This week we started all new Boot Camp classes at our King William location. Personal trainer and Air Force veteran Cameron Croley heads up these classes and happens to be the picture of health and fitness. But like so many of us, Cameron wasn’t always so fit and healthy and he shares his story below. And you can try out FREE Boot Camp classes until June 7th (see below for the schedule).
As a kid, I was active and fit – I played sports and enjoyed being outdoors and playing outside. As I got older though, I became more interested in videos and video games, and less interested in going outside. Eventually my schoolwork became overwhelming, with long hours of sitting, studying, and practicing for my recitals. I gained weight, and became depressed due to my physique and the stress that school and work put on me. I got up to 220 lbs., possibly more, since after a certain point I just stopped weighing myself. I was disgusted by my weight, and felt that there was no hope for me – and I was just too far-gone.
But eventually, I found my motivation. I wanted to join the Air Force, but would have to lose a significant amount of weight to do so. According to their standards, I wasn’t supposed to weigh more than 175 lbs, meaning I had to lose at least 50 pounds just to qualify.
It was hard to get started, since I was afraid to go to the gym and afraid of being made fun of. So I made my backyard and neighborhood my own personal gym. I started a walk/run program, eventually building up to a steady 20 minute jog. After that I started to work on speed and distance, and then added in push-ups and sit-up as well – barely able to eek out 10 in the beginning. Eventually I tried pull ups; I couldn’t do one by myself, but with the help of a chair I could do about three.
Day after day, and rep after rep, I started to improve, and I remember stepping on the scale for the first time in a while and seeing it hit 210 – it was the first time I was under 220 in a long time, and I was excited about that.
I continued working at it and started feeling better and more confident which helped me in my work and school. I felt I had a goal and a purpose to exercise, and eventually I got up the courage to actually go to a gym. I was nervous, and scared of embarrassing myself, but felt like it was something I needed to do.
To my surprise, I received support from several of the other people there – people I had never met were friendly and helpful with workout advice. And then someone told me something I’ll never forget: “Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone has a journey and a challenge to overcome. Some are just further in their journey than others. You are in here for a reason. Don’t forget that.”
After a year I made it down to 165 and made it into the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and later became a Pilot in the US Air Force. I continued my workout routine and got up to 175 lbs. of muscle – benching 255 lbs. for reps and being able to run a mile and a half in less than 10 minutes.
From that experience, I am still constantly trying to improve myself and help others do the same. Fitness is by nature a community builder. No one should be scared of fitness or scared of going to the gym. Everyone starts somewhere. How far you get on your journey depends on you and the work you put in. Don’t let anyone else take you down and away from that. Just take it one step at a time, one rep at a time, one exercise at a time. Anyone can reach their goals no matter how far out of reach it may seem. I am living proof of that.
Cameron’s full line up of classes with start later this month but in the meantime we invite you to try his FREE Free Boot Camp offerings that started earlier this week:
Wed June 1st at 6pm: Conquer the Bar
Wed June 1st at 7pm: Team Calisthenics
Thurs June 2nd at 6am: Quadric Agility
Fri June 3rd at 6pm: Team Calisthenics
Mon June 6th at 6pm: Conquer the Bar
Tues June 7th at 6am: Quadric Agility