“Always remember where you started.” Those are some powerful words. And, they can apply to any part of one’s life.
For the Athletes at Celebration CrossFit, “Where You Started” could mean any of the following: overweight, unhealthy, weak, recovering, lost, stressed, sick, etc.
Over the past 3 years, we have had Athletes seriously change the outcome of their lives’ FOR THE BETTER. It is an amazing thing to see, really. The drive, determination, perseverance, and “itching-for-more” attitude that this community possesses is 100% infectious and addictive. Everyday, someone new joins this incredibly supportive group of people. And, our athletes are nothing but WELCOMING and ENCOURAGING.
We have ALL been there… that beginner phase and 1st class WOD… when you are so nervous you could puke, wondering, “how the hell do these people lift that much weight” and if you “will ever get there?” — Well, let me tell you, one day, you will be one of those people who GOT THERE. But, the key (its not easy and only the mentally strong will do it), the KEY is to never give up.
Many people have heard about where we started… “We” meaning Celebration CrossFit. But, not a lot have seen where we started. A lot of our Athletes know we started in North Village Park in Celebration. But, not many people know what it took to start there.
For Celebration CrossFit, “Where You Started” meant the following: water and sand filled gasoline cans, 5 gallon water jugs filled with water and sand, duct taped kegs, duct taped Ziplock “sand bags”, a shitty Home Depot rope, wet & grassy shoes, 30″ diameter tires filled with those “sand bags” to add weight, and Coach Erik who had more heart and hunger for changing lives and succeeding than I have ever seen anyone possess. Below you will see some pictures of the “equipment” we were using in the beginning.
Past Equipment Pictures:
Sand and water filled Gasoline Cans that we used for Farmer’s Carries because there was no way in hell we could afford a 62lb kettle bell, much less two 62lb kettle bells. And, the Prowler with the only 2 bumper plates we had at the time. We were SO pumped about these bumper plates because they were from Rogue. And, that prowler was our biggest investment to date at that point. I think it was $120 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. It broke within a month, and we had my Dad weld it back together.
That tire in the photo, it probably weighed 50lbs versus the 300lb & 200lb tires we have now. We got it from Amigo’s Tires in downtown Kissimmee for free… the catch? Erik had to climb the huge used tire mound to retrieve it. And, he got a HUGE spider bite in the process. The tire… it was too light, so we would stuff the inside walls of the tire with the sand filled Ziplock “sand bags”. Oh, and before we had sleds to pull, Coach Erik would put the “sand bags” on the inside wall of the tire, loop a rope through the opening, and we would do “sled”-pulls with the weighted tire.
Once we finally got a sled (my Dad welded it for us from scrap metal in his basement), at the time, we only had two 25lb bumper plates, two metal 10lb plates, and one 35lb kettle bell. So, what did we do? We loaded it all on the sled, and we would drag the shit around for what seemed like years at a time. Hey, weight is weight. And, sled pulls make you freaking STRONG.
We used to get excited about finding gems like the above York Plates at Play It Again Sports in Kissimmee. These plates are still the baddest plates in the Box. Treat them nicely 🙂
The keg above, we got it from this SKETCHY liquor store on OBT in downtown Orlando. We brought it home, filled it with sand and water, then duct taped the plug. Whenever you carried it, water would slosh out of the side because of the duct tape. We would have to refill the water every few weeks. It was heavy as hell though!
There is that shitty rope from Home Depot mentioned above. It frayed EVERYWHERE, and was in the trash within 2 weeks after we purchased it. We would loop it on the beam above (there is no way it was legal or safe haha).
When we finally made it to an indoor facility (this was the personal training studio that Erik previously used to train his personal training clients), we had no choice but to do pull ups into the empty tiled ceiling above. We had to be super strategic about where we did our Pull-Ups. Oh, and the Rig from Rogue… it was NOT bolted to the floor. Our landlord would not let us bolt anything into the floor. So, what did we do when people would do ring rows, so the Rig wouldn’t tip over? Erik and myself would stand on the back of it to weigh it down. Also, 1,000% unsafe, haha!
There was no such thing as Wodify, Zen Planner, or SugarWOD back then. Our White Board was ACTUALLY a real White Board. There was no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. for the daily WOD. It was just… put your time up there, and be damn proud of it because you DID THE WORK. Some of you reading this might even see your name up there.
Where are we now???
Today, we are 3 years in doing this whole “CrossFit Box” thing. And, I would say it has been one hell of a ride. 3 years ago, we had 17 members, and wondering how the hell we would ever “Get There”, and today we have 117 wondering “how can we make this better for the current 117 athletes and future athletes?” But, let me tell you this. We still are not “there” and we never will be because The Hungry in this world NEVER stop. We will never settle. And, we will always strive to make Celebration CrossFit better than it was yesterday.
I remember in November of 2015, we were about 5 months in to being at the Water Tower location, Erik and I had just gotten married, and we had 37 members… THIRTY SEVEN!!!! In membership dues, that is just $6k a month in gross revenue. It was barely enough to pay rent and our one employee at the time (our little brother JC Gordon), much less pay insurance, buy new equipment, hire more employees, or put food on our own table at home. We had no clue how we were going to make it. But, damn it, we NEVER STOPPED.
At that point, we sat down, and really tried to figure out what we needed to do. We had been on a few Webinars with Jason Khalipa, and his biggest thing was “YOU MUST HAVE A FRONT DESK!” Did we have a front desk? Nope, it never even crossed our minds. So, what did we do that following weekend? We scraped together some cash, went to Ikea, and spent about $40 on the cheapest desk we could find, a plastic chair, and a filing cabinet. We set it all up (it looked so shitty, but we were SOOO incredibly proud of that $40 set up).
What happened next? I think we got 5 new members in 2 weeks. Why? Because we never stopped grinding through the hard times, and we listened to our Coach. We got that front desk, and it made a world of difference.
2 years later, and we now have a badass Social Media Rep and Photographer, Guillermo, who takes the pictures below of our awesome members versus the crappy iPhone 5 photos above.
We have 2 Coaches, JC and Matt, that are knowledgable and care about our athletes as much as Erik and myself.
And, we have one BADASS community of CrossFitters that never give up on their leaders, but mostly, never give up on themselves.
And, that, that my friends is how Celebration CrossFit came to be what it is today. My advice? NEVER EVER STOP grinding for your goals, whether it be in fitness or in life. I promise you will reap the reward. I challenge you all, no matter how hard it gets in any area of life, to just ALWAYS keep pushing through. And, “Always remember where you started!”