Justin is the proud owner of CrossFit on the River.
After having spent 4 years as a Grunt in the Marine Corps, he found himself to be a borderline fat guy with bad knees desperately seeking a new and interesting way to stay in shape. After a second knee surgery, a surgeon told him that, 1. He had the worst knees of anybody his age that he’d ever seen, 2. He should NEVER run again and, 3. He’d be lucky to make it to 50 without getting total knee replacements.
Then, along comes CrossFit. Having been introduced to CrossFit by his brother, Justin found a fitness program that not only bucked the conventional wisdom of “running is the only way to stay in shape”, but was fun as hell too! CrossFit became a way to stay fit for his job as a fireman AND help rehab his knees to the point of little to no daily pain.
Justin uses CrossFit to help his clients to physically get the most out of their daily lives. Originally from the land of the Buckeyes (Columbus, Ohio), Justin works as a fulltime Firefighter / Paramedic for the Cincinnati Fire Department. He loves to climb, although he’s not very good at it, and has spent some time in Mamelodi, South Africa working with the medical mission non-profit Engage Mamelodi.
“I never stuck with any sport growing up. Either we moved to a new state, there wasn’t a girls’ team, or I was bored and quit altogether. That pattern somewhat continued into my adulthood, with running being my most consistent activity. In my 30s, I ran a couple of 10 Ks and a handful of 5Ks….not much of a running career.
My running “career” came to a halt after a waterskiing accident in 2007. I tore 2 ligaments in my knee. That led to knee surgery, 3 months of crutches, no driving, and a lot of physical therapy. I learned the importance of mobility and independence quickly! The doctor said running was a very bad idea and my range of motion would be forever compromised. Really? Now what should I do to stay active?
Looking for something, I found CrossFit. Well….not exactly. CrossFit found me. I watched my daughter’s soccer team train with CrossFit for 5 months. Yep, for 5 whole months I watched. I was full of excuses why I shouldn’t or couldn’t give it a try; my knee being the greatest reason.
But once I did try, well, the rest is history! CrossFit is that “something more” that I longed for in fitness; really my whole life. It’s never boring and always challenging. It’s functional fitness at its best. I move better now than I did 20+ years ago. My knee rarely bothers me as my strength and flexibility continue to improve. (Yes, you can and should squat if you have “bad” knees. I know. It’s shocking!) The supportive atmosphere at CrossFit OTR encourages me to push a little harder, go a little faster, to keep moving a little longer, and accomplish things I never dreamed I could do.
So after 18 years of teaching in classroom with chalk, I now teach in a “box” with chalk for your hands.
I spent most of my life in the Globo gym doing conventional weight lifting and over 20 years of Army physical fitness which consists of run, run, run with some pushups and sit ups. At the ripe old age of 41, I went to war. After spending a year of humping a huge rucksack, body armor, and weapon through the mountains of Afghanistan and getting smoked, I knew when I came home that my fitness regime had to change.
The sole purpose of an Airborne Ranger is to move long distances with heavy loads, do it quickly and then be able to fight when you get there. I knew I had to get stronger while maintaining good cardio. So, I pieced together different training strategies and started the process of getting “more fit”. After a few weeks into my new program, another member of my workplace fitness center came up and asked me if I was doing Crossfit. Standing there scratching my head, I replied “What the hell is CrossFit?” The rest, as they like to say, is history.
I became a main site junky anxiously waiting up every night for the next day’s WOD to be posted. Eventually I bought my own kettle bells, made my own set of rings and hung a rope outside from a tree. As I went through the daily WODS, I received a lot of funny looks; although, I receive them regardless. Gradually a few of my friends came over, drank some of the Kool-Aide and also became hooked.
Over the period of 2 years, our crew grew to about 10 people. In theory I was the expert Crossfitter; in reality I knew enough to be dangerous. I realized it was time to get the formal training and become a Level 1 instructor.
Training other people has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been doing it for almost 30 years in the Army and now here at CrossFit OTR. The personal satisfaction gained from using my knowledge and experience to help others lead enjoyable, productive lives, no matter what age, is immeasurable.
My CrossFit journey started in February 2010 – Having been a three sport athlete in school and immediately gaining the Freshman 15 (30?) in college…to say I was in a rut would be an understatement. Throughout college and a couple years thereafter, I bounced back and forth between 30 min running intervals, 5Ks and the occasional crunches and machines. In October of 2009, I ran into Laura Moore at a 5K run at Versailles Park and she told me about CrossFit on the River—it caught my interest.
A couple of months later, Mom and I decided to join the February 2010 On Ramp class. This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was INSTANTLY hooked. It was competitive and humbling all at the same time. Soon after starting, I saw major improvements in my fitness level and my endurance…and I was having fun! I know people say this all the time and it may not seem authentic to many, but CrossFit truly CHANGED MY LIFE.
I love the healthy competition and the constantly varied workouts as well as the CrossFit Family I have gained, which includes my Husband, Mom & Step Dad! The encouragement and support given to all of our members continues to amaze me. Watching people change and realize their potential, which in turn improves their self-confidence is what motivates me. I received my Level 1 certification in August 2012 and I am excited to share my passion and enthusiasm of CrossFitwith such an amazing group of athletes.