2020FIT: Local firefighter has Crossfit to thank for new lease on life

Dear 2020,

I wanted to write you a long-overdue letter thanking you for all that you and Crossfit have done to improve my life.

First: the shoes you gave me are awesome. Literally the best pair of shoes I have ever owned by a factor of at least two. Thank you so much.

Second: My journey with the Crossfit community happened basically by accident. In the summer of 2017, I was diagnosed with “non-celiac gluten intolerance”, a seemingly benign diagnosis of a disease process that had left me feeling constantly weak (prior to diet changes) and grossly underweight. Additionally, I had accepted a position as a Firefighter/Paramedic at a local fire department. My employer waived the requirement that I will be a Firefighter pending my commitment to becoming one. I knew that I needed to make changes in my lifestyle in order to be successful in my new role. I also knew that merely running long distances, my historical way of pursing exercise, would not get me there. Surfing the Internet, I found a huge community of people who were focused on exercise and eschewing gluten from their diets – Crossfit. Consequently, I became a member of 2020.

My first six months of Crossfit were incredibly challenging. Despite this, I quickly noted progress in my own fitness. I felt much stronger and was capable of performing all sorts of physical tasks I had in the past more easily. Perhaps most importantly, in CrossFit I had an outlet that allowed me to perform an hour’s worth of work to feel genuinely accomplished for the rest of the day.

Crossfit became a nearly daily routine and I found myself surrounded by a community of people who were committed to improving themselves. As my strength and endurance grew, so did my confidence and self-worth.

The last year of my life has seen all sorts of personal victories, largely attributable directly or indirectly to Crossfit:

  • Graduation from the University of Chicago with a Masters of Science in Threat and Response Management
  • Graduation from the Fire Academy
  • Successful completion of Firefighter I & Firefighter II certifications + HAZMAT Awareness & HAZMAT Operations
  • Normalization of my sleep cycle
  • “Outgrowing” my 70 lb. weight vest for stair workouts (20+ minutes of exertion to a fast aerobic heart rate), anticipating a modifiable 150 lb. weight vest for Christmas
  • The transition from scaled Crossfit workouts to normally prescribed ones in most cases
  • Authentic but non-quantifiable improvements in every imaginable way to my physical and emotional health

In short, my life is immensely better thanks in large part to Crossfit. The culture of 2020 has helped me meet my fitness goals. There is no way I can thank you enough.

Matt