Sports were a huge part of my life growing up. I played anything and everything that my parents would sign me up for. All through High School I played baseball and ran cross country. I weighed 155 pounds and couldn’t eat enough, so I ate anything and everything just to maintain what I could. I lifted weights as prescribed by my coaches, which was minimal, and nutrition was never part of the equation.
I turned 33 years old in January of 2014, when I realized that inactivity and poor eating habits had resulted in an unhealthy weight and lifestyle. I was the heaviest I’ve ever been at 190 pounds and I knew I needed help. Going to a “gym” just didn’t excite me and nagging injuries had taken all of the joy out of running. That’s when, at the urging of a close friend, I turned to Eric Weigand and Kodiak Crossfit for help.
When I began my crossfit journey in January of 2014, I weighed 186 pounds with a BMI of 26% which was considered unhealthy for my height and body type. Eric and the members at Kodiak welcomed me into the fold with open arms and encouraged me day in and day out. At Eric’s instruction, I began to realize what essential roles mobility, technique, and nutrition all play into health and fitness. Under his guidance I began to see big changes in my conditioning, strength, and body composition.
At the 4 month mark, after following a strict paleo diet and working with Eric 5 days a week, I had dropped down to 174 lbs with a 16.5% BMI. I was ecstatic to say the least. Finally, fitness was moving beyond a distant goal within a list written on notebook paper every New Years Day and was becoming a real and tangible part of life for me.
I’m happy to report that the progress didn’t stop there. At my last hydrostatic test, 7 months after starting crossfit, I was down to 169 lbs. I had gained 3lbs of muscle and achieved an athletic 13% BMI. I have more energy, I’m lifting more that I ever have, and the best part… I’m having a blast!!!
Eric doesn’t only focus on his athletes’ physical health, but he also gets us involved in our community through fitness outreach and philanthropy. Kodiak achieves these focuses through events such as hero WOD’s (workouts that honor fallen veterans) where all proceeds are donated to veteran organizations or directly to families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, fundraising drives for homeless shelters, animal shelters, local families in need, and any other way our box can make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
I still have a long way to go and much to learn. I know that I haven’t even begun to scratch the limits of what I can achieve at Kodiak, but that in itself keeps me coming back. Fitness is a journey, not a destination, and I’m so glad to have a coach who truly cares about his athletes and a community of athletes who truly want to see one another be stronger and healthier, to run that path with.
The story of how I came to find Kodiak and CrossFit is fairly typical. I guess it all started when I got fat. I was 238lbs in January 2014 and I had absolutely no muscle tone to speak of. I was essentially a 6ft ball of dough. I knew a guy in great shape and I asked him what he was doing. He said he had been doing this thing called CrossFit for 5 years. He recommended Kodiak and I called Coach Eric. To put it simply, I was overweight and out of shape. I was tired of the typical gym offerings and I wanted to give physical fitness an honest effort .For me, CrossFit goes much further than wanting to look good in the mirror or to be able to conquer a workout. I wanted to get to know a part of myself again that I had long neglected.
I am a recovering addict and alcoholic. At 27 my life was absolutely out of control and I decided to finally do something about it. I entered a treatment facility in April 2013 and I learned what it would take to stay sober – a 3 legged stool of recovery. First, I had to get in touch with the spiritual part of my life that I violently opposed for so long. Second, I had to battle the mental and emotional issues that led me to my bad habits in the first place. Third, I had to recover physically. I nailed the first two, but I neglected to realize the importance of the third – my physical recovery and getting back in touch with the primal, athletic part of myself. I came to Kodiak 11 months sober, and completely unsure and ignorant to the ways of CrossFit. I did not know the difference between a deadlift and thruster. Snatch was a funny word that I snickered at for weeks. A WOD was something bubble gum turned into after hours of chewing. A double-under sounded like a quilting method my grandmother used, and I could not squat to save my life. The only things I had when I came in were willingness and open-mindedness. I was willing to learn and to be coachable and I was open-minded about the CrossFit community I had heard so much about. Coach Eric treated me like a baby bird at first. He monitored my progress and scaled workouts to my ability. He taught me how to safely lift and watched closely as I progressed. He never judged or criticized me and fromthe very start, I felt like I was in the hands of a professional. Eventually, he began to push me just enough to make me better without discouraging me. One can quickly tell the difference between a man that loves his job and a man simply earning a living. Coach Eric loves CrossFit and it absolutely shows in every facet of Kodiak. He is the Papa Bear of the Kodiak den, and all of the coaches share this valuable trait.
I am now down 30+lbs just 10 days short of my 4th month at Kodiak. I am stronger than I have ever been. I am finishing workouts. I am progressing. I am getting fit! I have become reacquainted with the physical part of myself that I lost long ago…and I am part of something – the Kodiak community. When one drastically changes an unhealthy lifestyle like I was living, you quickly realize who your friends are. I had less than a handful after the wreckage that I left. I now feel like I am beginning to belong again. In the beginning, I was not necessarily trying to become a part of a community…It happened organically. It happened after months and months of people staying late to cheer me on as I (yet again) finished last. They were all so kind and helpful…never judgmental or intolerant. I recall a member getting up out of a puddle of sweat after he just completed a workout during my first week. My legs were shaking and I was fighting fatigue I had never known. He walked over to me and stood mere feet from me as I strived for each rep. He encouraged me for a few moments before jumping in next to me. Then another member jumped in…then another. Each of them encouraged me and completed each rep WITH me until I was finished. Here were these people I barely knew - Worn out from busting their tails and having every right to sit back and cool down…Exerting themselves beyond anything I could have previously imagined - for ME. That was my first taste of what CrossFit is really about. We’re all in this thing together. I was hooked from that moment on. I expected to get in shape when I started at Kodiak CrossFit…But I never expected to find a community and a way of life that enabled me to live as happy as I’ve ever been. Be willing to work hard and dig deep and chances are you will discover something you wish you would have found long ago. I sure as hell did.
Lisa Nevares Bourassa
My Journey to Finding Outer Strength
I don’t talk much about disease and illness because those words don’t define me. But in order to tell you how far I have come, I need to start at the beginning.
At a very young age, I can remember not feeling well and always being sick. I was the kid that never went outside or played sports because I just didn’t have the energy. At the age of 18, I started searching for answers. All the doctors would say was something about being depressed and later changing that to anxiety. I happened to have neither. It took 17 years for me to find the correct answers about my health condition. I never gave up!
Finally in 2006, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases can appear in groups. I have Celiac disease, psoriasis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and, because it took so long to get the proper diagnosis, add Adrenal Fatigue to the mix. At this point in my life, I was 80 pounds overweight. I also spent two whole days a week in bed because I was unable to function physically.
It took me two years of eating Paleo and taking medication for my autoimmune diseases to lose the 80 pounds. Even though I had lost the weight, I had no strength, muscle tone, or any endurance. It was a slow process, but eight years after my diagnosis, I finally had the strength and endurance to walk through the Kodiak CrossFit doors.
August 2013, at the age of 43, I came to CrossFit. At this point in my life I had never lifted a weight, attempted pull-ups or pushups, run more than 400 meters, and I did not know what burpees were and could never imagine doing a double under. Now as I write, I have completed seven months at Kodiak CrossFit. I can do all of the above mentioned and so much more. I spend at least six hours a week at Kodiak and I am getting stronger every day.
I am still in constant contact with my doctors, and I have to take medications twice a day to be “normal”. I still eat Paleo every day, and try to get as much rest as I can. I have two scheduled rest days that are very important for my health and I always make sure to observe them. There are still days when I don’t feel well, but I can message Coach Eric or Coach Larrah and let them know that I am coming in and I just won’t be able to go at 100%. I still show up, and even on my bad days now, I am no longer confined to bed.
Kodiak CrossFit is such a great community filled with all types of people who are always there to cheer you on. The first month was really hard for me, but in that first month, I had coaches who believed in me. This gave me the strength to believe in myself. I am so glad I took a chance on myself and walked through the CrossFit doors.
I found Kodiak CrossFit in June of 2012. We had just moved to TX from IA. I had been doing CrossFit for two years and finding a new box was first on my to do list when we got here. I came from a garage gym, so when I googled CrossFit, Kodiak came up and it was in Eric's garage. I knew I had to try it. Fell in love after the first WOD, burpees and ring dips (yes, I remember!). I just remember everyone being so nice and welcoming. If it wasn't so welcoming, I don't think I would drive 30 minutes to WOD every day.
My story isn't about weight loss, it's about how strong I've become. Before starting at Kodiak, I've never competed before. Now I've done four competitions and love it. I can remember doing my first competition a year ago, struggling with 115lbs. A year later I'm easily doing 140lbs. I wasn't able to do pull ups well, DU's or even Handstand holds. I now can now do all three. Eric and Jacob know their athletes and the programing works.
Since starting the olympic lifting class, my form and technique have improved. I may not look like a typical CrossFit athlete but, I've come a long way since day one. I have the Kodiak coaches to thank as well as the other athletes. We push and support each other to be the best. We are family. This is a great community to be a part of. I have much love for my Kodiak family.
My name is Bertmarie Rodriguez and I used to be a Basketball Player for 10 years in a league in Puerto Rico. I was very active and loved training. After graduating college things started to change. My health started deteriorating and my eating habits, together with my level of activity changed as well.
With my highest weight at 265 lbs and a size 46 in pants (male size), and my conditions of Hypothyroidism, High Cholesterol, Dysmetabolic Syndrome and Borderline Diabetes I knew I had to do something.
I started training at a different box and things were going good until I developed Essential Tremors. I stopped training for a while and when I came back I didn't feel there was enough support for a person in my condition. My head would shake all the time and I didn't feel it was safe. I was scared that training would make my condition worse than what it currently was, but after a neurologist specialist in movement said it was a good decision to workout, my journey to find a place I could call home started.
I found Kodiak CrossFit on a late night drive. Coaches Eric and Jacob were working on the last details to open the box. I spoke with them and explained my conditions, and they were willing to work with me...I AM SO GLAD THEY DID!!
Now a year later I am 240lbs, have lost somewhere between 80-90 inches all over my body, went from a size 46- to a size 40 (almost a 38 actually), Not borderline diabetic anymore, blood pressure of a baby and all other conditions under control. The essential tremors episodes are minimized to the point that I only feel them when training compromises my core.
Between the support of the coaches, that baby-stepped me into training again and the amazing community we have here, THEY ALL GAVE ME MY LIFE BACK!!
Now we got new weight goals to meet and looking forward to competing as a Master in Olympic Lifting eventually. So proud of my Kodiak Family!
My informal introduction to crossfit started in the summer of 2010. I had several friends who were active military and were very involved in it due to its constant variety, speed of the workouts, and the strong sense of camaraderie. At the time, I was a member of a local big box gym and wasn't necessarily "training" for anything specifically like combat, marathon or some athletic event; therefore I didn't feel crossfit was for me. Unfortunately my workouts became fewer and far between, as the pace of life (and 35 lbs) crept up on me. It wasn't until the fall of 2012 that I realized I needed a change. This realization came to me one day after I was carrying two of my children at the same time. I became very winded just trying to carry my kids down the street. I suddenly realized that I needed a change if "DAD" was going to be around to be an active influence in the lives of these 4 young kids.
So my "formal" introduction to crossfit started at Kodiak in January 2013. I showed up to the 1stmorning class Kodiak had at the Louisiana Street location. I didn't know what to fully
expect, but I knew it would not be easy. What I found was an encouraging coach, other "athletes" getting a WOD in, and a workout that wasn't easy. After 14 months at Kodiak, I feel the best I have in 15 years and have lost those 35 pounds. The variety of different workouts have kept me engaged since day one. The relationships you develop with other box athletes keeps you accountable. Most of all, the motivation from the coaches at Kodiak make you want to work harder. The workouts haven't been easy, but "anything in life worth having is worth working for."
I greatly appreciate the work Eric puts in every day for the betterment of my health. My kids now make it a priority to try and wear my down on a daily basis, but thanks to Kodiak Crossfit I can hold my own!
In August of 2012, I knew I was at an unhealthy weight and had to do something to make a change for my life. Thankfully a friend convinced me to come try something different, because I lacked the self-motivation to work out on my own. Although it’s a 30-minute drive away, I continue to train with Eric and Jacob because they have proven to me that they are excellent trainers. Eric & Jacob truly care about my personal well-being and are very supportive and motivating, and I feel fortunate to have gotten to train with them.
The Box is nothing like the big chains. It’s small in comparison but unlike those facilities, the box offers a sense of family. You get to know the people you workout with and build a network and relationships with good friends.
I can honestly say I look forward to training with my fellow Kodiaks every day!
From day one these Coaches have helped guide me and educate me on my fitness journey, equipping me with mental toughness to push myself to reach my goals and even exceed them. I started out hoping to lose weight get fit and regain some of what I would call my glory years. Although I’m not there yet but I’m getting faster and stronger in more ways than I ever was. I’m also down from 275lbs to 225lbs and from a 42’ waist to a 36’ waist and I am still going! It isn't just the drop in numbers that has inspired me to continue on my journey, but the overall way I feel. My time training with these Kodiaks I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life and I feel healthier than ever!
Thank you, Trey