As we approach our sixth year of running Bootcamps, it is amazing to look back on the transformation so many of our members have made since stepping foot into our doors. Taking that first step is generally the hardest part.It can be intimidating. We think we have to be IN shape before we can show up. We hear the word CrossFit and think everyone will look like the Games athletes on TV. Life gets in the way. We have many commitments or we just don’t believe in ourselves enough to get started. The list goes on. If this sounds like you, read on.Making a lifestyle change is a scary thing. It requires us to get out of our comfort zone and into the unknown. As we mentioned in our first bootcamp article, “society leads us to believe instant gratification, like major weight loss, is achievable in a short period of time.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes time. It takes hard work and commitment, and keeping excuses and negative self-talk on a short leash. We don’t think about how long it took us to get out of shape, or how long we have been eating poorly, and that it just might take the same amount of time — if not longer — to lose what we gained and get back on track. If you’re tired of feeling tired, out of shape, or incapable of most day-to-day tasks, it’s time to take back your health and well-being back. One of our bootcamp alums have done just that and he is willing to share his experiences in hopes it will motivate someone else to take that first step back to a healthy life.Robert Mochel decided to join Bootcamp in September of 2018. Once that six-week session was over, he made the jump to our Function class, which is usually the next step after bootcamp. He has remained consistent ever since, even after him and his wife had their first child in August of 2017 and their second child in March of 2019. Sleepless nights of being a father of a toddler and newborn would have most putting themselves on the back burner, but he still made himself a priority.
Since joining in 2018, Robert has lost a total of 60 pounds. We had the chance to ask him a few questions about his experience and what keeps him motivated now that he has made the jump to CrossFit!
What was your fitness background prior to bootcamp?
"I played year round competitive soccer from the time I was in first grade and played college soccer during my freshman year. I had always been a pretty athletic person but after college my fitness went through waves where I was really committed or really not. Since college I mostly used running as my primary fitness and occasionally would sprinkle in other cardio equipment like elliptical, biking, or rowing. Prior to bootcamp I had never really done much weight training or functional fitness with the exception of a small amount during my freshman year of college.
What held you back before (in regards to fitness/nutrition)?
I think the biggest thing that had held me back was my own prioritization of health and fitness. There were times where I made it a priority, but largely it was not something I was too concerned about and therefore it was not a focus of mine and did not get any of my time or attention. I have also struggled to find something that captivates my attention and keeps me motivated year round. In bootcamp terms, I struggled to understand/decide what my "Why?" was that first day.
What was the catalyst that made you decide to join bootcamp?
I joined bootcamp right after my first daughter turned 1 year old and I realized I needed to make my health and fitness a priority not only for myself, but also for my family. Prior to signing up for bootcamp I would just buy new/bigger clothes when things stopped fitting rather than making any changes to address my health. When I started bootcamp I was the heaviest I had ever been and knew I was in terrible shape and needed to make a change. Bootcamp seemed like the perfect kickstart to my fitness and I knew it was something that would help me refocus and prioritize my health and fitness.
What was the most difficult challenge you overcame during bootcamp?
I think the most difficult challenge in bootcamp was facing my own physical and fitness limitations. When you are a person who used to be fairly athletic it is easy to lie to yourself and allow yourself to think that you are still in ok shape, but going through the workouts really showed me exactly how much I had allowed my fitness to slip away. The first day of bootcamp when we completed the benchmark workout was probably the biggest challenge, especially the way I felt pretty much the whole first week when I was more sore than I think I had ever been in my life. Once I was able to accept where my fitness was and really get excited about the journey that bootcamp would take me on I found bootcamp to be a lot more enjoyable.
What keeps you going since bootcamp has ended and you have since progressed to Function and now CrossFit at Badger?
The biggest thing that kept me going was the results that I was able to see after the 6 weeks of bootcamp. In addition to losing some weight and inches, I felt so much better physically and mentally than I had before I started bootcamp. I was able to establish some really good routines and habits related to food and exercise during the bootcamp and I definitely wanted to keep up with the momentum I had built. Knowing myself, and the pattern I had established in the past with regard to my fitness I decided that committing to a 1 year membership would ensure that I continued to make my fitness a priority. I spent my first full year at Badger constantly thinking back to the first question asked at bootcamp "What is your why?" and reevaluating my answer. Initially I wanted to establish a consistent fitness routine, once I accomplished that I wanted to focus on increasing my strength. Over the last year I have set numerous goals related to functional fitness movements (increasing pushup ability, completing strict pull-ups in work outs) and strength and weightlifting (Deadlift 300+ pounds, Front squat/Back squat/clean 200+ pounds). As I have been able to accomplish these goals I have looked for new ways to challenge myself. Moving over into CrossFit and working more with the barbells and more complex movements is the most recent step towards increasing my strength and fitness. The results I have seen while doing Function and now CrossFit definitely keep me going. My physical appearance has changed dramatically and I look and feel stronger than I think I ever have in my life, when you feel good and look good it is definitely motivating to keep up the work. I have also liked the freedom and flexibility that I have with my nutrition knowing that I am working out roughly 5 days a week. Although I try and keep up with positive choices related to my nutrition, I don't stress the way I used to when I wasn't working out.
What has been the biggest surprise since making a positive lifestyle change?
The most surprising thing to me has been how much I have enjoyed Badger and how addicting the workouts have become. In the past I was never a 5 days/week fitness person but I find myself making it to Badger almost every M-F. The other benefit that I didn't fully expect is how beneficial my physical fitness would be for my mental health and stress management. Over the last year my wife and I endured a very complicated pregnancy that resulted in our second child being born premature and spending a significant period of time in the NICU. Badger provided a perfect and very necessary outlet for me during an otherwise chaotic time.
Advice to people nervous about starting bootcamp?
The way you are feeling right now is probably the same way that everyone else in the room feels right now or previously felt at one point. It is perfectly acceptable to be nervous, and if you have never done anything like bootcamp before it is probably a good thing to be a bit nervous. My advice would be to not let the nervousness hold you back. I had a lot of preconceived notions about walking in to a CrossFit gym and what the other participants would be like, what the coaches would be like, what the workouts would be like. I can honestly say I was entirely wrong! I have made some great friends through bootcamp and the community at Badger is truly full of people of all types. The coaches at Badger are the best. The individual attention that they provide in every level from bootcamp to Function to CrossFit is awesome, they truly care about you as an athlete and helping you achieve your goals in a safe and efficient manner, whatever those goals may be. As for the workouts, when the coaches tell you that anything can be scaled to your ability they truly mean it. Joining Badger is truly one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. I can honestly say that at 32 years old I am in better shape as a married dad of two kids than when I played college soccer at 19 years old. You will get out as much as you put in at Badger, the difference at Badger is that the community and coaches will make you want to put everything you have into yourself and your fitness!
Robert has proven that taking a chance on himself turned out to be a positive, healthy lifestyle change and that there is no better time to make a change than now. By taking a risk on something he was unsure of, the reward paid off more than he could ever imagine.
Our next bootcamp begins on Monday, January 13th with a kickoff meeting the week before - Sunday, January 5th, and spots are filling up fast. Click here to find out more and reserve your spot today: https://www.badgercrossfit.com/programs/bootcamp/