I originally found out about Crossfit back in 2008 while serving a tour in Iraq. My intention was to use a unique workout program to help me better prepare physically for the rigors of the Ranger Indoctrination Program that I was scheduled to attend shortly after the deployment. Unfortunately we didn’t have much in the way of equipment, plus I didn’t know what the heck a power clean was.
Finally being back in America, I had much better access to equipment and YouTube videos and that’s when I discovered a program that wasn’t Crossfit but highly similar to it and I loved it. The program put me into the best shape of my life. I did that plus other similar types of Crossfit programs for the remainder of my time on active duty.
Fast forward to being out of the military, I had joined a Gold’s Gym down the street from my apartment. Needless to say I didn’t fit in at all. I was the guy all the old people would stare at while trying to clean and jerk whilst making very loud noises using the metal plates. I was actually told once that I needed to keep it down because I was too loud. From that point on I knew I needed a change. I needed a place where I could throw weights around and do crazy workouts like I used to. I was never really the “back and bi’s, chest and tri’s” type anyway. Soon after I found out about a local Crossfit gym from a friend of mine and decided to check it out.
The moment I first walked in I was immediately intimidated. It was a bunch of hot muscular dudes and ladies lifting tons of heavy weights with loud music in the background, but I sucked it up and decided to join. After my first workout I was immediately hooked. I had never really done these workouts in a group before and it amazed me how much you can push yourself when you see the person next to you doing the same thing, but better. The competition aspect brought out the best in me and I knew that I would be sticking with Crossfit for a very long time.
It’s been almost 6 years since the first time I stepped into that gym and I say it’s easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Not only did I find a place to finally get to do my “crazy workouts,” but I’ve met so many amazing people since that day who I consider my best friends and my family. Doing Crossfit gave me the camaraderie that I never thought I’d experience again once leaving the military. A lot has changed since that first day, including helping to open up a brand new gym. I’m only a small part in the whole that is such a great community we’ve all built, coaches and members alike, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.
Shanen Burns is an Army veteran, National Guardsman, college student, a CF-L1 Coach and Co-Owner of CrossFit Cape Coral.
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