Before CrossFit Irvine
As far as I can remember, I have always been overweight and obese. Growing up, I was always the fat kid in school who could not get straight A’s because of Physical Education. I dreaded the weekly 1.5 mile run which took me 18-20 minutes to complete.
In 2001, after leaving high school and starting my journey in college, I decided to make a change in my lifestyle. On February 9, 2002, weighing in at 215 lbs, I decided to join the gym to lose a couple of pounds. With hard work and determination, I found myself down to 145 lbs by September 22, 2002.
As proud as I was of my accomplishment, I was always afraid of gaining back the weight. I remember reading a study that within 10 years, less than 1% of individuals who lost considerable weight will gain it back. I was always afraid to be that 99%, and I wanted to prove that I could keep it off. Days, weeks and months passed and I worked out religiously at the gym, counting calories eaten and calories burned. I always felt like going to the gym was a chore, but I wanted to defy statistics and be that 1% to never gain back the weight.
Life with CrossFit Irvine
Fast forward 10 years later, September 24, 2012. I was asked by my fellow co-worker to try out CrossFit Irvine. Like most people, I thought I was not fit enough to start working out with CrossFit athletes. Yes, I ran on the treadmill, climbed on the stair master, used the gym equipment, but I had never done anything as intense as CrossFit.
Having proven to myself that I can maintain my weight loss, I decided to try the one week free trial. I wanted to try something different, something that would break up my monotonous exercise routine. I wanted a reason to work harder; I wanted results I can measure.
I met great people at the box, who helped me push myself to get better. I learned new moves I had never even heard of before. For 4 months, I treated CrossFit as my gym replacement. It was a place I worked out, to burn my calories and keep myself fit.
CrossFit Open 2013
It wasn’t until the CrossFit Open did I truly realize what CrossFit is all about. “Misery Loves Company”, a simple phrase we all have used one time or another. It was the phrase Erica used to get me to sign up and try the Open workouts. The 5 grueling weeks helped me realize my potential and how much I can push myself to achieve the personal results I wanted.
Workout 13.2 was the best example of my breakthrough with CrossFit.
115 pound Shoulder to overhead, 5 reps
115 pound Deadlift, 10 reps
15 Box jumps, 24″ box
Prior to 13.2, the heaviest shoulder to overhead I could lift was 85 lbs. I attempted 13.2 a total of 3 times. On my first attempt, I couldn’t even clean the prescribed weight. Although I got no reps on my first try, the coaches at CrossFit Irvine did not give up on me.
For 2 days, I worked with Coach Robert on the fundamentals of the squat clean. Coach Robert helped me understand how I can use different moves to my advantage. On my second attempt, I was able to complete 3 reps, but I knew I could do better.
For another 2 days, I worked with Coach Robert and Coach Keith on my lifts. Attempting 13.2 on my third attempt, with the CFI community cheering me on, I was able to complete 78 reps. I knew without the commitment of the coaches, and the support of the community, I would have just given up on my first attempt. Instead, the ohana and coaches at CFI pushed me to give it all I got giving a new meaning to the saying “Misery Loves Company.”
Reflecting on Accomplishments
Looking back at my journey with CrossFit Irvine, I can finally see the progress. I can measure where I was before, to where I am now. When I started CrossFit, there were plenty of things I couldn’t do. I didn’t have double unders, pulls ups, and hand stands. I could barely run 1 mile without feeling winded.
Now, I enjoy doing these exercises and continuously pushing myself to get a new PR. For a kid that once dreaded running 1.5 miles, I am now running with the CrossFit Irvine Endurance team on their monthly races. I have placed 2nd on a 5K, 4th on a 10K and I have completed a half marathon in less than 2 hours. In the Freedom Run at the Ranch Legendary 5K, I was honored to represent CrossFit Irvine with Albert, Ray and Erica where we placed 2nd out of 26 other CrossFit teams from different boxes.
The most important thing, however, is that working out is no longer a chore. Before CrossFit Irvine, I would have never paid to run. Now I am registered and attempting the Honolulu Marathon on December 8, 2013. I work out because I want to, not because I have to.
With CrossFit Irvine, I look forward to the challenges of the daily WOD. Workouts are now an opportunity to improve yourself. The community, the coaches and the challenges provided by CrossFit Irvine have helped me obtain a new outlook on my physical life. I am happy and proud to be a part of the CrossFit Irvine ohana; it is a wonderful place to rediscover yourself.
CrossFit Irvine member since October 1, 2012
I found a real family here
When my boyfriend, now fiance, suggested that I consider joining his Crossfit box, my first thought was “No way, I don’t want to get buff.” I have struggled with my weight ever since I first started college and had gained the dreaded “freshman 15″. Except for me, I had gained the freshman 20. After a few semi-successful diet and exercise regiments and a long pattern of yo-yo weight loss and gain, I began to lose hope that I could ever get to and actually maintain my ideal weight. I skeptically joined Crossfit Irvine, thinking it was at least something that kept me active in my post-collegiate life.
Little did I know Crossfit Irvine would not only help me reach and maintain my ideal weight, but I found a real family here. My knowledge and overall consciousness for fitness and healthy living increased tremendously during my time at CFI. I was empowered to be able to say that my warm up exercises were equivalent in duration and intensity to my past workouts. My personal motto in life I have derived from one of my favorite coaches, “Better than yesterday.”
Recently I had to relocate to another state, and one of the things I miss most is the community I found at CFI. It was hard leaving some of my closest friends, but I know that the knowledge, skills and give-it-my-all mindset I obtained at CFI will follow me throughout all the facets of my life. To this day, I still compare the genuine sense of family, as well as the expertise of the coaches, and their individualized attention, to those of other Crossfit establishments. To the say the least, I have yet to find a Crossfit box that even comes close.
Level of Preparation
I was accepted into a Navy commissioning program in 2010 and started trying to take my physical fitness to the next level in order to improve my Physical Readiness Test scores and prepare myself for Officer Candidate School upon graduating from college. In February 2012 I decided that my “globo-gym” workout routine was not allowing me to achieve the level of preparation that I felt I needed for my fast approaching military training. Around that time, I stumbled upon Crossfit Irvine and never looked back.
During my first visit to the CFI box, I was made to feel welcome and at home. The coach for the class I attended asked me about previous injuries and surgeries, and I informed him that I’d had knee surgery in high school and hadn’t done much in the way of leg exercises since. From that point on, the coaches kept a close eye on me to make sure I wasn’t endangering my knee and checked up on me regularly. I found the staff at CFI to be extremely knowledgeable about physical therapy and injury prevention.
Within a week or two of joining CFI, I noticed a difference in my fitness. My endurance had improved in the crossfit workouts and with my runs at home. Before I knew it, I was addicted to crossfit and woke up each morning wishing I could fast forward through the day and get into CFI to hangout with new friends and get my butt kicked. CFI took my fitness to a higher level. I run faster and farther than I ever have before, I’m stronger than I ever have been, and my mental toughness during physically demanding training has developed tremendously.
I attended CFI for about three months before I moved out of the Orange County area, but I miss it every day. I’ve had good experiences at other boxes, but of the ones that I’ve tried, CFI is my favorite. The coaching staff is incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate about what they do. In my opinion, the staff and athletes at CFI and the atmosphere they have created, make it the best.
Officer Candidate, United States Navy
Battle of the Bulge
One year ago, I joined CFI, because, like most people, I wanted to get in shape and lose a few pounds. As I sit back and reflect on the last year, I realize that, yes, I’ve lost some pounds, but what I’ve gained in return is immeasurable.
I’ve struggled with my weight as long as I can remember. I became compliant with the notion that I would always be overweight. About 10 years ago, I was at my heaviest at 175 lbs (keep in mind I’m barely 5’ 1”!). I had poor eating habits, was sleep deprived and constantly under stress as I worked full time and was attending law school in the evening.
This was my rock bottom point when I made the decision to lose weight; and I did. I managed to lose 25 lbs by just eating less and I started doing workouts on DVD.
In 2005, I was pregnant with my first son and in 2007 my youngest son was born. I was fortunate to have easy pregnancies and did not gain a lot of weight, but it turns out I am not one of those women who can have a couple kids and then have my stomach miraculously stretch back. Apparently elasticity is not in my genes. But I have two beautiful little boys making every stretch mark worth it. Needless to say, after two babies I needed some help getting into shape.
B.C. (“Before CrossFit”)
B.C., I thought I was working out pretty good. I would pop in a dvd a few times a week or run around the block (barely). My husband then decided he was ready to join a gym. He joined CFI four months before I did. In those four months I saw him not only change physically (he’s lost over 40 lbs total- so proud of him!) but I also noticed his motivation to be fit and healthy. He immediately stopped drinking soda and started talking about “eating paleo”; also known as the “cave man’s diet”. At the time, I didn’t understand it and I wasn’t ready for any type of drastic change and I definitely did not want to be on any diet! But I knew I was ready to start something new since after a year of continuing with my DVD workouts 3-4 times a week I wasn’t seeing additional results. Seeing my husband’s amazing results, I decided I would join CFI too. Soon thereafter, everything I thought I knew about working out, gyms and eating healthy was turned upside down.
A Perfect Storm
CFI is not a traditional gym; in fact it is more than a gym. CFI coaches provide a personal approach to fitness and health. The coaches know each member by name and tailor work outs to meet each member’s personal capabilities and goals. Coach Robert also provides the resources, guidance and motivation to try a Paleo way of eating. As a result, I changed the way I eat entirely. It’s not a diet, it’s not a fad; instead, learning about paleo eating has provided me with the basic principles of what our bodies were intended to eat. Yes, I said no “dieting” involved! I eat like a queen thanks to my wonderful husband who is an awesome (Paleo) cook! Coach Robert also reminds us that sleep and stress management are just as important as nutrition and exercise.
What I love most about CFI is that it uniquely captures an ohana-like atmosphere where coaches and members come to together to share their experiences and struggles with finding time to work out, eat and cook healthy in our busy lives. It’s nice to have the support of the CFI Community dealing with similar challenges.
CFI offers all the elements which create a perfect storm of sorts, in this case a positive scenario, an environment that provides confidence, encouragement and is free of intimidation. I was inspired to push myself more than I ever have before, which has allowed me to achieve the results I have seen over the last year which I could never get on my own.
I often get hung up on my weaknesses and the things I am unable to do. Several weeks ago, I was in a rut complaining that I could not power clean much weight. Coach John reminded me of how far I’ve come. Nearly a year ago, I could barely do push-ups on my knees, I could barely do pulls on a green band, I couldn’t do a proper air squat to save my life, I couldn’t kick up into a hand stand, I did step ups instead of box jumps, I hadn’t done cartwheels or somersaults since I was kid, I had never heard of burpees or double-unders, I had never tried climbing a rope and I had certainly never tried any type of Olympic lifting. I can now say, I can do push-ups on my toes, and kipping pulls, I get excited when I see air squats or handstands in a work out because they are fun and easy, I can climb a rope, do box jumps, double-unders, cartwheels and somersaults. Now, I and my kids do burpees! My PR deadlift is 205 (1.75 times my bodyweight) and I’ve definitely progressed in the other Olympic lifting movements.
Over the last year, I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds and over 12% body fat. My cholesterol levels have improved significantly. Comparing my pre-CrossFit/Paleo cholorestrol levels in March of 2010 to post-CrossFit/Paleo in July of 2011 my LDL levels decreased from 172 to 131, my HDL (“good cholesterol) increased from 49 to 63, and my triglycerides went from 97 to 43. Now, instead of running around the block, I run 3 miles three times a week. I ran my first official 5K and half marathon this past year and I have my sights on a full marathon by the end of the year.
I mention these things because in those moments when I feel I have so far to go I need to remember my progress. I hope that other people who read this and feel that the journey before them is overwhelming can see that it is possible to progress one day at a time if you just try. From day one CFI considers each member an athlete, whether you are a working mom like me, a college athlete, or anyone in between. I by no means ever considered myself an athlete before joining CFI. I think I can now.
I CrossFit Because…
Over the year, I’ve had people ask me why CrossFit? How do you find the time? How did you get results? There is no one simple answer; I think it’s an accumulation of reasons. I CrossFit because:
I’m a mom and wife and I work in a very demanding and stressful environment. From the time I get up to the time I go to bed it is a race against time to fit in all the demands of the day. CF provides me with the “me” time I need to get away from it all, de-stress and do something good for myself.
After an intense workout or when I hit a personal record, the feeling is a natural high that makes it all worthwhile. I’ve learned that working out doesn’t have to be monotonous or boring and can even be fun. Don’t get me wrong, the workouts are brutal, quick and intense. You will sweat like you never have before in 10 minutes or less! But the feeling of accomplishment leaves me wanting to come back for more.
Being healthy and fit is a priority. It’s become a lifestyle, not a temporary solution. My husband and I make every effort to make a schedule that works for our family. Every Sunday, we discuss and coordinate our schedule for the week. My husband literally makes a calendar scheduling what days each of us is going to CrossFit, what we are eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner, who is picking up the kids, who is covering the kids’ activities, teeball, karate, etc. It’s all about planning, taking the effort to make healthy eating and fitness a priority instead of making excuses why we can’t. I’ve learned the hard way that it is easy to default to what is convenient (I was 175 lbs remember?). I now know that success, progress, and results are not born out of convenience.
It seems like there are many CrossFit locations to choose from these days. There is no doubt each one is unique and special in its own way. But all I can vouch for is my box; CFI. CFI is a group of fun and supportive people from all different backgrounds who come together to work toward a common goal of being our best, which we all know is not a static state. We sweat, grunt and battle our way through each WOD while encouraging and supporting each other through the same. When it’s over we congratulate each other and wait to do it all over again another day. We are on the same journey to push ourselves beyond our known limits, beyond our comfort levels, and beyond our expectations. Although we are each have different strengths and weakness, our shared experience of determination, goal setting, hard work, progress and accomplishment in the pursuit to be fit, healthy and happy brings us together as one ohana. It’s changed my life. Are you ready to change yours?
The decision to join was easy
I’ve been a member of CrossFit Irvine (CFI) for a year and a half and decided it’s time to provide a testimonial. This isn’t so much a “why did I choose CFI” testimonial; that was simple. When I joined CFI I was out of shape, struggling to find motivation to exercise consistently, and desperate to find something that would keep my interest and provide results. When I first met coach Robert I was instantly sold. His excitement about CFI was contagious. I quickly realized two things; 1) the principles of CrossFit workouts made sense and if I just showed up to class on a regular basis I’d get in shape, and 2) this guy would encourage me and support me along the way. The decision to join was easy. Since January 2010 several new CrossFit gyms have opened in the area. When the time came to renew my membership I decided to look around first to see what the other places were offering and compare pricing. It didn’t take long to know I had made the right decision to begin with and I jumped at the chance to renew my membership at CrossFit Irvine. Here are my reasons; I hope this helps someone who may be on the fence about joining.
Community – During my introduction with coach Robert he emphasized the community aspect of CFI and I remember thinking to myself, “Yeah, that’s great, but I don’t see that adding much value for me. I just want to focus on the workouts and getting in shape. I’ll let the social butterflies have their little community.” I quickly learned the value of what he was talking about. It’s the community aspect of CrossFit Irvine that keeps me accountable for my results and pushes me to show up to class on days when I don’t feel like going. We encourage each other, we compete with each other, we push each other to do better, and we even hang out and do crazy things like play paintball. This is not a typical gym. When I looked at other CF gyms in the area I didn’t see the level of community CrossFit Irvine provides. I knew I’d be disappointed with anything else.
Coaching – For me, the quality of coaching is probably the best part of CFI. Robert and the other coaches at CFI know their stuff. They are passionate about coaching and it shows in the details and the attention they give each member. Robert isn’t just a guy trying to cash in on the recent success of CrossFit. My impression is that he genuinely wants to help people meet their goals, and he has the technical skills, personality and experience to do that. In fact, if CrossFit ceased to exist tomorrow and Robert and his team decided to take their gym in another direction I’d follow them without hesitation. It’s the leadership and coaching at CFI that make this place unique.
Events – Another aspect I like about CFI is the rotation of events held each month; Olympic weightlifting competitions, 30-day fitness challenges, nutrition workshops, etc. Every month there is something new to try.
Results – Ultimately, the improvements I’m seeing in my strength and fitness keep me coming back to CFI. I have more energy, I feel stronger, and I’m recovering from each workout faster. My mentality about exercise has also improved. I’ve gone from forcing myself to make it to class a few times a week to looking forward to the next workout and feeling like I’ve missed out if I don’t show up.
Value – It’s not a secret that CFI is a little pricey. Why? I think it is because they simply have more to offer than the other guys. If the other gyms could justify higher prices then they would be charging more. If someone is just looking for a place to show up, do the WOD, and then leave, they can find less expensive gyms elsewhere. After being a member of CrossFit Irvine for a year and a half, then looking around at other gyms, my decision to renew came down to the fact that I’m getting the most value and the best results for my money at CFI.
I would encourage anyone in Orange County looking to improve their health and fitness to give Robert a call and take a serious look at CrossFit Irvine.
In February 2010, I stumbled across Crossfit completely haphazardly. I was looking for a new way to exercise as I was about to turn 30 and realized that I need to get into some type of structured fitness regimen before the metabolism slow down hit me too hard. Therefore, I just Googled “Crossfit Irvine” and came across CFI completely by accident. Little did I know that my life would change completely the second I walked in the door.
Before starting Crossfit I had been living the “good-times” OC party life style a little more than I probably should have. At my introductory session, I was too hung over from partying the night before to do the baseline workout. It was completely humiliating to have to tell Coach Robert, “sorry, I can’t do it, I might vomit”. That day I really needed accountability, I needed some structure, I needed a new outlook on life, and a new social circle. I found all of that and more at CFI.
The funny thing is about CFI, at least for me, is that it is not just a gym or a place for you to go for a kick-butt workout. Trust me, the first workouts were exhausting (and sometimes still are) and I could barely walk for the first few weeks, but CFI is so much more than that.
Coach Robert and the other coaches at CFI have really managed to create an amazing community of like-minded people. I remember the first day I walked in the door, everyone introduced themselves to me. I have never gone to any exercise class where anyone talked to each other and no one ever introduced themselves! Immediately I felt that this was a different type of gym. I really feel like the members and staff go above and beyond to make everyone feel welcome and like they belong. I think that if I had gone to any other Crossfit gym, I probably would have felt so intimidated that I wouldn’t have stuck with it for so long. Even through my first workouts, everyone was cheering me on!
At CFI each athlete is respected for their strengths as well as their weaknesses. We each bring something slightly different to the table (strength, flexibility, stamina, etc) and honor that person for those abilities. I think its really rare to find a group of people who are so supportive of each other. I am so honored I can be a part of it!
Monthly and yearly goal setting, which is strongly encouraged at CFI, has helped me see my progress and how far I have come. I would have never believed in February that by the end of the year I would deadlift my own body weight! Personal records are also written on the board and it is awesome when someone else in the community congratulates you on goals achieved.
Looking back on how my life was in February to how it is now, it seems like a completely different life. Not only has Crossfit made me physically stronger, but also mentally and emotionally stronger as well. I know that I have the support of my community to get me through a tough workout or a tough day. The workouts have made me braver and I know that I am mentally and physically capable of facing any challenge. Crossfit has taught me how to have more balance in my life and not just be focused on fun or partying. Because of Crossfit and Coach Robert’s mentorship I have gotten motivated enough in the last year to complete my Master’s degree and am on the road to starting my own business. I have applied goal setting to all areas of my life and know that I am more than capable of achieving the goals I have set forth. All I can say is Crossfit is the best haphazard discovery I have ever made.
Thank you so much for the on-going coaching, mentorship, and friendship-
Exceeding their expectations
After submitting my application to the Dallas Police Dept. online, I established a contact in their recruiting office. She said that they work with Dallas CrossFit and if I was familiar with CrossFit. I said no and she advised me to look up OC CrossFit. Working in Irvine, I contacted CrossFit Irvine and started my Baseline on January 9, 2010.
I came to CrossFit with a VERY serious, VERY specific goal. This goal ultimately included changing my lifestyle, career, and relocating my family. I needed to get into the physical condition needed to pass the physical agility test for the Dallas Police Dept… quickly. Personal motivation increases exponentially when your goal is that great.
My new coach understood my needs and goals perfectly. At Baseline, I could only do push-ups from my knees and my sit-ups were crunches. I am a petite woman in my late-30s; nothing more was ever expected! I couldn’t do ANY pushups from my toes and my full-range sit-ups were not attempted fearing strain on my lower back, something I dealt with through 2009. I also never considered myself much of a runner, but knew I had to two running elements on the physical agility test.
I love that my workouts were tailored to fit my abilities at that moment. I did the full range of motion, but scaled to a skill level/weight level that I was capable of at that point. My coach watched me closely to be sure that I was pushed, but not over-extended. What incredible confidence one gets when even small victories are achieved!
Outside of CrossFit, my primary doctor, my chiropractor, and I discussed the chronic pain in my lower back. An MRI was ordered and we discovered that I had a bulging disc. Meanwhile, I’m now doing CrossFit 3x/week and “homework” given by my coach. This was strengthening my body’s core so much that the chronic pain on a scale of 7-8 was significantly reduced to maybe a 1-2 of occasional soreness. The orthopedic surgeon looked over my MRI and lower back x-rays and reported that what he saw was typical of someone at my age. He was impressed by the overall improvement and results of what I achieved in 2 months and said to continue doing what I’m doing. No further doctor appointments would be necessary.
I now do push-ups off my toes and full-range sit-ups. We tested the two running elements post-WOD. This way we would know I could do better when fresh. Within 3 months, I was able to pass everything on the physical agility test for the Dallas Police Dept. When I tested in April (4 months after my training began), I more than exceeded their expectations… and mine!
Accepted to the Dallas Police Academy
Higher quality of life
I have been weight training for five years, two of which were as an NCAA athlete at the University of California, Irvine where I competed on the women’s water polo team. During my time in competitive athletics, I have worked with many coaches and Robert Van Der Heyden is among the best.
His passion and enthusiasm for physical fitness inspire his athletes to push themselves to the next level, whether they are a novice or a seasoned veteran. He possesses the requisite technical expertise regarding all of the lifts, coupled with the rare ability to clearly articulate the steps to athletes in a way they can
understand- whether this means an example, a verbal explanation or a video recording of their own movements.
He is committed to coaching not just physical fitness, but a higher quality of life and the personal investment he makes in his athletes is a rare and invaluable
quality that makes each workout its own reward. Robert’s enthusiasm for CrossFit is infectious and the coaching, competitive environment and high-quality facilities at CrossFit Irvine make this the best gym at which I have ever had the privilege to train.
Associated Students UC Irvine President
My Life forever Changed
June 19, 2009, is the day that my life forever changed. I thought I was having a heart attack and was about to die. I was working full time and going to school in the evenings, which made me push my regular workouts, rest and proper nutrition to the bottom of my priority list. It also had been 2 weeks since I had received word from my doctor that I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called Sjogren’s which runs in my family. It mainly attacks the moisture producing glands in the body and commonly leads to fatigue and lack of concentration, which I had been experiencing for some time. After a battery of tests, it was determined that my case was very mild and that my prognosis would be good as long as I took care of myself through proper nutrition, rest and a regular workout schedule. I returned to my same routine and continued to push on in denial.
On June 19, my body made the decision for me. It first started with chest pain, followed by shortness of breath and then a disoriented feeling. Before I knew it, I was in an ambulance heading for a local ER. The doctor determined that I had not had a heart attack but had suffered a panic attack. Me?!? How could this be? After this, I began to suffer from severe panic attacks and anxiety, which ultimately lead to a bout of depression. I had no energy for anything. I ended up taking 3 months off of work in order to recover and reevaluate my life. I was trying to wrap my mind around not being able push my mind and body to its limits as I had done my entire life. I had been an elite level cyclist who raced my bike on the road and track at the national and international level for 15 years. I could bench 170 lbs., leg press 700 lbs. and squat 300 lbs. Now, I could barely lift myself out of bed and go for a walk around my neighborhood.
As the three months went on, I began to slowly gain energy and the desire to move my body. During my time off, I was trying to find something exercise wise that would re-ignite my fire. I was ready to do something that would improve my overall conditioning along with keeping my interest, challenge me and most important, have fun.
My search came to an end when I discovered CrossFit Irvine. From the moment that I reviewed the website, I knew that I wanted to check this place out. I set up an appointment to go in and meet the owner/coach Robert, learn about CrossFit and to be put through the paces of a baseline fitness test. When I walked into The Box (Crossfit Irvine facility), I was greeted warmly by Robert who then took me on a tour of The Box and explained the principles of CrossFit. During the tour, I began to feel a sense of relief. I knew that this would be the place that I would not only regain a high level of fitness, but also the place that I would be able to gain a level and type of fitness that I never knew that I had the capacity to obtain.
Coach Robert is taking a different approach to fitness by focusing on making CrossFit Irvine and its members feel like a community. It really shows when members know each other’s names and cheer for each other during workouts. Robert is very passionate about CrossFit and is extremely articulate and patient when instructing movements to both new and existing members. This is key for becoming more efficient and becoming more fit. Coach Robert would rather see members lift less weight with correct form than more weight with poor form.
In the 10 years that I spent making a living as a personal trainer before moving out to California, I know that this is not always the focus in many fitness settings. I have watched in horror as clients/members were being coached to lift more weight despite the fact that their form was leading them down the road to injury. Many of those clients became my clients. I have good instincts when it comes to spotting qualified coaches and trainers in a fitness setting. I graduated from The University of North Texas with a major in Psychology and minor Kinesiology and was certified through the American College of Sport Medicine. My instincts and experiences told me that Crossfit Irvine was the place for me.
In the two and half months that I have been going to CrossFit Irvine, I am seeing changes in my overall fitness and my body composition. I have also been given the opportunity to learn gymnastics skills which, honestly, if someone would have asked me to do in the past, I would have thought that they were out of the mind! Now, I am having a blast. Thank you CrossFit Irvine for allowing members to feel apart of a community and making getting into shape so much fun.
Work less achieve more
CFI has been the perfect fitness experience for me! I have a busy business schedule that includes travel. I live in another state and travel to Irvine for business. To my great relief I found Crossfit Irvine and Coach Robert has made it work for me in every way. I actually found that I work less and achieve more in my training at CFI. Now that’s not to say I don’t sweat….I SWEAT!! However, now I have better learned the true art of technique and economy of effort to train your body to peak personal performance.
Thank you CFI! The lessons I have learned will stay with me for the rest of my WOD’s!
Amaya M. Elu Coccodrilli
Strength and Honor
I’m a former enlisted 37fox (Army; PSYOPS) and a former West Point cadet. I joined CrossFit Irvine roughly 4-5 months ago. Ever since the beginning, CrossFit Irvine never fails to amaze me with the workouts and the endless skills and techniques that I have yet to learn. The quality personal coaching CrossFit Irvine has is simply amazing. The coaches are patient, they help you capitalize on your strengths, and also weed out your weaknesses. They are also very knowledgeable in the concepts and have a certain interpersonal tact that makes them understand their members.
I have seen results because of CrossFit and what they teach. I was able to earn the highest Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) score out all of the Cadets in the ROTC Program for UC Irvine and CAL State Long Beach. I give CrossFit credit for giving me the edge to accomplish my personal goal.
The positive motivation and atmosphere CrossFit Irvine fosters gives me the dedication to become physically and mentally fit–aiming for other personal goals (e.g. running a marathon under a certain time, dropping down to a certain body weight) that I never knew that I would be able to do.
After being with them for just a few months–I learned that “being fit” isn’t an obligation or a responsibility. It’s a life style–a CrossFit lifestyle.
Christian M. Peralta
UCI ARMY ROTC Cadet Sergeant
“It is your attitude at the beginning of a task that determines success or failure.”
I am an Athlete
I was turning 30. Although I was playing sports and never had a terrible diet, I wasn’t in the shape I used to be. In college, I was a student-athlete playing golf for the University of Michigan running from class to practice to tournaments. Fast forward…I was the heaviest I had ever been at 118.5 lbs. I didn’t have an issue with my weight, I just knew I wasn’t fit. I couldn’t honestly call myself an athlete anymore.
I decided to join a gym and began going to the kickboxing class two to three times a week. I did not alter my diet but as mentioned before did not have a bad diet (or so I thought). I rarely ate fast food, sweets, soda, and felt like my portions were a good size. After 5 months of not seeing any results, I began to feel frustrated and was voicing my thoughts to a new coworker of mine, Robert Van Der Heyden.
As I began telling Rob of my past months, I found out he used to be a trainer and before I knew it he offered me a 30 day challenge. He said, “Give me 30 days and you’ll get the results you want but you have to really give me the 30 days.” The next day we met and I gave him my goals, while he gave me details on what the next 30 days would entail. Little did I know when he said 30 days, he really meant 90 days. (haha…I have to give him a hard time about that!)
27.5% body fat
Can’t even sniff 1 pull-up
20% body fat
Able to do 10 pull-ups
Increase distance in my golf game (still a competitive amateur golfer)
So began my love for two words: Cross Fit. My already busy life did not have time to add an hour workout before or after work when the gym was packed. Thus, the beauty of Cross Fit: fully comprehensive, insanely intense workouts that I could do during lunch. I started working out 3 times a week and built it up to 5 times a week within a couple months. I changed my diet using portion control. Palm size of protein, vegetables, and carbs.
3 month point:
24% body fat
Extra 5-10 yards on my irons and driver
I didn’t quite reach all my goals but was feeling stronger and healthier. I cut back to working out 3 times a week and maintained my “new” body for the next 3 months, but knew I still could be even leaner.
With the % body fat goal in mind, I asked rob how I could get even leaner. I switched to the zone block diet and within 2 weeks saw a vast improvement:
5 month point:
22% body fat
I can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life at 32. It’s a full time job to be conscious of making time to workout and preparing meals. There are a number of sacrifices, but you choose what’s important in your life. I wanted to be fit…I am an athlete. I believe I can do everything better because I feel stronger, healthier and I believe in my potential. With Rob’s help, I put in the work to get to where I am today and that is the success. Not the numbers.
Lastly, anything is possible if you have the will to do it but if you don’t have the right tools you may never get there. If I kept going to the classes at the gym along with my current diet, I would have surely given up. I put 5 months into trying and doing much more than I used to but the results were not there. Then I put in 5 months with the right tools and the right resources and am in the best shape of my life. Rob set forth the challenge and guided me the entire way. He can do the same for you, you just need to accept the challenge and give it all you have. YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE.
Sharon Park 10/09/2009
California Women’s State Champ 2009
There are two main factors in living a healthy life-style. Nutrition and exercise are the two main components that we all need to master. It is never easy to start something new yet alone something demanding. CrossFit Irvine provides the motivation needed to succeed. Not only is the environment extremely fun, but its equally as demanding. Doing CrossFit with the Irvine group provides something new everyday. I never have to worry about the monotonous workouts I use to do on my own. The “push & pull” days or A,B,C days no longer exist with me. I no longer just work two body parts a day. Instead I give my whole body a demanding workout which both builds strength and lean muscle. I don’t have to worry about gaining too much bulk because CrossFit isn’t based on getting big. Instead its about increasing your over all BMR that allows you to burn more calories during the workout and even continue to burn calories hours after working out. BMR which is your basal metabolic rate is the minimum calorific requirement needed to maintain homeostasis in the body. It’s the amount of calories we burn at rest to maintain our sexy bodies. Doing Crossfit will increase the amount of calories we burn at rest. THAT’S RIGHT BURNING MORE FAT EVEN WHEN WE ARE RESTING! Putting so much effort in the workouts easily convinces you to eat well as well. You wouldn’t even consider wasting all that effort with a cheeseburger afterwards.
The coaches here never stop striving to perfect their skills in instruction. They continue to learn from the best in all aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They are always willing to learn something new and never for a moment think what they have mastered is enough. They not only want to coach the WOD (Workout of day) but educate people on proper lifting to minimize injuries as well proper nutrition. With CrossFit Irvine as a catalyst; anyone willing to succeed indeed will.
James van der Heyden 10/01/2009
B.S Kinesiology & Clinical Exercise
For as long as I can remember people always told me I think too much, care too much, and I am way too sensitive about everything. My mind is like an asylum. Every waking moment I am calculating and checking off things from my never ending to do list. Where do I have to be, what do I have to do, what are other’s thinking of me. That was before Crossfit came into my life.
A year and a half ago, my dear adventurous, going a hundred miles per hour husband got into Crossfit. My husband loves a challenge and is always up for something new, fun, and butt kicking. Unlike my husband, I do not like new things and a challenge is often times embraced with lots of panic attacks and deep breathing. However, what was different this time was the passion, and community vibes I kept hearing him talk about.
The first time I did a WOD was in our tiny garage with another newbie. I don’t even remember the workout, I just remember the room spinning, and wanting to gag and throw up, and my husband’s voice in the distance “Just keep breathing, you are making great time!” I told myself, “Never again…”
It has almost been a year since that first WOD. I feel stronger and I sometimes still feel like gagging, but the biggest thing for me is I am free from my asylum for that one hour. For that one hour, I don’t have to worry where I have to be, I don’t have to worry what other’s think of me. My mind is in true bliss. I push hard and get my butt kick with my family. We laugh together, are in pain together, and talk about what WOD kicked our butts more. With the community, I know I can push harder in life, and I know I can fear a little bit less because I have CrossFit in my life.
So bring it on…I am willing to do whatever it takes. I am CrossFit ready.
I never liked working out. I can’t play sports and I love food too much to go on any diet! That was me before Crossfit.
I started Crossfit because David Q. wanted to try it out, so I joined him. I came to Rob’s CrossFit Irvine on the first day wearing sweat pants and a polo shirt, thinking this would be some typical workout. Boy, was I wrong! I got my butt kicked big time by doing only the fundamental stuff. I sweated so much and I was sore all over for the next two days. Funny thing was, I felt good and rejuvenated even though I could barely move. That’s when I knew that Crossfit was something I could keep doing. To me, Crossfit is like a PE class for kids. You come to work out, laugh, cry and feel pain with friends; but at the same time you push each other to keep going.
After a few months of coming to Rob’s box, I haven’t lost any weight. But I’ve gotten stronger and leaner by trading fat with muscle. For my fellow CFers, you know that I can hypothetically dead lift 2 Konas (my wild chocolate lab)! I can proudly tell you the best thing about Crossfit is this…you don’t have to feel guilty about having a scoop or two of that delicious ice cream after the workout because you know you DESERVE it. Yes, I crossfit for you, my sweet, sweet dessert!