JCFit Member Story – Andreas Hailu

“I came for the workouts but stayed for the community”

I was out of shape for most of my life. I never played sports; I ate a lot of fast food growing up and it was easy to tell. I had a gut for as long as I could remember and my doctors all told me that I was trending towards developing diabetes and living with high blood pressure at a young age. By my sophomore year in high school, I had gotten up to 235 pounds.

I was starting to get concerned when I noticed that I couldn’t really shop at most stores for clothes during the summer prior to my sophomore year. I wore a lot of athletic shorts and pants with elastic waistbands. For my 16th birthday, I asked my mom to get me a membership at a nearby gym and I started doing basic weight training and cardio exercises. I had a consultation with one of the trainers there and they helped me get to figure out some of the basics with my nutrition. I was losing anywhere between 2-3 pounds a week to start, which helped me stay motivated.

By the end of the year, I was able to get under 200 pounds. My blood pressure came down to regular levels and it felt like I reclaimed my life. I was starting to become comfortable in my body.

Going to the gym became a part of my life, but things got boring for me after a few years. I didn’t have any direction. The workout programs I used got repetitive, I couldn’t stick to any diets and I wasn’t really seeing any more results which caused me to lose motivation.

I found myself in these on and off phases of gaining and losing body fat and I wasn’t getting any stronger.

I moved out to New York City after I finished undergrad for work and moved to Jersey City a year after that. I was desperate to change my approach to health and fitness, and CrossFit workouts were something I had heard about. I liked the idea of having a different daily workout as well as having a variety of implements. I Googled gyms that offered CrossFit classes in Jersey City and signed up for the fundamentals series.

The first workout I did a class out of fundamentals was Grace with Janine as the coach. I didn’t know what a hook-grip was, my forearms were killing me, and my thumbs had blisters I didn’t even know you could get. But Janine was there coaching me through how to move in a clean, to power jerk, cycle my reps, and when to breathe. The coaching aspect meant that I’d be bound to learn and improve as long as I was willing to consistently show up and listen. I was hooked!’

It’s been a rewarding progression learning all of these new movements and doing something new each day. I never thought I would be able to deadlift anything over 300 pounds, nevertheless do a muscle-up. The community aspect is amazing — being able to drop into a box when I’m traveling is an awesome concept. You don’t really get that when you’re a member of a globo gym.

I’m the fittest I have ever been and I look forward to the workouts every day. I came for the workouts but stayed for the community.

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