Congratulations to John Gray and Rhett John for being named our August Spotlight Athletes of the Month! These two have been members for over five years and have become what we call the true “gym couple.” If you walked into the gym at 5am these two would be greeting you each and every time. The only classes they miss are due to illness or vacations out of town. It doesn’t matter what is programmed they show up each and every time. Their coach Kelly nominated them because they have a great relationship that holds one another accountable as well as  always being willing to give an extra hand to get things ready for the day.

“The 5am class that I share with John Gray truly serves as a support group keeping me accountable for consistent attendance.”

What brought you to CrossFit?

John: I had a friend who had been doing CrossFit for about a year and posted before and after head shots on Facebook. She wasn’t that out of shape but you could see a noticeable difference in her face alone. I asked her where she worked out, and she said CrossFit Fury. I went to the next free Saturday class. I signed up the following Monday, I think it was May 4th about 5 years ago. I’ve been coming pretty regularly ever since, only missing when I’m really sick or on vacation out of town. Even then I try to find a CrossFit affiliate to drop into.

Rhett: CrossFit Fury was recommended to me from a Business Coach who recognized that I needed something that could adhere to my tight schedule with an aggressive, no nonsense, disciplined approach to achieving substantial results without consuming exorbitant amounts of time like a standard gym.  He did warn me that it would be difficult, to which I completely dismissed the idea. After all, how difficult could it be? He told me “Be Humble or Be Humbled”.

My first several weeks were filled with sore muscles and puke stains on my T-Shirts, along with the surrendering of my pride as I consistently finished dead last for each WOD with “kind hearted” ladies finishing, and then stopping by to check on “the guy in the fetal position” who was only half done with the WOD. 

Although unpleasant, for me the beginnings of a life altering change and transformation had commenced and was a very humbling experience.  I came in as a 225+ lb “soft” around the middle and had not been active since high school due to a hectic work schedule.  Since beginning at Fury, I dropped weight as low as 188lbs to run the Spartan; and now observe a sensible diet that brings daily comments (and sometimes ridicule) from family and friends.  They believe I am crazy for choosing a lifestyle that is overtly selective in the food I choose to fuel my body, and they are certain I am psychotic for the WODs I push my body through.  For them, they believe it borders on OCD and hysteria, but for me I see it as a matter of a disciplined choice that now affords me a new-found freedom.  I now sit at comfortable 205lbs and can control not only my diet, but also enjoy a confidence and a body that is reflective of days past I believed had been lost to time.

What has impacted you the most at Fury?

John: I participated in the Paleo Challenge my first summer at Fury, and it really changed the way I see nutrition and eating to fuel my body. I continue to learn new things about nutrition and how I can eat better for longevity.

Rhett: The culture that has been fostered by the 5am Instructors and Crowd. I never gave much thought, nor did I subscribe to the “community” concept that Pete has preached over the years.  However, I have been around the Fury Team for more than 7 years now and have had the privilege of watching the Fury culture develop. I believe the Fury Athletic Program is great, but the Fury Culture & Community is Outstanding and keeps me coming back year after year.  So, shame on me for my lack of faith, and I tip my hat to Pete for his vision of “community”. The 5am class that I share with John Gray truly serves as a support group keeping me accountable for consistent attendance. It has been great watching not only self-development, but the group evolve that supports, pushes, and watches out for one another.  In 5am Basics, if someone misses a class, it is not uncommon to see several group text chains go out giving encouragement to be at the next class; be that later in the day, later in the week, whenever possible.  It can be tough to “start” CrossFit, but it SUCKS to “come back” and begin again after falling off the wagon.

Any additional comments you would like to share with current or potential members?

“We have fun getting to know each other and joking around to keep the WOD from wearing us out.”

John: I tell anyone who asks where I work out that there are three things I love about CrossFit: 1) I never have to think about what I’m going to do for my workout. They are always planned, and I just have to show up and complete them, 2) I’m pretty competitive, and there is that  component to workouts- competing with others and trying to better my scores on repeat workouts. I like the challenge of trying to get the best time or most reps possible on a WOD. and 3) there is a regular crew at 5am (as I’m sure there is at other times), and we have fun getting to know each other and joking around to keep the WOD from wearing us out. I encourage people to give it a try.

Rhett: It’s this simple… “Your Job”: SHOW UP & PARTICIPATE.  Fury will do the rest.  All Fury needs from you, is that you show up, participate, and be ready to give 100%.  By all means… Come with the understanding that you are going to fall down, but Fury will pick you back up.  Fury will continue to pick you up and put you back in the fight until you’re strong enough to pick yourself up.  All that is asked is that you come and give it your all, and when your “all” falls short, there will be someone there to help you finish.  For me it was Kelly who wouldn’t let me quit (trust me, I tried).  To date, I have no DNF’s in my record book, because Kelly wouldn’t let me quit. I have a lot of WOD completion times not worthy of mention; but a heated exchange I had with Kelly has always stuck with me.  In a difficult WOD during my first few months I had taken time during the WOD to stop and puke.  I had fallen behind the entire class during the WOD and was struggling in decision of whether or not to continue with the WOD or to call it quits.  Kelly told me to “keep going” and that I “had to finish”.  I lamented/protested/shouted back at Kelly (from the fetal position on the floor trying to breath) that “I suck! I used to be an athlete, and now I can’t keep up with ANYONE in class!”  I considered my efforts in CrossFit not only to be in vain, but an outright and utter failure, and had resigned myself to quit.  Kelly came over and squatted down next to me, she became very serious and said “you have already passed everyone who didn’t show up today.  Now get up and finish!”.  At that time a woman (who was my arch rival, although she didn’t know it) had finished the WOD but went back out the door with me to continue pushing me toward completing the WOD.  That is the culture that I want to be associated with.  All go, No stop, and Never leave anyone behind.

Keep up your hard work John and Rhett. You are inspiring to many athletes walking through the door for the first time.