Losing 100 pounds is a big deal. Not just because it’s a lot of weight but because of the commitment and sacrifice it takes to get there.

So when my gym buddy from Osprey Athletics Gareth Stephenson quietly confirmed to me that he was approaching that milestone, I asked if he would be comfortable sharing that fact with more than just the class of fellow 6am devotees that he works out with almost every day. So we did an interview on camera. I asked about how he got started, what the process was like, how he managed scaling in the beginning and worked his way up to doing movements without scaling, what his goals are, what it was like in his first CrossFit Open… he was open, talked about the challenges getting there, what motivated him to get started, and the support he felt from his wife (also an Osprey athlete, who got him interested in the beginning), the community and the coaches at Osprey.

Paul Brothers, Gareth Stephenson, Jean St-Amand on Global News Morning

Gareth made a fundamental change in his lifestyle. It wasn’t just working out. It was changing his diet. It was making fitness part of his every day life and benefiting from that new and increasing level of fitness in his every day life outside of the gym. It was about the friendships and support he found in the gym.

We chatted for about 25 minutes on camera. I then took some video of Gareth over a few days in class working out with his classmates. And after a few edits, cut together a 5 minute video telling Gareth’s story in his own words. I also put together a brief video capturing the small celebration we held at the gym to mark Gareth’s achievement.

We shared the video on social media, not just within our Osprey community but also with the public and it reached several thousand views with many people sharing it with others. We were also lucky enough to have CrossFit HQ take notice. They reposted the video on their own social media channels and the video went viral, with almost 20,000 views on Facebook and more than 37,000 on Instagram

Gareth’s story also got the attention of one of the local news stations. Global News Morning in Halifax invited Gareth on the program to talk about the story, and I was lucky enough to be invited to go with Gareth to represent Osprey and talk about CrossFit and Gareth’s story from the coaching perspective, while discuss how the video came to be.

Gareth’s story is unique to him but there are many other athletes achieving significant milestones with a lifestyle commitment like his – we have many stories like that at Osprey. Granted, not everyone will love 100 pounds, but many will reach personal milestones along that way that are every bit as much worth celebrating. The first 5 pounds lost, the first 5km run, the first pull-up, the first handstand, or finishing a benchmark workout a minute faster than the last time you tried it. There are many measures of success along the way when fitness is part of your every day routine.

The athletes I have the pleasure of coaching and the Osprey coaches I am fortunate enough to work with inspire me. They inspire me to try to help others realize goals – however small – along their fitness journey. They inspire me to put in the effort myself as an athlete. And they help keep successes and challenges in perspective, both inside and outside of the gym.

Being part of the CrossFit community is as rewarding as the workouts are challenging. Anyone can do it. You just have to make the decision and you’ll never look back.

So if you’re in the Halifax area and you’re looking for a lasting change to your lifestyle rather than just a gym membership, I’d encourage you to look up Osprey Athletics and come try a class. And if you’re from further away, check out map.crossfit.com to find a CrossFit affiliate near you.

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