Kilo is not only a building with weights, boxes, bars, etc. That is obviously necessary to get the work done. However, it’s the people there (coaches, people I work out with, etc.) that have been a huge part of helping me become a better person physically, mentally and spiritually. I started when the Women’s S&C group began on Viking because I was in the right place at the right time. I was there watching my daughter at one of her first XL sessions with Travis to see what it was all about. While sitting in the corner, trying to be inconspicuous, Amy Lynch approached me and told about the women’s group starting the following Monday. At that point I had nothing to lose but pounds. I’m guessing I weighed 160+ (with a high BMI), had bad eating habits and was beginning to not see an end in sight. However, something intrigued me about it. I think it was mostly gaining healthy friendships. SO, on the following Monday I got my butt to the gym. Immediately, I felt like I wanted to be a part of whatever this Kilo thing was all about. It took me 4-6 weeks of going 4 times a week to lose 1-2 pounds but then I started to see physical changes quickly. However, most importantly, I was gaining, what I still feel today, life-long friendships with a group of wonderful women and was becoming mentally stronger and developing better habits in my life. I have lost pounds and inches, and can do some of the CrossFit movements, but gained so much more in amazing friendships, confidence in what I can do physically and mentally (not only while working out but just dealing with life’s challenges), and being able to be the person that I was designed to be in my “later years” (UGH) in life! I am not afraid to try new things and am feeling great! I now know what it feels like to have a ton of energy, feel alert and live in the moment while living a healthy lifestyle that I am not willing to sacrifice again..All thanks to the awesome Kilo team and members that have been a great example, supported and have encouraged me the entire way!
My transformation at Kilo is both physical and mental. A few years ago I walked into my doctors office crying because I looked in the mirror and realized all of the weight I had gained was in no way from muscle as I had been telling myself. As someone who dealt with an eating disorder as a teenager, my body had made its rounds from much too skinny to be healthy to overweight and unhealthy. I didn’t want to feel the way I felt any longer. Lethargic, unmotivated, weak. I focused my efforts on not skipping workouts that I didn’t feel like doing and I showed up to the gym every day. I spent time researching nutrition and what I was putting into my body. Most importantly I stopped letting stress be an excuse to be lazy and complacent. Physical health and emotional health are tied so closely together and with some shifted focus I was finally able to find that balance somewhere along the way. Flash forward to today and nearly 40 pounds are gone! The Gym is the place I go to daily not only make my body stronger and healthier, but to get my mind right. When I’m having a good day, I go to the gym to hit a new PR or crush a hard workout. On the bad days, I go to surround myself with uplifting people and sweat out some stress. I can’t thank these people enough for what they’ve done for me over the last 3.5 years. My next goal…find some abs under there!
My transformation has been slow but mighty. I started at The Gym in 2013 at the age of 47. A good friend convinced me to come to Kilo with her, and I signed up that day. My fitness level was poor to say the least. I remember my first class, Sarah said run to the mailbox and back. I ran to the mailbox and stopped. Someone told me if you have to stop, count to 3 then keep going. I hadn’t run in years, I couldn’t do a pushup, and I had never touched a barbell or kettlebell in my life. I felt pretty low about myself that day. Since then, CrossFit has raised my self-esteem and helped me drop 4 sizes. I recently joined Kilo’s nutrition class this past year and it has helped me improve my eating habits greatly, especially looking at food as fuel. I found that I was starving myself and not eating enough so I’ve changed that. Now I feel better and have more energy, which has helped improve my performance. Nutrition class keeps me accountable to stick with healthy eating. CrossFit also has helped my mental toughness. I love cycling and I’ve done RAGBRAI the past 7 years. Last year was the first year I completed the whole ride. I felt especially proud because it was very hilly and the hardest RAGBRAI that I’ve ever done. I know CrossFit helped me complete that ride. I’ve learned to face fear. Lifting heavy weights I think helps you manage fear. Becoming stronger has helped me ride my bike at speeds up to 36 mph going down a huge hill, or facing a hill that’s a mile long going up. Since CrossFit is about functional fitness, you become confident in doing a lot of different things. This past year I stepped out of my comfort zone and went deer hunting for the first time, and I had an awesome experience. I thank God for putting Armand and Sarah and all the other Kilo trainers in my life. They are the real deal, and always very encouraging and willing to work with you. Thanks Kilo for all your help and support. You are the best!
Most fitness transformation stories focus on what the person has lost — pounds, inches, pant sizes — but my story is really all about what I’ve gained since becoming a member at CrossFit Kilo. A busy mom with a demanding career, my 30’s hit me hard. My idea of exercise was an occasional chatty power walk while pushing a stroller, which certainly wasn’t enough to undo the effects of years of unhealthy eating and the totally-worth-it aftermath of having four babies. Joining the world of group fitness dramatically changed the trajectory of my journey. I initially came to Kilo just over four years ago, looking for a new challenge. I was a self-described “cardio whore” who had no idea how enamored with skinny I really was. I’ve gained over 20 pounds since then. I’ve also gained:
-a whole new appreciation for my body and what it can do. I have learned that my body is an amazing thing that I can count on, not something to scrutinize, despise, and perfect.
-an incredible sense of adventure that has spread to my entire family. We now seek family fun that is active and challenges us both physically and mentally.
-a community that has supported me to do things I never imagined possible — a marathon, a handstand on the beach, fitness competitions, and more.
-a drive to become a better version of myself. I’m never the strongest, the fastest, or the most skilled, but I am always challenged to set and achieve goals that make me better.
My transformation has been a transformation of the mind and the body, and I’m certainly not done yet.
As I reflect on the last two years that I have been part of the Kilo family there are many things that come to mind. When I began this journey I must say that it was never easy but I always told myself that the possibility of being physically and emotionally healthy was a possibility. I spent many years making poor health decisions but a friend of mine encouraged me to get involved and commit to change. I always told myself that the two most important things were to show up and it only hurt on the outside . But so much more happened on this journey. I made friends that encouraged me, I accepted my limitations and learned how to push the envelope, I became very conscientious about my diet. I have learned the joys and benefits of the physical and emotional experience of exercising. It has become a non negotiable lifestyle for me. I never go to compete against others but I compete with myself and explore the possibilities of a healthy lifestyle for a 45 year old man. It has been rewarding in so many ways. Today I can say that I am healthier and happier than I have been in many years. It has not come without the price of commitment that needs to be made but I would encourage anyone that is ready to take that first step to do it. And if you need a workout buddy you can count on me. Live life and push the possibilities. You can do it.
I spent the better part of last summer on crutches as a result of a ski jump, some “good friends” and a small amount of peer pressure. Let’s just say I had 12 weeks to “reflect” while my entire hamstring was healing after being 100% torn, then surgically reattached to my ishium. I’m fairly certain that without having done CrossFit for 4 years at that time, I don’t think I would have had the confidence to get pulled over that jump (so I guess I can blame Armand, somehow). I was way out of my comfort zone as I only waterski once a year or less. But now, being out of my comfort zone was the norm. However, I have absolutely no doubt the base I had built before my injury gave me the ability to rest for 12 weeks without losing a ton of muscle mass. I know I had some atrophy (I lost about 10 pounds), but feel like all the work I had done in the previous years set me ahead of schedule from day one. I think the most important part of my recovery was the fact that I was pissed that I had to rest that long and couldn’t wait to get back. I felt like I was just wasting all the work I had put in the previous years and now that I couldn’t do it, I missed it more than I ever thought I would. Just to be clear, I am a pretty average guy, but now that regular lifting, CrossFit workouts, and BSing with good friends at the buttcrack of dawn were part of my routine, I was not willing to give that up. Prior to The Gym, my mindset would have been to milk that injury for all its worth. I bet I could have pulled off 12 months of “sit on my ass” excuses while I waited to get better. Instead, I was nearly full strength 3 months after I ditched the crutches. My excellent surgeon, Dr. Todd Johnston, predicted a 12 month recovery. I learned a tough lesson last summer, but it is pretty cool to know that as I recovered and am approaching 40, I am stronger than I ever have been in my life, not afraid to try new things, and can still outrun, but not outski, my teenage kids.
My journey at Kilo started many light years ago, back when CrossFit wasn’t all over television or social media. My first day at Kilo was an eye opening experience as I witnessed people flying over bars that were six feet high while others were throwing 100 kilos around like it was nothing. I was intimidated and out of my element. As I got ready to high tail it out of the gym Armand stopped me dead in my tracks and said if I tried CrossFit for at least one month that I would be hooked for life. I remember politely smiling, turning away and rolling my eyes as there was no way I could actually find a gym I liked and stay there for years… right? I look back and laugh as it has been over eight years since my journey started at Kilo and I can’t imagine a better place to be.
The first few years were hard for me. Not only was I learning new movements I was also learning a lot about myself. I was in fact weak, both physically and mentally. Over the years CrossFit has taught me to push myself beyond the limits I had set for myself. It has forced me to change my eating habits and for the first in my life I don’t obsess over the scale. CrossFit has also taught me patience. If I wanted to do the RX movements I had to put in the work. It wasn’t going to happen overnight (like it sometimes does with those young bucks) The last few years have been the most rewarding for me. This is the time when I found my beloved 4:30am family (my ‘rabbits’ if you will). The ones who have pushed me beyond my comfort zone, put more weight on my bar without me knowing, convinced me I could be up on the wall of fame, and so on… If you would have asked me when I first started if I would ever do a muscle up or see my name on the top of the list for a benchmark WOD I would have laughed for days. Here I am today with both of those things checked off my list.
More than anything, I have learned to never give up. Some workouts can be brutal and mentally exhausting but having my morning family and coach cheering me on keeps the drive alive, even if I am the last one standing… which is another reason I love CrossFit, you will never complete a workout alone as there is always someone cheering you on. I am so glad I was stopped in my tracks all those years ago. I am in the best shape I have ever been because of CrossFit and look forward to smashing the new goals I’ve set for myself. I challenge others to find their home, wherever it may be and if you are brave enough to come to Kilo, let alone the 4:30am class, we would happily welcome you with open arms… just don’t take our lifting rack ????
My name is Dan Erskine. I am 59 years old. I’ve been married for 35 years to my wife Darla. I have 2 grandchildren with the third one on the way. I own my own insurance agency in Waverly, IA. I found Kilo Trained in Waverly in the fall of 2014. I was just looking for something to help me lose about 15 pounds and a couple of notches on my belt. My plan was to achieve this in 3 months and then be on my way. Well that was 3 ½ years ago and I’m still here. I got addicted to CrossFit training. It was a lot of things. It was the getting excited again about competing. It is setting new pr’s. Doing things I’ve never done before like ring muscle ups and double-unders. It’s also about the making of new friendships. Everybody is so encouraging and in your corner to help you meet your goals. I remember being so excited the first time I deadlifted 100 kilos. My deadlift is now 135 kilos. I was lucky to make 1 rope climb and now I can easily do 10. It has given me new confidence and I got my abs back! I also do it for my health and my grandkids!
After I completed my first CrossFit workout, a mini one Kate gave me during the intro class, I was very figuratively dying. I wasn’t used to working out; the last time I worked out regularly was in senior year of high school. After over four years of eating without any thought for nutrition and exercising probably a total of three times a year, I had to finally come to terms with my almost nonexistent fitness. That first workout was so hard for me to finish but when I recovered I came to the conclusion that it was actually fun (also if I don’t workout my body is going to go to the shitz :P). After the first month of On Ramp, I was nervous transitioning into regular classes where the members looked so extraordinarily athletic. How would I even be able to complete those workouts? It couldn’t have been possible without the amazing Kilo community. Almost instantly, I found out that everyone is so friendly and encouraging. The coaches always make sure to scale the workout to my abilities. I know the workout will be challenging but doable. When I am the last one left completing the workout the coaches and the other members would stay with me and push me to finish strong. That is one of the things that kept me coming back — how supportive everyone is. CrossFit Kilo helped me build my confidence to be able to push myself out of my comfort zone to become stronger not just physically but also mentally. Throughout the past year and half I have grown to love working out as it gives me the opportunity to better understand my strengths and weaknesses. Joining Kilo has taught me how to enjoy working out; what was once a chore (that I gladly sacrificed every time I had the opportunity to, which was a lot) became a hobby that I look forward to doing everyday.
I have been a member of The Gym since 2011, working out typically 5 days a week over those years. Throughout this time I never participated in the nutrition challenges or seminars as I THOUGHT I had a good handle on my body composition because my weight didn’t change much, while still gaining strength (Armand would still say I have chicken legs). I would typically
fluctuate week to week within a few pounds on the scale, pending typical weekend activities. A few years ago I started using my fitness pal as a way to gauge my intake but it was never really based on my specific objective to lose body fat, due to not knowing what my intake needed to be. November 2018 , I decided to do the body composition testing along with a nutrition session with Sarah to understand my macros. This was eye opening for a few reasons. First, I was not eating enough calories every day. Second, within that, I was eating half the amount of carbohydrates I should. I was skeptical at first thinking “how is more calories and carbs going to
help me lose body fat?” I committed to tracking a minimum of 6 days a week, with one day to enjoy myself. This completely changed my energy level for everything I did. I felt less fatigue in the gym each morning and didn’t have that mid-afternoon slump of energy/focus as I did before.
My body fat has decreased while my lean mass has increased. I am convicted this is something I will continue to do to keep me on track!
In my life, 2018 was an awful year. It was full of good friends leaving us too early, friends dealing with illness, and my own personal issues. I was at a weight that I had never been before and was always tired and irritable. My confidence and self-esteem were at an all time low. I knew I needed to do something. I knew that there are many things in life that you cant control but my overall health, fitness, and attitude were things I could control. I just didn’t know where to start. I started talking to some of my “in shape” friends and they recommended The Gym. So I decided to give it a try and hope that maybe I could stick with it a few months and lose a few pounds.
I won’t lie I was intimidated at first but The Gym and CrossFit Kilo is much more than “a gym”. It has become a family. I have never been in a fitness environment that has people of all skill levels giving so much support to each other. It isn’t about competition although that is an aspect of it. It
is about personal growth and achievement and everyone helps each other reach personal goals. I have found some great people and great friends in my 5 AM class.
The Gym is different as they take a holistic approach to fitness. It is about mental toughness, personal achievement, cardio and strength. It is not about fad diets. Its about finding a healthy balance with both fitness and nutrition. After a couple of months I was seeing great progress but
wanted more. In September I began to work with Sarah on a personal nutrition plan. I have always been leery of diets because lets face it, I didn’t know how to eat right and selfishly I didn’t want to sacrifice anything. Sarah worked with me to build a plan that was about finding balance in my diet and eating what my body needed. I travel a lot for work that can easily become an excuse to cheat on diets. I used it as a motivator. I learned to pack my food and travel with a cooler. I learned that Caseys and Kwik Star DO have healthy options.
In the last few months I have lost nearly 30 pounds and 5% body fat. I am now at a weight I haven’t seen in over 20 years. My energy has skyrocketed. I am happy with myself and my confidence has increased. To me one of the biggest things I have gained from The Gym is what I have learned about myself. I have competed in a couple of competitions and completed the
Mental Toughness camp. I have learned that what I thought were my limits both physically and mentally were only there because I was weak. I have so much more to give than I ever realized. I have learned that my body is as strong as my mind will let it be and a strong mind makes for a strong body. I used to tell myself to stop because I can’t. Now I tell myself don’t stop because I know I can.
I can’t thank the staff at The Gym or the people there enough. They may not realize but they have changed me and the course of my life. They have made me a better person both physically and mentally. They have helped me become a better husband, dad, and friend. They have helped me reach limits that I thought once were unreachable. Has it taken work? Yes. Has it
taken dedication and discipline? Yes. Has it been worth it? Hell yes! I originally hoped to stick with it a few months to lose a few. Now it is my lifestyle. I feel guilty when I miss my class due to travel. Early on it was a struggle to get up at 4:30 in the morning, now I am normally up before
my alarm goes off. If you are looking to become a better you and want something that will challenge you every day, come out and give The Gym a shot.
The Gym has provided me with the opportunity to work harder than I ever knew possible, and push myself past many barriers that have come up in the last year. I struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of my son in June of 2018. Knowing that exercise was something that would get me out of my “funk” was so much harder than I can explain, I didn’t have the motivation or strength to push through my own walls to get back to feeling like me. Working in the fitness industry as a Wellness Director, I am always advising my members on what to do and how to do it, but I was struggling so much myself and couldn’t take my own advice. Thankfully, a dear friend invited me to The Gym and I am forever thankful for her, the coaching staff, and Armand and Sarah for truly saving my life. I can’t say that I would be in the same mental or physical shape that I am in without their guidance and love for what they do. This community and space has made me fall back in love with myself, my love for my job, but most importantly it has given me the opportunity to be an even better wife and mother to my family.