Today is the 8 year Anniversary of our incredible gym! Time is a son of a bitch…
Although some of you have been around since the very early days, most of you don’t know much of our story. I’m feeling nostalgic today, so I thought it time to finally tell a little about our history.
I loved the Ninja Turtles. I would terrorize my sisters after watching an episode, or one of the totally gnarly movies, with my incredibly skillful ninja strikes. So naturally when I went off to college I joined one of the martial arts clubs and started taking classes in Hapkido. I was a kid in a candy store, except the candy was throwing people to the floor, and the kid was a 150lb blonde haired, yeah I was blonde once, never done strength training before athlete of various sports. Up to this point I had played every sport out there, but I never had a strength and conditioning coach. Actually for pole vaulting I didn’t even have a coach. I learned through watching videos of pole vaulters and taught myself by critiquing videos of myself. I don’t advise that route.
The Hapkido and other martial arts instructors at IU were good, end even more they were good at teaching others how to be good martial artists. I practiced constantly but during a long belt test my strength under fatigue failed me and I couldn’t manage the technique. I missed points for not being able to demonstrate the skill. My 4 mile runs and bodybuilding split routine program wasn’t up to the task of applicable fitness, who knew. A friend in the Special Operations community recommended I look at Crossfit, “It’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done.” Solid testimonial.
First workout I did was Murph. Strict. This was before there were any CF instructors, actually this was before anyone other than Greg and Lauren Glassman were doing anything called Crossfit. Body totally ruined I finished in just over an hour. First time I did Fran I added 20 lbs, thinking 95lbs thrusters weren’t that heavy since I had a massive front squat of 185lbs. After 14 minutes I thought, “maybe I did that wrong.” Through the struggle the results in strength, muscle, endurance, and speed I was seeing was enough, I was hooked. I didn’t get it though, and I needed to understand why. Nobody was taking this approach to fitness, and it made so much sense to me. I couldn’t understand why this hadn’t been done before. I read everything from Supertraining, to Starting Strength, old soviet training books translated to english, and though there are brilliant training insights in everything I read, I still had so many questions.
When you can’t find answers, you’re looking in the wrong places. Books didn’t have my answers, so I started experimenting with my own training testing ideas I had about movement selection, intensity, time domains, strength, and jumped into the void face first to answer my questions. Turns out I enjoyed programming my own training though seeing the man behind the curtain I didn’t really trust my own programming, never knowing if I was doing something incredibly stupid, dangerous, wrong, exceptional, groundbreaking, or mediocre. It was the only way I could find to get the answers I wanted. I did find however I was getting better at predicting the next day’s workout on the CF mainsite, and I will say my numbers were improving and I was noticing continued improvement in my martial arts training.
I decided my love of teaching, and my curiosity for answers, would be best served by becoming a strength and conditioning coach. I wanted to help people get stronger, healthier, move better, enjoy being active, and see what they were really capable of. Before I finished college, while still working nights at FedEx and weekends at a hotel, I decided to pursue a career in fitness.
The “gym” at the time was a 288 square foot space office in a aikido dojo. My father knew one of the instructors and she mentioned they had an office space that was unused. We struck a deal and I took every penny I’d been able to save while paying for college, including cashing in my 401k and started Forgedfit. My goal was to be one of the best fitness experts and coaches, and every person that joined I wanted to make them the best I could. I taught every class; 5:30am, 6:30am, 4, 5, 6, and 7pm. 95% of people that came in, stayed for more than a year. At one time the average deadlift for our group of men was over 400lbs! I learned I was doing something right and trusted my instincts and programming, but always looking for ways to make them better. The individuals who wanted to be competitive were doing great in competitions, the individuals wanting to get in better shape were making big strides. I was loving it, but I couldn’t afford groceries or health insurance. I ate off the dollar menu of McDonalds. I hadn’t gone into business for business sake, I only wanted to be one of the best fitness experts. I decided it was time to move to my favorite area, Broad Ripple. I had just met a pretty cool girl and she told me about a space that might be available, so I took a risk and jumped at it.
I have a habit of trying to make things perfect, and over the years I’ve done everything I can to make our programs perfect, our facility one of the best in the country, and be the best coaches in the industry. Since that time we’ve invested over $130k in new equipment, $100k in facility upgrades, 2 facility expansions, and added more coaches and training certifications to our staff to provide the best fitness facility in the country, and I’m not done. I love my job, and even though the fitness industry is a fickle one full of misinformation and strong opinions based on no expertise… I’m glad I chose this career instead of medical school. I love this more.
The last 8 years have flown by. I can barely believe all that’s happened; attending competitions all over the country to watch our athletes do their thing, new friendships and marriages created, live’s changed, and touching moments shared with a group of incredible people all because of one shared goal. Fitness. This next year will be no different than every other year, more improvements to bring the best experience to each one of our awesome members, going to New Zealand for one of our athletes competing at Worlds, more new friends, and the continued search for answers. This next year will the same as the last 8, and so very different. Thank you to each one of you who have been a member or part of our community. We’ve learned a great deal from each of you and will continue to grow and improve as one of the best coaching and fitness facilities in the country. There’s a lot more in store. Stay tuned for another year!