daily routine (unless they occurred after a CrossFit WOD), he was like a completely different person. CrossFit became his new passion – reading as much CF information as he could get his hands on, watching video after video, subscribing to the CrossFit Journal, and finally signing up to get his Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Certification. After training soldiers in the Army and proving to be an excellent leader, I had a feeling that this would be a perfect fit for Nick. He got his certification with ease and then immediately began training some friends out of our house – never looking back.
Now – a year later, we opened GA.BA Strength & Conditioning and Nick affiliated with CrossFit so that we could bring Thomasville CrossFit to our community with the intention of spreading good health and strength throughout Southwest Georgia.
Nick’s motivation is contagious and his constant pursuit of strength and perfect form are a true testament to his undying will. He’s like a machine, except he can relate to almost anyone that walks into our box because he hasn’t gotten here without a fight or two.
For me, it has been inspiring to watch Nick fight his way forward and reclaim not only his strength, but his life. He instills that same fight into me and each of our athletes. With Nick as our trainer, there are no excuses, no limits to what we can do.*Information regarding CrossFit – Courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.