The first time Grand Trunk CrossFit member Toni Irick became aware of Grand Trunk, she saw it as a sign.
Literally, it was a sign on the side of the road that was placed in surrounding neighborhoods when Grand Trunk first opened. Toni then ran into some women at a neighborhood function who had been to Grand Trunk. After they talked about what CrossFit was, exactly, Toni committed on the spot to attend a workout.
She had tried everything else, she figured, so what could it hurt?
For Toni, it would become the first step on a path to health and fitness that she continues to travel down to this day.
Exercise was never hammered home growing up as something vital to leading a healthy life. After school most days, Toni would come home and watch television and the television-watching usually involved food.
“I didn’t do anything active during those formative years,” said Toni. “I wish I would have, but it was never something that was suggested and I ended up paying for it.”
At her heaviest, Irick weighed in at 300 pounds. A lifetime of disregarding her physical fitness, combined with bad eating habits, led her to a point in her life where she knew she had to make a drastic change. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Like a lot of folks looking to get back into shape, Toni tried everything: Jazzercise, Zumba, P90X…you name it. If it was advertised to help get you moving, Toni was all about it.
The problem that arose, however, was that it didn’t hold her interest long enough to make her want to keep at it. She would come out with guns blazing and then…nothing.
The one program that did work was Jenny Craig. By working with a specialized counselor through the program, Toni was able to drop 130 pounds over the course of the time she spent on Jenny Craig. But Jenny Craig isn’t set up to help you once you walk away, which Irick quickly came to realize once she stopped going.
“Even though I lost a lot of weight on Jenny Craig, I didn’t lose it the right way,” she said. “I was skin and bones because the weight came off and I did nothing to replace the lean muscle that also disappeared.”
Toni knew that in order to keep the weight off and be healthy, she needed to weave in physical fitness.
Compounding this issue was that her job as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. demanded she be able to do basic fitness functions, like run a mile and a half in under 16 minutes. If she wasn’t able to beat that time, she would be out of work, which put her in danger of repeating the entire fitness struggle cycle over again.
So, she committed to fitness, and Grand Trunk has been a small part of that commitment.
“Grand Trunk offered up a supportive community, which was never a benefit I considered when I was looking for a fitness home,” says Toni. “But now that I have it, I never want to give it up.”
Like a lot of athletes who have come before her, she still gets nervous entering the box on a given day, especially when the competitive athletes are there. But she pushes herself to do the workout because she is only accountable for herself.
“I only care about my performance compared to yesterday or the day before,” says Toni. “That’s what keeps me going and motivated to improve. It begins and ends with me.”
Toni has also found the benefits of Bright Line Eating to help manage her weight while she focuses on movement. Out of everything she has tried when it comes to nutrition, this approach seems to agree with her, and she has the data to back it up. Since she joined Grand Trunk four years ago at around 220 pounds, she is down to 142 and is keeping the weight off.
As with all fitness approaches, you can’t expect to drop weight just by doing CrossFit or dieting. A strategic approach is needed that includes both, and it’s something Grand Trunk owner Brooklyn Netherton preaches to the athletes.
“Watching what you put into your body is just as important as how you move your body on a daily basis,” says Netherton. “If all you had to do to get fit was cut carbs, we would all be fit. There’s more to it than that, and we are going to help you figure out the most successful approach.”
Four years on, Toni is thankful she found such a welcoming environment where her and her husband, Jason, can stay in shape and be surrounded by like-minded individuals. Toni didn’t expect this when she came to that first class, but she can’t see herself without it.
“If I were to go to another CrossFit gym, I’m not sure I would feel as sure about myself as I do at Grand Trunk,” said Irick. “Brooklyn and Diana – and everyone else – are just so welcoming. Grand Trunk is home.”