Mike Kelley was a trainer at my gym, and in 2010 my husband and I started going to a small group fitness class he taught that was based on CrossFit methods. The first class I attended was difficult, but it was also fun. I was both terrified and excited anticipating the next class. I was only able to attend that class 3 to 4 times a month, but I nonetheless experienced increased strength and endurance in my other classes. I can’t say enough about Mike’s skill as a coach and trainer. He knows when to push and when to back off, when to show you a modification for an exercise and when to encourage (or insist) that you do the harder option or heavier weight. He has a talent for figuring out how to motivate different personalities, and modifies his approach accordingly. His goal is to make all of his trainees fitter and stronger – pure and simple. When Mike announced in late 2011 that he was leaving to open CrossFit Zeal, I knew that I would follow him even though I was nervous about leaving the security blanket of my cardio machines and body pump classes. I thought I would miss it. Boy, was I wrong.
In the 3 months since I started at Zeal, I have seen impressive results. Because I thought I was already in good shape and exercised quite a lot, I didn’t expect to see changes happen so quickly. I can now do an unassisted pullup, toes-to-bar, a 24” box jump, throw a 14-lb wall ball and hit a 10 foot target. I did 87 burpees in 7 minutes. I can back squat 170 pounds. I feel like an athlete for the first time in my life. I am following Mike’s programming so I am working out for about an hour (including mobility) 5 days a week. I usually do some kind of active recovery on my days off, but this is less time than I’ve spent working out in years. Plus, I just have to show up and do what my coach tells me to do. Coach Mike and Coach Paul have complementary strengths and styles but both coaches focus on form, technique, and safety. I learn something new from one of them every day.
If you’ve read or heard much about CrossFit, everyone talks about the community and camaraderie with your fellow CrossFitters. This is most certainly true at Zeal. Mike and Paul really foster a supportive team environment in the classes. I am inspired and encouraged by my fellow athletes every day. I am just as excited for their achievements and PRs as I am for my own. Very cheesy but true…it didn’t take long for me to start drinking the CrossFit Kool-Aid.
At 5’4” and around 125lbs, I didn’t really have a significant weight loss goal, but I wish I had recorded measurements and body fat at the beginning so I could compare now. I have lost a couple of pounds, but my body is really starting to change. My waist is slimmer and tummy flatter. I am more toned and muscular everywhere, especially my arms and shoulders. My butt is migrating north and my jeans look awesome!
CrossFit has exceeded my expectations and changed my fitness goals and way of thinking about exercise. I used to exercise to be lean and toned, which is actually a physical appearance goal instead of a fitness goal. Now I want to be stronger and faster, push myself a little harder every week, and master new lifts and exercises. I really look forward to going to the gym now and I can’t wait to see how much I improve in the next 3 months. Thanks to Coach Mike and Coach Paul for making fitness fun again!”
- Michelle Gray
Within a couple of months, I regained mobility and strength in my hips for the first time in well over a year. Additionally, in a matter of months I have refined and improved my form and made significant gains thanks to Coach Mike’s comprehensive programming, which truly addresses all domains of fitness. Coach Mike and Coach Paul have a keen ability to express their enthusiasm for CrossFit and, even more, express their desire to see their athletes succeed. I constantly praise and encourage friends to try CrossFit and specifically to come to CrossFit Zeal if they are serious about making a life change.”
- Ben Still