What can we say? We have the BEST members that make up the Westside Fitness & Personal Training family. They’re some of the most dedicated and motivating people we know and make going to the gym one of the best parts of our day. But they didn’t always start that way. Here are a few success stories from our members. Discover where they were and where they are now.

  • My Road to CrossFit Atlanta
    Picture it: October 1, 2009. The leaves were changing, the temperature was cooling, and I was going to the doctor for a physical. I hadn’t had a check-up in years. My wife a doctor herself and the smartest person I know thought I should get checked out to make sure everything was okay. I thought she was being silly. After all, I didn’t feel bad, so why should I waste a morning at the doctor’s office on my day off when I instead could sleep in, or watch TV, or sleep in and watch TV? You probably know where this is going.
    I met Dr. Dunlevie. He checked me out, and then he dropped the first of two bombshells. For my height, he said I was just shy of meeting the standard for obesity. I thought, What? Me?” Now, I knew I had put on some weight over the past few years. I knew my pants weren’t fitting like they used to, but to hear obese was a wake-up call. The doc told me to eat better and exercise. Then, he sent me to a nurse to get blood drawn for some lab tests.
    The next day, the doc sent me an e-mail in which he dropped bombshell number two. My blood work showed my triglycerides were high. Really high. More than double what they should be. Yikes! He reiterated that I should eat better and exercise and come back in a few months for a new round of tests.
    My wonderful wife started Googling. She came across Crossfit and even sent some e-mails to learn more. I, meanwhile, wasn’t ready to change my life yet. We live around the corner from CF Atlanta, and I drive by all the time. I’d seen those CrossFitters doing their squats and running around the building. Those people are hard core,” I thought!
    The months went by, and I knew that I was supposed to head back to the doctor soon. Still, I procrastinated. The wife encouraged me some more, and I reluctantly did what I needed to do.
    I liked what I read online about the CrossFit philosophy, and the CF Atlanta location was certainly convenient, so in September 2010, I e-mailed. A short time later, I got an e-mail from Bethanie, and we made an appointment. My life changed for the better that day.
    I signed up for the intro course. Bethanie was patient and encouraging. Although I worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the hardcore” CrossFitters, I quickly realized that CFA has members of every skill and age level.
    At other gyms I’ve seen, people wear headphones, and no one talks to each other. At CrossFit, I’ve found just about everyone to be open and friendly. There’s a great sense of camaraderie. There’s no judgment, and everyone encourages everyone. It’s probably the most unpretentious gym experience you could ask for.
    During our one-on-one sessions, Bethanie showed me the basics to prepare me for the classes. She also helped me revolutionize my awful diet in ways that weren’t nearly as burdensome or difficult as I had feared.
    After about three months of CrossFit, I went back to the doctor, and I was excited to see what kind of difference my hard work had made. Dr. Dunlevie was impressed very impressed. My triglycerides had gone from more than double where they should be down to the normal” range. I had also lost about 15 pounds. The doc said I had been at a crossroads of health and that he was glad I had chosen the right path.
    I’ll admit I haven’t turned into an exercise junky. I’ll probably never be one. That said, the people of CrossFit Atlanta, the atmosphere, and the results keep me coming back. I’m constantly finding myself able to accomplish things I wasn’t able to do just a few months ago. And now, after six months, I’ve lost more weight, and I’m wearing pants I haven’t fit into in years.
    With the kind of success I’ve had on so many levels, it’s clear that CrossFit works, and I can‘t imagine a better CrossFit gym than CrossFit Atlanta.
    Thanks, honey, for the love and encouragement that led me to CFA!
  • Growing up I generally disliked sports and the associated workouts. I was never fast enough (in swimming, running, etc) to actually be good so I drifted towards sports where being good was more about skill. During college I stopped doing sports, and tried to run to keep in shape but it always sucked (I’m not much of a runner). A year and a half ago, after I graduated from college and started a desk job, I went in for a physical at my doctor’s office and found out I had gained a pretty decent chunk of weight. I went off the deep end for a few months, running every day, eating lots of salads, and then ran out of steam. The lifestyle sucked and wasn’t sustainable. So I started looking around for something I could do for myself that would be fun, competitive, challenging, that I could get good at and that I would stick with. Found the CrossFit HQ website and started looking for a gym nearby. Atlanta has many CrossFit gyms, but when I went to CrossFit Atlanta’s site the sense of community was so strong (paintball groups, water-rafting, etc.), I knew that’s where I wanted to go. Almost 8 months later, I’ve participated in the gym’s Paleo-challenge (which has been fantastic!), achieved my unassisted pull-up, and am almost certain of the Olympic lifting terms. I look and feel better now than I have in years, and I have a wonderful “gym-family”.

     Krista, age 23
    Krista, age 23
  • I have been interested in fitness all of my life. When I first heard about CrossFit, I had 20+ years of running, bike racing, triathlons, and tennis under my belt. I was looking for a change of pace and thought CrossFit might be the ticket to mix up my workout routine a little. In surfing around the web, looking at CrossFit Affiliates in Atlanta, CrossFit Atlanta kept coming up, so I decided to give it a try. I felt like I was pretty fit already — over the years I had run marathons, ultramarathons, done IronMan distance triathlons and 100 mile mountain bike races. After you’ve finished a couple of 12+ hour races, how bad could a ten minute workout be? Wow, did I have a lot to learn about intensity! I pretty quickly learned that my idea of being “fit” amounted to a small portion of CrossFit’s idea of fitness. I did great on the longer (20+ minute) workouts that involved running or rowing. Anything shorter than 20 minutes, or that involved my upper body — not so much. Early on, I was alternately excited and discouraged. Excited, because I was seeing improvement literally every week, especially in the upper body and full body exercises. Discouraged, because it seemed like I was NEVER going to be able to do any of the workouts Rx (as prescribed); I was always having to scale weights or reps down. One of the appealing things for me about CrossFit is that every workout is measured in some way and written down on a whiteboard in the gym and in your own workout log. So literally every day you are comparing yourself to previous performances and with other folks coming into the gym. I love to compete and improve, so this pulled me right in. I kept coming back, and saw steady progress. Initially, I thought I’d be able to CrossFit in addition to my running mileage, but found that I just couldn’t keep both up, so I dialed back the running to about two days a week. To my surprise, with the lower mileage, I started PRing again in races after being stuck on a plateau for a couple of years. I also started winning more tennis matches — I was moving quicker on the court and just wasn’t getting tired any more in matches. After two years of CrossFit, I’m still getting PRs in the gym. I’ve also learned a lot from the trainers and other members. I had a pretty poor diet when I started CrossFit — way too much junk food. At some point, I realized that if I wanted to keep progressing, I needed to fix my diet. I’ve gradually cut all of the junk out and now mostly eat fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. I feel better, sleep better, and had excellent blood chemistry in my last physical. My only regret is that I didn’t find CrossFit, and CrossFit Atlanta sooner! I’ll be turning 46 this year and feel like I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been. I’ve very much enjoyed my time with CrossFit Atlanta and will keep coming as long as you keep opening the doors. I love the fact that I can walk into the gym and know everyone by name.

    Jim Ewing, age 59
    Jim Ewing, age 59
  • In the Fall of 2013, I realized I needed to make a change in lifestyle to improve my health. I basically tried to cut out sugar (I thought) and most gluten. While this was working to a certain degree, in January 2014 I started on a Paleo nutrition path. For about 3 months, I was very bare bones, original Robb Wolf Paleo kind of strict (well, minus an occasional, periodic, sometime often, consumption of wine). I eventually eased off being so strict and reintroduced some carbs (rice & potatoes) but continue to stay away from gluten. At the beginning of 2014, my simple goal was to be “more fit” by the time I turned 50 (in July). In my mind, that did not include intense exercise, only diet and occasional exercise. In learning about Paleo, the mention of CrossFit seemed to be in every other article, blog or website I found. To someone who had not consistently worked out and was approaching 50, CrossFit sounded scary, horrible and a good way to get hurt. However, I thought it might be what I needed. I wondered if I could even do it. My knees hurt and popped with every step and I knew I was weak.So, I start researching CrossFit (CF) in Atlanta and CrossFit Atlanta (CFATL) kept coming popping up with every search. So, I hit the website and started reading. The bios of the owner, Dan McDougald, and the other Coaches, showed, what appeared to be (what did I know?), a depth of knowledge and experience, in CF, Olympic lifting, mobility, running, etc. that was immense. They are or have been games competitors or judges and the connection to CF HQ seemed a common theme. It all could’ve been BS, since I really had no idea what this meant except it made me think, “they’ll help me not get hurt, maybe”.So, I drove past about 8 other CF gyms and finally arrived at CFATL for my fundamentals sessions with an amazing young Coach, Benji Hoover. Thankfully Benji has patience! My first few days were interesting and fun and then one day after what seemed like over an hour of working out, Benji said it was time to do the workout. UHHHHHHH, I thought that’s what we just did? The next thing I know, I am sweating profusely, out of breathe and not able to talk. I remember having a hard time driving my car after that initial “workout”. I am now approaching 6 months at CFATL and I am amazed at what has happened! In my initial few months of Paleo, I dropped about 15lbs. I lost another 5 or so a few weeks into CF and have pretty much maintained that weight. However, I’ve basically stopped worrying about my weight because as I am able to increase the intensity of my CF workouts, my body continues to change, improve. The strength/lifting aspect of CF was 100% new to me. It can be intimidating at times, but I love it. Learning the movements is fun, but can be hard and sometimes confusing. It’s easy for me to over think all that has to be done to get a lifting movement correct. Enter the Coaches! Our Coaches are watching so closely, they’ll catch me before I start if my set up is off or will provide feedback if the movement needs even the slightest of adjustment. I am amazed at how they see it, but they do.I’ve come a long way but compared to most in our CFATL community, I am old, still a “newbie”, slow & weak (no RX yet), I don’t know all the workout or lifting movements, but I’m getting there. I sometimes have no idea how I am going to get through the workout but the next thing I know, it’s 15 minutes later and I am lying on the floor in this weird agony, trying to find a breath and, strangely, so happy. The Coaching gets me there every time! From my experience, the most amazing thing about CFATL is the people in this place. The Coaches & mentors I have experienced so far all share an amazing amount of experience & knowledge and exhibit a ton of patience. They all truly care about each member’s fitness and health and promote when PR’s and goals are met. I also love the amazing support from fellow workout partners; those who are expressive and those who only give a fist pump. When all else are finished and I am trying to get through the workout, the one who finished first is often still there rooting me on (and she could’ve left 8 minutes ago). Thank you CrossFit Atlanta! I have a long way to go but I am now stronger, my knees no longer hurt or pop and I am definitely more fit!

    Mike Lail, age 52
    Mike Lail, age 52