Meet Gary. He’s a brave, brave soul. For the next several weeks he is going to allow us to chronicle his journey as he challenges himself to become a healthier, more fit version of himself. We all know this isn’t easy, and for many it’s a very personal undertaking. Gary is kind enough to allow us to follow him during this process so you can see how we “make the magic happen” at SkeeTown CrossFit. We’re all hoping that it will inspire some others of you to follow his example, get up off the couch, get active, and make better choices with nutrition.
First, the unfortunate facts. Do you live in Muskegon County? If so, you may want to take a long, hard look at your own health. Muskegon County does not compare well to the health and wellness of other counties in Michigan. In general terms, if you live in Muskegon, the data basically indicates that you are more likely to be fat and out of shape. To combat this, the Muskegon Rotary Club has set up a community wellness initiative with the intent to change the Muskegon mindset when it comes to exercise, diet, and weight control. This initiative is called 1 in 21, and it has it’s own website if you would like to learn more. https://1in21.org/ The hope and vision of 1 in 21 is that Muskegon will be THE healthiest county in Michigan by 2021. How can that happen? Well, two things that will positively impact a person’s health are exercise and healthy eating. Muskegon needs to make a lifestyle change!
Get off the couch and join us! No, really! Do it!
At SkeeTown CrossFit, we KNOW we have what it takes to help people regain their health and fitness. We are doing great things every day! Our trainers are awesome! We have numerous testimonials from our members; people who will tell you very passionately about the difference SkeeTown CrossFit has made in their life, and how it has improved both their physical and mental well-being. However, when people hear the word “CrossFit?” If they are someone who is not super active or someone who wants to try an exercise program for the first time in many years? They are immediately intimidated! “Oh no! I can’t do CrossFit. I saw those people on TV once! THEY’RE CRAZY!” The truth is, the majority of our members started out fresh off the couch themselves, and are working at a variety of intensity levels. CrossFit IS truly for EVERYONE! So what we needed to do was to show people that the “Average Joe” CAN in fact, do CrossFit, and how it would positively impact their life. We put our heads together… We didn’t know an “Average Joe”, but we did know an “Average Gary.” So we reached out to Gary Nelund to see if he was up for a challenge.
Lord Jesus, please pray for us. Clearly we are going to need it…This one’s not going down without a fight….
Gary is very familiar with the health findings about Muskegon County because he is a member of Rotary. He is also the Mayor of Norton Shores, so he is involved with the project at a governmental level. Gary and his wife Angie are life-long residents of Norton Shores.Their two children, Chloe and Harrison attend Mona Shores Schools. Both of their extended families still live in the Muskegon area. They are both business owners; Gary is an owner/agent at State Farm Insurance, and Angie’s family owns Wasserman’s Floral. Gary is actively involved in about a zillion different groups, on a gazillion different committees and basically volunteers countless hours for different causes and non-profits in the area, the City of Norton Shores, and Muskegon County as a whole. Because of his busy schedule, his family and work commitments, and his dedication to the different causes with which he is involved, he hasn’t put his health first. Because he is often on the go, he often eats on the fly, which many times involves fast food. Due to the demands on his schedule, he was not carving out time to exercise. He has some active hobbies, like golf, but in terms of scheduling time for regular workouts? Not happening. He’s a very accurate representation of the average forty something professional person who resides in Muskegon County.
Gary, his high school sweetheart wife Angie, and their kids, Harrison and Chloe.
We sat down with him and talked about his diet, health, and wellness. He definitely recognized the need to make changes. Gary’s 30 year high school reunion is next year! Who wouldn’t want to be in shape for that, right? A few years back he broke his ankle, and had to have surgery to repair it. He’s rocking some plates and screws in there. And also, when his own father was 47 or 48, near Gary’s high school graduation, he had a heart attack. Gary is rapidly approaching that age, and really, really wants to sail right by it without any heart problems of his own. So Coach Erica started Gary on a nutrition program and started training him three times a week. To start with, Coach Erica took some measurements and weighed Gary. Besides measuring different areas, she also got a reading of his body fat and muscle mass percentages. She also had him run through a few basic movements so that she could assess how he moved, and what individual challenges he may have that would impact his workouts. Right away, she picked up on the mobility issues with his ankle and that is something specific that she is working on with him.
Coach Erica taking a closer look at Gary’s ankle mobility.
Gary’s nutrition plan consists of making sure that his meals are balanced using a ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% protein. The plan that Erica gave him is specifically tailored to him, and his caloric needs, and includes recipes and snack ideas. She also sat down with him and showed him how to plug in his meals and snacks into the app “My Fitness Pal,” a free app anyone can download on their phone (TRY IT!!) which is super helpful for accountability with nutrition. Gary is recording what he eats and drinks, is making sure he’s staying within his calorie count, as well as keeping things balanced. Erica’s plan is to check in with Gary each week to make sure his nutrition is on track. You can’t out train a poor diet, or so the saying goes… Gary is lucky because Angie is super supportive of his efforts and has been helping him meal prep, grocery shop and put healthy snacks together for him so he stays focused. (Thank you Angie!!!) Home support is so important when trying to make a life style change!
nutrition counseling <— check out this short video of Coach Erica helping Gary meal plan!
Gary has started Personal Training sessions with Coach Erica. The goal of this is to help him make a smooth transition in to CrossFit classes. This is a great idea for someone starting out! Right now, their focus is on building his cardiovascular endurance, mobility, and making sure his workouts are progressive. They’ll be adding in things as they go. For example, Gary won’t be able to add weight to his squat until he can get into a proper squat position; his ankle mobility is holding him back. One thing that is very important in CrossFit is learning proper form to avoid injury, Some people want to load on the weight to soon, and at SkeeTown, our coaches really emphasize good form and safety first.
Coach Erica shared that a typical session for Gary currently includes mobilizing before and after each workout. Gary has been doing reps using EMOM’s (Every Minute on the Minute) so he has a little recovery time between exercises, which allows him to do the exercises more efficiently. Gary has been doing air squats, burpees, box jumps, kettle bell swings, and jumping rope. She reports that jumping rope is a real strength for him and says he’ll be doing double unders in “no time!” Coach Erica is right by his side every step of the way to give him instruction, support, and high fives!
Perhaps he has been practicing! Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…
They’ve also been doing some squat therapy to work on mobility and proper position within the squat. Next week they’re going to start incorporating empty barbell movements. Also, Coach Erica has assigned Gary active homework every day that he is not at the gym doing training. That means he can go for a brisk walk, a bike ride, a hike… something to get out and get active; something to get his heart rate up. His goal is to shoot for 30-60 minute of cardio two times a week on his off days. It’s nice because that’s a way he can also involve his family.
And what does Gary have to say about all of these changes? We reached out to him to get an idea about how things were going for him. Here is what he had to say…
What are your thoughts upon getting started? It’s going well! I have been fighting a bad cold so I missed Friday, but overall, all is good. Getting started has been exciting. the meal plan is easy to follow and I am loving it! It is a nice road map to better eating.
What has been the most challenging so far? I guess the most challenging has been working through the initial soreness. No pain, no gain, but not what my out of shape body is used to.
What’s been the most fun/exciting? Most exciting has been the positive response from Erica and everyone at SkeeTown CrossFit. It’s a great group of positive and supportive people.
What are you doing for your “active homework” on your off days? My off day homework has been cardio related. Taking walks with Angie and we’re going for a bike ride tonight!
Any small victories you’d like to share? Yes! My small victories are that I’m already feeling better and have lost a couple of pounds.
Yeah, Gary! As we like to say around here, “Stronger Every Day!” We are glad that you are taking control of your health and wellness and becoming a part of our SkeeTown Family!
If you are someone who needs to make changes to improve your health or nutrition, we hope you will be inspired by Gary’s story and that you will at least TRY something new! You can start small, with regular walks around your neighborhood, or by tracking your nutrition on “My Fitness Pal,” You only get one chance at life, so get up, get active, and make healthy nutrition choices! We’d love to support you, too! You can set up a “No Sweat Intro” and one of our trainers will assess your fitness level and recommend a plan for you as well, and it’s a FREE service that we offer. Here’s the link. You can schedule an appointment online! www. springlakecf.wpengine.com
And? Stay tuned for more of Gary’s transformation! He is killing it, and we are excited to watch him make gains!