Testimonials

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Jason Todd

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Scott

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Mr. Chuck

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Mr. Wes

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“I am Wes Symonds, but most everyone around here calls me Mr. Wes. This is my story, and I am not a writer.”

I will be 50 in December 2012 (am I really that old?). I started working out my freshman year in high school to get in shape for football. I have worked out pretty consistently ever since.

After I got married at age 20, I got into aerobics (no, I didn’t have any Jane Fonda tapes), and did general weight lifting to get into better shape for dirt bike racing that I did with my brother Rick. I also joined a weight loss clinic to lose weight. I went from 235 lbs to 167 lbs eating 600 calories a day. In hindsight, that was not a very good idea.

In my late-20’s I got into power lifting. I got up to some pretty decent numbers considering I didn’t have a coach or anyone else to talk to about techniques. I enjoyed that for about 5 years then went back to doing the general weight lifting. But over the years the intensity went down, and the weight crept up, and up, and up.

In 2009, my wife Kellie went to a “Crossfit” workout and she really enjoyed it. She thought I would too, and encouraged me to attend a class with her. My weight at this time was around 250 lbs. I went with her one morning and I got my butt handed to me. I couldn’t believe what seemed to be the simplest of movements could exhaust you like it did. I also found out how my years of not stretching limited my ability. But, overall I really enjoyed the class and wanted to attend more often. My wife’s trainer at that time, Sue, suggested that I work out with some guy named Brandon. So a couple days later I set up a time and met with Brandon and started training with him. I must admit, I still couldn’t believe I wasn’t able to do more than I was doing (still fight that today) and struggled through the workouts, but was making small improvements. Unfortunately, the economy started taking a slide at this time and the hours at my part time job were being reduced so I had to quit attending.

Fast forward to spring 2011, I was working out again at a local gym, but admitted to my wife I missed working out at Crossfit with Brandon. I missed the intensity and the challenge. Also my weight had gone up further, 267 lbs. My wife is very supportive of me and has always been very health conscious. When I talked to her about this, as soon as I finished she said “go, we will work it out.” So I contacted Brandon and found out he was opening his own box, VisOne. I came during the open house in August of 2011 and signed up. I am a regular at the 5:30 am class (go YAHOO’S!!). I started very slowly, making small improvements, with my lack of flexibility becoming very evident.

Then it happened. During a working in October, just a few days before Halloween, I slipped. I felt a very sharp pain in my right shoulder and actually heard something tear. I have never been injured working out so I thought I just pulled or strained something and kept trying to work through it. The pain did not lessen and it got weaker, during one workout I was doing a snatch when my arm went numb. I took that as a sign to see my doctor. It was a week or so before Thanksgiving. He sent me to a surgeon at Rockford Orthopedic. He sent me for an MRI.

Complete rupture of the rotator cuff.

No way will it heal on its own, and because I am a part time police officer, it would not regain the strength needed in order for me to be able to protect myself on the job. My surgeon also told me at this time that it would be a minimum of 6 months recovery. He stated that he NEVER lets police officers back early because of the possibilities of reinjuring it again. The surgery date was set for December 13th, 2011. I still attended a few classes before surgery, but I wasn’t able to do much.

Surgery day came and went really well. The doctor put 3 titanium pins in arm, tied the tendon back to the pins after cutting the end smooth, ground down the bone spur that did the damage, and closed me back up. I was sent home with my shoulder pump attached (THANK YOU ELYCE!!!) and my pain prescription called into the pharmacy. Rochelle (yes, I named my shoulder pump) and I became very close. Two days later I was off the pain pills, I can’t stand them.  wes2

Five days later I was back to VisOne. Brandon and Tasha both created workouts that I could use my left shoulder and lower body. They came up with some very unique workouts. I would get frustrated at times, ok a lot of times, but I kept going every day. I need to mention that I still had not started my rehab yet for my right shoulder. But I did find out just how many of our ladies at VisOne worked at my rehab clinic, and boy did they watch me! I was even ratted out a couple times.

In late December Brandon and Tasha informed everyone that they were going to do a “Look Better Naked” challenge. I avoided this topic. I had been trying to get to 215 lbs for about ten years. Nothing ever lasted. One day while the LBN challenge was being discussed, Joe and Jake both looked at me and said “you’re going to do too, right?” and I replied no, diets didn’t work. They and the rest of the group wouldn’t let me out of it. So I signed up. The best thing I ever did. I started two weeks before the challenge officially kicked off and had already lost 12 lbs. At the end of the challenge I was at 232 lbs, and today I am at 223 lbs. I still have a bit to go for my goal of 215 lbs, but I will get there. I am definitely eating better, eating more healthy foods and eating more often. My wife Kellie and I have also started eating more paleo along with the block system.

So how is my shoulder doing? I need to mention not everyone at the rehab clinic is a fan of Crossfit. I started my rehab four weeks after the surgery. I set up everything I was doing at rehab at home, and then I diligently told Brandon and Tasha everything about my rehab. They gave me questions to ask the therapists and they worked out things for me to do along those guidelines. My shoulder really started coming around, Brandon, Tasha and the ladies from the rehab clinic had to really pull me back. Then my therapists and doctor noticed how my shoulder was progressing. They asked me if I was doing anything other than the rehab, and I told them I was doing Crossfit within the guidelines of my rehab. They started giving me tougher things to do, and adding reps to that. I never had a setback. At three months I was doing exercises that people were sometimes not able to do after 6 months of traditional rehab! Sure, my shoulder ached, but a couple hours with Rochelle on made it better. My doctor almost released me to full duty. He said he has never seen anyone with my type of surgery come back that fast. At four months after surgery, I did a 405 lb dead lift. My doctor gave me my full release to duty. Then I wes3told him about the Deadlift. I don’t think he was impressed, but I was.

I wanted to prove all those people wrong that kept telling me during my recovery that it would never be the same. I guess they were right, because it is better than before. There is no doubt in my mind that the only reason my shoulder recovered so quickly was because of Brandon and Tasha, Crossfit and all of the other members at VisOne.  There are so many of the members of this gym that inspire me to keep pushing forward. Brandon and Tasha, I can’t say thank you enough for everything they have done for me.

Mr. Wes

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