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Comfortable in my skin

This month I celebrate three years of Crossfit and two years at Crossfit Salem. I was thinking about this yesterday while I was running.

How I felt about myself and body before I started Crossfit. I thought about my life before Crossfit, the self consciousness I felt about my body and how I looked. I never thought my current level of fitness was possible for me. I knew other people could attain it – but never me.

It’s all real when I look at this before and after photo. On the left is 44 ounces (or more) of Pepsi everyday. On the right is no Pepsi, healthy eating and lots of running and Crossfit.


I’ve been a three time member of the courthouse – they failed to help me reach any fitness goal over many years. Each incarnation of Courthouse membership was a failure.

It wasn’t until I discovered Crossfit that everything clicked. Specifically Crossfit Salem – I have never found more fitness success – and for that I am most grateful – it’s everything I want for Christmas & more.

I have a completely different sense of myself & my body. I NEVER thought I would be this comfortable in my skin.

Thanks Andy Bolliger & Carol Metzger Bolliger for providing a top notch facility & gym. I really appreciate those who silently push me at the box to get better every WOD.

In this instance the grass really is greener on the other side.

~ Robert

Emotion and fitness

20months ago I joined CFS. I wanted to look prettier but more importantly, I wanted to be healthier but I didn’t really know what that looked like. I really didn’t care at all about getting stronger or being physically fit, etc. I figured I could measure health by getting off my cholesterol med. Without boring you with my medical hx, I’m off that med—YAY! Today, I’m 8 days off Prilosec, which I’ve been taking daily–sometimes twice daily for 16 years. Wow, can I really get off all pharmaceuticals? It never occurred to me… I have 2 others I take. Can it really be done?

Anyway, what does this have to do with wodcrushers? It’s because CFS is more than just a gym. It’s a place that’s is focused on fitness that includes nutrition — in all aspects not just the muscle gains. I truly don’t think I could’ve been this successful without CFS and wodcrushers. See, once upon a time, I really felt I was so unhealthy that I was figuratively standing in my grave and simply needed to lie down to be dead. I never really expected to be this successful. CFS owners, staff, and members educate, enlighten, research, and share. While I haven’t developed close relationships, the encouragement and external motivation is powerful here. I am filled with gratitude to this place and the people.


When I joined, honestly, I never expected to feel “emotion” over fitness. I have felt emotional many times over the past 20 months, most recently this morning. I view exercise as a necessary evil — yes, I still do feel that way. Every WOD is grueling, I do not, ever, ever, look forward to going to the box. The BEST part of it all is when it’s OVER. I have a genuine and deep love/hate relationship with crossfit. Yet…I keep showing up because of the environment that Andy, Carol, and members have made… My journey’s not over yet but I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you. You are a group of amazing people. Your experience, knowledge, excitement and enthusiasm is contagious. Your commitment to health, not just fitness, humbles me to the core. You are people I admire and aspire to be more like. NOTE: I’d really like it if I could catch the “I love to workout bug” and get to that point I hear about that I or my body will “need” or “crave” the workout. Yeah…I don’t have that. Maybe I need a different flavor of kool aid. Thank you for creating an environment that encourages continuation, progress, and most importantly, personal growth.


Johns Path… fitness rediscovered!

“Long-winded but…3 years ago I was a squishy 245 pounds, had dangerously high blood pressure. I had been on in-effective cholesterol medication for 3 years, with 330 cholesterol and my triglycerides (aka: the animal fats that kill you) were 220. I was told by my Doc that I was turning into a ticking time bomb at age 35.

I started doing Crossfit at Crossfit Salem 2 1/2 years ago. I quit eating oatmeal and egg whites for breakfast every day and started eating bacon, eggs and sausage (I added more of the animal fats that were going to blow up my cholesterol and kill me!!!). I cut 95% of fast food, food dumped out of a bag or box, fat free anything, quit drinking pop or juice of any kind, heavily limited gluten, grains and alcohol.

Now, I’m at a very un-squishy 240 pounds, perfect blood pressure, 178 cholesterol with 65 triglycerides (70% drop on those killer animal fats that come from all those fatty foods like bacon and eggs that are so bad, they will make your future grand kids hearts explode like a stick of butter in the microwave). My cholesterol went down on every blood test I’ve had in the last 3 years.


My doctor was shocked at what my resting heart rate is now and I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. Long story shorter, simple changes over time, and getting rid of processed-shit-food in my diet have made a world of difference. I’ve changed to eating whole foods, (my wife’s badass cooking) I never fear fat, and added a fantastic exercise program and eating style, that is simple, effective and designed to last for life, beyond short term gratification. It has all improved my mental and physical health and life drastically.

The simple diet changes have been as instrumental as Crossfit. I did P90X and ran 1,100 miles the year before I hit up Crossfit. I lasted 9 weeks on P90X and hated every mile of the running (not that they are bad, just not effective for me). In the end I was still in horrible physical shape. Crossfit (and all the kick ass people there) made the difference. When was the last time you were in a gym or in your living room and had 15 people encouraging you through an intense workout?

I realize this is a “look at me” post, but it’s in the hopes that people with the same struggles of long term weight, diet, blood health and stress issues, can look at results, that took more than 30, 60 or 90 days, 1,100 miles, or 500 bicep curls in front of a mirror at Globo-gym and created life-long, healthy habits. I did it for myself and my family. I can’t take care of them if I don’t take care of my own health.

Last goal, one more drop on the blood numbers and off all meds!”


CrossFit with injuries, don’t give up!

I began at CrossFit Salem in Dec 2010. My prior athletic endeavors included 25+ years of distance runnning, spin classes and a couple years of Pilates. Like others I made great strides and really enjoyed the intense competitive nature of the WODS.  In early 2012 I began having shoulder discomfort which led to an MRI reveling bilateral labrum and bicep tendon tears.  In April 2013 I underwent reconstructive surgery on my right shoulder followed in 2014 by repairing the left.


Needless to say my CrossFit journey has been a series of stops and starts.  My injuries were not due to CF.  In fact, my surgeon told me if you are going to blame anything, blame your parents!  ( ie: I was born this way.)  He described my joints as hyper mobile with no end to their mobility  limitations.  Throw  in an active lifestyle, lifting and gymnastics and i was a set-up for “wear and tear”. Had I been the type to sit on the couch  eating Cheetos I would have never found myself in the OR twice in one year.  I would have never found the joy and confidence that comes from accomplishment either, not to mention the many wonderful people I have met thru crossfit.

The type of surgery i had takes at minimum one year to recover from.  Because the tendons lack good blood supply they are very slow to heal and any movement of the joint needs to be progressed at a turtles pace.  Eight weeks immobilized in a sling and then a long slow climb.  Three months before I am cleared to curl a 3 pound dumbbell.  Easy to get discouraged when I was accustomed to barbell, squats, pull ups, running and jumping.

Post op week one I was tethered 24/7 to an ICE machine and had an IV catheter in my neck delivering continuous anesthetic and pain meds.  I decided my focus would be nutrition.  I planned and practiced clean healthy eating as I knew that was the one thing I could control.  Nutrition was my WOD the first 7 days and I crushed it!

By week two I was back coaching.  Being in the box, with others kept me in the right frame of mind.  I am thankful to Andy and Josh for allowing me to continue to coach despite my limitations.  And of course grateful for the support and understanding of all the members who participated in my classes during this time.

For the first 4 weeks I was limited to walking.  I upped the intensity by getting on the treadmill and pumping up the incline to the max.  I found 45 min. of daily incline walking was perfect.  I soon began programming WODs with incline walking and a variation of right arm dumb bell curls, presses, rows, lateral and front raises.  My left arm remained safely in a sling.  Within a couple weeks i was working in box squats and goblet squats.  Since i was was limited in the amount of weight I could hold in one hand i decided to work the negatives with a super slow descent in the squat thus get more bang for the buck so to speak.

By 7 weeks I was given the ok to run.  However, I quickly  discovered the swinging of the arm hurt too much.  Not to be discouraged I compensated with short bursts of runnning with incline walk recoveries.  Perfect.  At this point I also added box step ups and right arm thrusters and suit case style one arm dead lifts.

Thru both recoveries i have participated  in general classes as often as possible designing modified WODs while maintaining similar rep schemes.  Staying active and staying CONNECTED  is what has helped me the most.  Working out alongside someone who is power cleaning a loaded barbell makes me feel as though i too am working despite that fact that i may be wielding a 25# kettlebell.  The energy is intoxicating and feeds the fire, releases the stress, just the same.

It is important to not get discouraged with injuries.  They are going to come up with an active lifestyle.  There is never a reason to quit.  Fitness is a journey.

Andy gave a great analogy one day saying if your car gets a flat you don’t stop driving it.  You put on a spare and keep going.  So it is with injuries.  We all have limitations, it doesn’t mean we need to stop doing what we love.  There are many many ways to work the body and gain and maintain fitness.  I am forever grateful for what i have learned thru cf and thru my own personal journey.  No regrets!


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  • CrossFit Salem
  • 3589 Suite 100 Fairview Industrial Dr.
  • Salem, OR 97302
  • Andy - CEO & Co-Owner:
    • 503-931-7727
  • Carol - General Manager & Co-Owner:
    • 503-931-6488
  • Mike - Manager
    • 503-339-5816

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Wear athletic shoes and apparel. Arrive 10 minutes early and introduce yourself to the other participants, start stretching (as best you know how). There is a basic warm up written on the white board... just start doing that and class will start at about 5 after.

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