While running his family business as a demolition contractor, Carlos was a typical attendee of a commercial gym with some kickboxing on the side. Managing his company takes a lot of time and Carlos was able to fit in exercise that way for a while. But this year, Carlos wanted to change up his routine. After coming across several sources mentioning Reason Fitness and seeing them on Instagram, Carlos decided this “CrossFit” gym had potential. Reason was conveniently located on the way home from work, so he gave it a shot.
At first, he wasn’t sure about the whole CrossFit deal. He was used to the commercial gym life, where you went there to bench press all day and compare how much you were benching to the other guy across from you. When asked about his fitness background, Carlos had an immediate answer: “None. I’m the most unathletic person you’ll ever meet. I have no coordination, I have two left feet – and that’s why I always steered away from CrossFit-type gyms. My lack of sports doesn’t really lend itself to CrossFit movements. I’ve never been that guy.” But for some inexplicable reason, Carlos decided not to count it out.
It was like going from zero to a hundred, real quick. This was nothing like kickboxing or bench pressing. He had never needed to coordinate his movement across multiple body parts for something like a clean or a snatch. It felt like sensory overload in a way. At first when he heard he was going to have to go through 9 Rooted sessions to learn movement, he thought, “Can I just go in and pick some weights up and do my own thing and go about my day?” As a busy guy, he raised an eyebrow at the extensive movement training. But he didn’t count it out. Through those sessions with his Hybrid coach Miguel, Carlos just kept working at it. Just kept trying to feel the right muscles working and moving his body the right way. As each Rooted session went by, Carlos started realizing how crucial it was to coordinate his entire body into smooth, functional movement. This functional movement, Carlos discovered, was the key to thriving in running his contracting business and living life. Carlos never did burpees at his previous gym, but here at Reason, he doesn’t count them out. He hates them, but they’re how you get up off the ground after falling. They are realistic. And Carlos is all about that.
When asked how he’s grown the most since those first Rooted sessions, Carlos counters this with a laugh.
“I’ll tell you how I’ve UN-grown! I’ve shrunk. When I first signed up, Eric gave me a little bag with a Reason shirt, and asked me what size I wanted. I said I’d take a XXL, but to give it to me later because it’s not going to fit me. He gave it to me anyway and I put it on when I got home, and I was sad because it didn’t fit. Yesterday, I took my father out for dinner and the darn thing fit! And it fit without me having to suck in my gut. I walked around with that Reason shirt all day, so happy. So I guess it’s the opposite. I’ve grown by shrinking.”
These days, work is still busy for Carlos. He’s tied to both computer screens, the office phone, and his cell phone. But after work, he goes to Reason for 6:30 PM class, and he leaves his phone in the car, and the sense of release he experiences in that part of the day – whether it’s running 400m outside or rowing on the deck – is incredible.
Carlos has some sage advice to people looking for a new gym, and considering CrossFit:
“Don’t just automatically think that CrossFit isn’t your cup of tea. Give it a shot. Then you’ll realize just as much as I did that you CAN like it and you DO fit in. You fit because you’re just exactly like everyone else that’s there in the gym. I was telling my dad about this at dinner yesterday – the sense of community you get from everyone there is something else.
“For example, there’s this guy – his name is Scott, but I call him Rocky – this older Asian guy, he’s there working out just about every day, and one of these days there was this running workout. I hate running! It was like five rounds with 400m runs or something like that, and I was on the second-to-last run. I was so tired, on the verge of quitting, that round. Anyways, Scott had already done the 5:30 PM class. But Scott was there standing outside the gym waiting for me to come back in from that run. He was telling me, ‘Come on, Carlos – you got it!’ and cheering me on and waving. But I was like ‘No, man, I’m tired, I’m done’, and slowing down to walk. Then, he starts jogging towards ME. He already did this workout an hour ago, at 5:30! But he ran the rest of that lap with me, and we finished the run together. I went back inside for one last round. When I got to the last run, Scott told me, ‘Come on, Carlos, I’m going to run with you,’ and I was kind of hoping he wouldn’t, because I was just going to walk it. And I was like ‘Man, I can’t let this old guy show me up.’ So I said, ‘Alright. Let’s sprint this last part then, full blast. Like Rocky and Apollo Creed, the last scene.’ And we just ran. And ever since then, I’ve called him ‘Rocky’.”
Carlos can’t stress the fact that you’re not just a number at Reason. You’re more than just a member. You’re a part of a family. There are so many times during workouts where Carlos doesn’t think he has any more gas in the tank, and the 6:30 PM class crowds around him to cheer him on. At first he thought it was a little creepy, but he found that their cheering kept working some sort of weird magic, summoning a final ounce of energy for him to finish the workout. He describes it as this incredible Hulk vibe where he feels like he can rip off his shirt, yell a war cry, and then do 20 more wallballs. That’s not something you really experience at a commercial gym where everyone’s just side-eyeing each other’s bench presses.
Good thing he didn’t count it out.