CrossFit Bezel's Client Success Stories

Our success is measured in what we can help you achieve. Hear what some of CrossFit Bezel's client have to say about their success & the work we love to do.

Ryan Webb

I was always an athlete. For most of my adolescent and adult life, my world revolved around track and field. I ran in high school, and then for VCU. I never really thought about life after serious track competitions ended, but eventually it did end. So I spent the next 4 years coaching and looking for something to do for myself in my down time. It was then that I finally gave Crossfit a try. My Crossfit journey did not start at Crossfit Bezel. It started at a gym that threw a brand new member and novice lifter directly into the fire, only to quickly and somewhat frighteningly injure my lower back. So I left, and decided at that point that Crossfit really must be what you see on the news. About 6 months later my wife, Katy, and I noticed that a Crossfit box had moved into the old karate place less than a mile from our house. My wife wanted to give it a shot, and I promised her that if she liked it that I would join once the school year ended. So in January 2014 Katy went through her elements classes, and joined the gym. I was impressed to see the elements classes and hear that Katy was being taught and coached through every movement. She came home excited about what she was doing, and encouraged me to join earlier than the summer. So in March of 2014 all of the FUn began. From the first night that I met with Chris and Taylor I knew that things would be different. They tested me in all of the lifts to make sure that I wasn’t going to hurt myself or anyone else, but more than anything they coached me. I quickly found my strengths, weaknesses, and physical flaws. When these flaws showed up Chris and Taylor always had a recommendation of how to work on it. No where was this more noticed that in my hip mobility. When I was playing soccer in middle school I tore both of my hip flexors over the course of two years. Because of this, the mobility in my hips has always been limited, and any time that I would quickly transition from squatting to standing my hips would catch. After four months of dedicated hip mobility work, I was pain free and able to touch my rear end to my heels in a squat with no pain.

My weight was another issue that I was battling in the years since my running career ended. In college my racing weight was around 150 pounds, but with three years of low motivation and bad eating I had puffed up to 190. I had never been “soft” before in my life, so to get to this point in my mid-twenties was something that I was really having a hard time with. So when I started at CFB I also got their nutrition guide. What seemed like radical changes at the time, really just turned out to be eating clean whole foods that make you feel good. Cooking was always a passion of mine, but within the past year my love for cooking has taken off. Knowing that I am preparing food that is going to 1) taste good and 2) nourish my body is incredible, and empowering. The nutrition coupled with the workouts made the weight fall off, and I am happy to say that I am now back at my racing weight, leaner, and a better all-around athlete than I ever was, even when racing in college.

My physical accomplishments in the gym have shocked me as well. I am not a big guy, so I didn’t come into the strength and weight lifting world with big expectations. Thanks to Chris and Taylor’s coaching I have found that I am actually pretty good at this whole strength and fitness game, and I continue to improve. When I started I couldn’t snatch 60lbs. to save my life, which to say the least was humbling. In one short year I have doubled my Snatch PR to 120lbs., improved my clean and jerk to 175lbs., and have gone from squatting under 200lbs to 285lbs. One of my more emotional moments was on September 18th, 2014..... When I hurt my back during my first crossfit experience it was during a deadlift at 185lbs. Needless to say anytime I stood over a heavy bar after that I was somewhat nervous. So when “attempt new Deadlift PR” showed up on the board I was ready to put the movement in its place. As I went through the weights, 225-250-265-275 they all felt smooth, but I knew where I wanted my PR to end that day. So as I loaded 285lbs. onto the bar and stood over it I took a moment to reflect on how far I had come in such a short time. Here I was ready to attempt a weight 100lbs heavier than the one that had put me out of the other gym. As the bar slid up my shins and over my knees, the whole experience just seemed surreal.

ryan's deadlift

So to cap off 1 year in this new crazy Crossfit life, I decided that I would take on the challenge of the 2015 Crossfit Open. This has pushed my limits, shown me that I have come incredibly far, and shown me what I have yet to master.

I don’t know if there is a facet of my life that hasn’t been changed in some way by my experiences with Chris and Taylor. A new dedication to my health, a new sport to challenge me, new ideas that help me coach my own runners, new “dates” with my wife, but most of all a new family of support. I have seen many lives changed around me over the past 12 months, and I am proud to have been there with them. I also look forward to getting more involved with the goings-on around the box this summer, as Bezel starts to roll out its new Bezel Endurance Classes.

In summary, Chris, Taylor, and my CFB Family…….Thanks!

Ryan Webb

 

Ryan - February 2014

Ryan - February 2014

Ryan - March 2015

Ryan - March 2015

Katy Webb

We all have different stories and reasons for starting at CrossFit Bezel and I'd love to share mine in honor of my CrossFit coaches, Chris and Taylor. I was a competitive athlete for the majority of my 26 years of life. I played in U-7 recreational leagues all the way up through Division 1 college soccer. Being an athlete was my primary identity. Unfortunately, I haven’t always been blessed with the best health. When I was 16 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer and underwent harsh  chemotherapy/radiation. I was lucky enough to be declared “in remission” in 2004 but my body has never been the same. I lost all fitness, endurance, muscle mass, and 40% of my heart muscle. I went on to graduate school and the work world. Unfortunately, illness struck again in 2012 at age 24 as I was diagnosed with a severe digestive condition called gastroparesis. I was suddenly unable to digest food and was put on a liquid diet for months. I couldn’t run or lift. I lost 30lbs in a matter of weeks. My husband and I consulted with Johns Hopkins for a second opinion – I was told that the gastroparesis may be permanent. I was told that I may need a feeding tube, a gastric pacemaker, and that I would likely never be able to do my favorite things: run or lift weights again. My athlete identity was long gone at this point, My boss suggested that I stop working and apply for Disability. I was devastated but not ready to give up. I sought alternative treatment (acupuncture, Paleo diet) and slowly began to improve. I began to eat solid food and put some healthy weight back on. 

At this point, I saw CrossFit Bezel had opened its doors next to my grocery store. Despite everything I was going through, something inside me made me walk through that door. This is when I met Chris Shaffer. I walked in that CrossFit box as a shell of my former self. I was weak, depressed, out of shape, anxious, and lacked any confidence in myself. Chris met me where I was fitness-wise and said “We can do this”. Chris helped me get through the Elements class. I had to go through five modifications just to do a single push-up. He encouraged me, taught me form, and kept me safe. He modified every single exercise and workout to fit my level. He kept everything so positive and always made a big deal out of any little improvement I showed. He gave me a nutrition handbook and introduced me to the other amazing members of CrossFit Bezel. A few months in, I hit a setback with severe anemia. Chris found a way to keep me safe health-wise while allowing me to participate in super-modified classes. He never gave up on me. I went from ground zero to running, lifting, jumping, and smiling. CrossFit Bezel helped me get my fitness back, my confidence back, and my life back.

One year later, I am still improving and going strong! I am so far from where I started and I owe that to my coaches. When I was first diagnosed with gastroparesis, I was told by my doctors that I needed to assemble an "All Star Team" to support me in my recovery. Along with my amazing husband, strong nutrition, supplements, and my holistic primary care doctor, CrossFit Bezel is at the forefront of my "All Star Team". I am also incredibly grateful for the support of the other Bezel members - we have become a community/family and it makes all the difference during workouts. My husband enjoys CrossFit just as much as I do and has made unbelievable strides, but I will let him tell his own story. Ryan's support in this journey has meant everything to me - I could never thank him enough. I am down over 12 pounds, getting stronger every week, and feeling better than ever. I finally feel like myself again. We just finished our first Whole30 and look forward to our next one in mid-February! Thank you CrossFit Bezel - you have changed our lives!!!

Katy Webb

katy-webb

One Year CrossFitBezel Appreciation Photos

Carrie H. Harmon

Being closed off is a scary thing.

I wouldn’t let myself enjoy things, letting excuses become my mainstay and it didn’t matter what it was. Kids’ activities, family activities, community activities. I had an excuse for it all. I even convinced myself that I’d always be like this and to get used to living my life this way. Until that day when I saw what some friends had accomplished at CrossFit Bezel (CFB). The things they were doing were insane. Jumping on, over, around things. Lifting weights. Running. Facebooking pictures of themselves along the way. It was amazing. They were transitioning into a newer version of themselves and I wanted in. I wanted in because I wanted “me” back again. The fun loving, outgoing, always happy, making jokes (and laughing way too hard at them,) me back again. Where did I leave her again? I don’t even remember losing her. Who cares, because I was going to step out and find her. Find her where she is now. Find her like it’s my job, almost like my life depended on it (because it does). And I haven’t stopped searching yet since I walked into CFB.

I push myself because I know I need it. I push myself because I’m changing, not only from the inside out, but also the outside in. and I LIKE WHAT I SEE and how I feel. Chris pushes me. He pushes me in a way I can’t explain and I don’t even know he’s doing it. How does he know not only exactly what I need when I need it, but how to engage me in the journey to fitness? I’ve never been addicted to anything that was good for me. Until now. Let me let you in on a secret, CrossFit isn’t just about fitness, it’s about community. It’s a community of people who are also on a journey to find a better self. And they love to engage, motivate, and inspire others. I had no idea it was like this. I had no idea I was joining a family and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Long story short: it turns out, she’s not where I left her. She’s resurfaced and she’s changed. She’s a force to be reckoned with and as scary as that may sound to others, those along their own journey to wellness know exactly what this means.

Carrie H. Harmon

Evette Welch

January 2013 I decided I needed to change my life. I did research and found a nutritionist. By February I had my first of three appointments on how to eat better, make better food choices and exercise at least twice a week. I started my journey and began to slowly loose weight even as I hit the gym three, sometime five times a week. I was not getting the results I was looking for. I tried everything.

Frustrated and with no results I looked for new activities. I heard the word CrossFit before & began to see it everywhere. I got online looked it up & immediately said I could never do that, but over the weeks my curiosity got the best of me. I went online found the closest one to me and called. Chris assured me it was for anyone who wanted change. I showed up for a trial class and I was sold. It was exactly what I was looking for and everyone there was just like me.

I learned the Paleo lifestyle which took me to the next level. I lost 28lbs. I can now do things I would have never tried or thought possible. Chris took the time to teach me & push me & the other members took the time to encourage me. One year later I'm stronger, healthier, & have kept the weight off.

Evette Welch

Ken Lu

I was always full of excuses - too busy, too lazy, too tired - and I was hooked on unhealthy foods. Food has always been my main vice and I had become addicted to the instant gratification that sugary and fried foods offered. I knew that I needed to make a change in my eating habits and exercising habits but the excuses piled up there as well - it was too inconvenient, too difficult.

Over the past few years, I would become motivated to exercise and eat well when it came to being a better volleyball player, but these spurts of motivation never lasted long. A few months ago, I stepped on the scale and it registered that I was the heaviest I've ever been, and I once again resolved to make a change. I tried the Insanity workouts on DVD, which was great but repetitive and somewhat isolating, and after a month of that I decided I would rather get involved in a community with an instructor who could offer personal guidance.

I have known Chris for a few years now and he has always offered practical and encouraging advice when it came to eating well and exercising regularly as a lifestyle. I trust his advice because he lives it, and I knew he had the ability to teach it in an entirely relatable way.

I enrolled in the introductory Elements class at CrossFit Bezel and it kicked my butt but I loved every minute of it. I love that I am now learning how to correctly do the exercises in a way that will offer the maximum benefit, and this desire to be better and stronger has shifted my mindset about my eating habits as well. I am much more aware of my body's strengths and abilities and I have noticed an increase in my energy and motivation for other things in my life. The best thing about my time here at CrossFit Bezel so far, however, is the encouragement and positive attitude that I get from this community. It has been essential in maintaining my motivation!

Ken Lu

 

 

ken lu progress pic 1 year

Kasey Carpenter Ogden

I have been an athlete my whole life, but unlike other people in my family it doesn't come easy for me.  Even though I played volleyball in college, I gained a lot of weight and afterwards had two children!  I was so nervous to start going to CrossFit Bezel because it had been so long since I had been in the gym and I felt like I was going to be really behind everyone else.  I have to say that I have not once felt like I didn't belong or judged by someone else. Everyone has such great attitudes and it is the best environment I have ever worked out in. With Chris' advice, I started eating better and working out twice a week. In a month and a half I lost 20 pounds and feel better than ever.  I have more energy to play with my kids, do my job, coach, and everything else that is on a busy mom's schedule. I can't thank Chris enough for what he does for all of us at CrossFit Bezel!!

Kasey Carpenter Ogden - (Read more on her blog KCunplugged.)

Frances Carpenter

I had tried a lot of different diets and went to the gym but only accomplished the roller coaster ride of losing weight just to gain it back. I had had two  children and was over 50 and had my doubts that anything was going to work.  It wasn't until I took the advice of Chris Shaffer that I was able to lose the weight and keep it off! I decided to totally commit to the paleo lifestyle and attempt crossfit.  After 12 weeks I had lost 28 pounds and felt great! I have more confidence, sleep better at night and even my hot flashes are gone!! I could have never accomplished this without the help and support of Chris and CrossFit Bezel. He cares deeply about your health and well being and gives you tremendous support. If you listen and follow the guidelines at CrossFit Bezel Strength and Conditioning the words "I can't" won't be in your vocabulary.

Frances Carpenter

frances

Teri Anderson

I had been going to the gym for about two years. I was frustrated because I wasn't seeing the results I wanted to see. Then my friend Frances told me about her trainer friend Chris and that he did 'CrossFit' sessions out of his garage.  I went online to see what ' CrossFit ' was. It looked so hard, and I didn't think I could do it.  We met with Chris, and somehow I was convinced to sign up. I have been doing CrossFit since the beginning of March. It IS hard. But I am finally seeing the results I have wanted to see. I have lost 12 pounds so far, but more importantly, I have lost inches and gained strength I didn't know I had!!! Chris is awesome!! He pushes me to do things I never thought I could do!! He corrects my form and is constantly teaching me during my sessions. I have a long way to go still to reach my goals, but now I know I WILL get there and how-- CrossFit Bezel and Chris Shaffer!!!

Teri Anderson

Hudson Bates

I've had the pleasure of experiencing tutelage under Chris Shaffer since i was 16 years old. He was my first great volleyball coach and he incorporated some great mobility and strength training exercises to my training sessions. From an athletic standpoint he understands what it takes to achieve the highest level of physical strength for many different sports. At the same time, he is the kind of instructor/coach that you want to work hard for and he makes working hard fun! I always look back fondly and look forward to my next fitness adventures with this premier trainer in my home town of Richmond, Va. Thanks for everything you have done for me Chris, keep up the great work, God bless.

Hudson Bates

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