Posted: Monday, May 5, 2014 by Michael Elkins in

     Gains.  We all want them.  It may not be in lifting or fitness, but just in life.  Nobody wants to look back on their life in 20 years and say they gained nothing.  This is one of the reasons I have quit any fitness endeavor over the last 15 years of my life.  I saw no gains.  Sure, maybe a tiny bit here or there, but nothing significant.  That is, until CrossFit.  For the record, the guy pictured above is not me (nor will it ever be because I will not take steroids!), in fact, I am nothing close to that and I am not too upset by that.  If you saw me walking down the street you would not mistake me as a body builder, or even a pretty "ripped" guy...I am also ok with this.  My gains have been in every area of fitness, both physical and mental.  Most importantly I have gained confidence in myself and my abilities, I have gained respect from myself, I have gained a new passion and energy.  I have gained something that my wife and I enjoy doing together, and the list goes on for mental gains.
     This may not apply to all people, but for me I have seen spiritual gain as well.  CrossFit has helped me learn some things about myself that I didn't know, both the good and the bad.  It has made me more passionate about my relationship with God and other people.  It has helped me to learn to be honest with myself, and try not to be content staying where I am in my journey.
     I have seen physical gains as well.  I am faster than I have ever been.  I can jump higher than I have ever been able to.  I have gained cardio endurance (I used to breathe heavy walking up any flight of stairs).  I have gained muscles that I never even had before.  I have gained the ability to recover.  My friend/crossfit coach asked me to list out my gains so people could see it.  I don't typically like to do this but I was at the bottom of the barrel when I started and now I am about half way up it.  Just know that if you are trying to find gains, stick with it, push yourself, and go for it.  If I can do it, you can do it.  One thing that I remind myself of often is that nobody ever "arrives" anywhere.  We are always journeying somewhere.

So here is my list of physical gains (I will list what it was when I started (approx. wight) and what it is as of today):

Deadlift                      185# / 400#
Bench Press                135# / 240#
Back Squat                 185#  /  345#
Front Squat                 195#  /  295#
Thruster                      95#   /  220#
Clean                          95#   /  225#
Shoulder Press           95#   /  185#
Box Jump                   39"   /  47"
Hand Stand Push Up  0  /  17 kipping
Pull Ups                      0  /  20
Double Unders            5  /  88
CrossFit total               660#   /   930#   (This is the combined 1 rep max for deadliest, back squat, strict shoulder press) 

*  The kicker is I may have been able to do a little more on some of these lifts and movements, but my mind would not let me push myself any more.

Just a video of awesomeness:

Which "guy" are you?  Where have you seen gains...either in the gym or in life?  Comment and let me know!

Why CrossFit works....for me.

Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by Michael Elkins in

So it was about 2 months ago that I posted my initial thoughts on CrossFit.  At that point I was two months into it and as I write today I am about 4 months into it.  This is by far the longest I have ever stuck with any fitness program.  I was thinking about why that is.  Why have I had such a hard time committing to doing something that I knew was good for me and was also good for my family?  I have realized it has truly come down to two things:

1)  I have had a change of mind.  I think about fitness differently than I ever have.  I now just view it as something I need to get into my schedule almost everyday.  It is one of my most important meetings of my day.  There are very rare occasions when I will let something interfere with that scheduled appointment to work out.  And if it does...I will reschedule it for some time later that day.  I would say in the 4 months I have been doing this that has maybe happened twice.  It is weird because now I could not imagine my life without CrossFit.  I feel like I have a healthier view of myself and of fitness in general.

2)  Community.  Community.  Community.  People talk about CrossFit like it is a cult, which it may borderline that very easily :)  However, I truly believe that this is why CrossFit is so widely popular.  People, in general, want to belong.  They want to be accepted where they are and be lead, guided, and pushed to new levels in life.  CrossFit simply does this in the fitness realm.  It doesn't matter what fitness level you are at; their is a place for you in CrossFit.  Once there, you will be encouraged and pushed to take your fitness to the next level.  I know when I don't show up there will be people who want to know where I was.  They will text, call, or Facebook me to ask where I was.  I feel like I am part of a "functioning system" and that I am needed for this system to work.  I hate feeling like I am letting my "team" down.  You also feel like as a group, you go through the same struggles together.  It doesn't matter if you are back squatting 400 lbs or 120 know the struggle they are going through and they know what you are experiencing.  You have each others best interest at heart and want to see them succeed!

The Numbers:
-  4 months of CrossFit
-  Started at 250 lbs, and now fluctuating between 227-230lbs (Down roughly 20lbs.)
-  Was fitting snuggly in 38 pants and now comfortably wearing 36's
-  My strength has increased like crazy.  Ive added 100 lbs on a couple of different lifts that we do.  I can actually do some of the movements that I couldn't even do when I first started.
-  My cardio has gotten way better than it was before.
-  Energy is increased (until about 9:30pm than I have to crash!)
-  My oldest loves doing CrossFit movements with me so that has been a lot of fun


Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 by Michael Elkins in

Many things come to mind when you see the word "crossfit".  Some people conjure up images of ripped people throwing weight high up in the air.  Some people assume that anyone who does crossfit will die.  Other people think anyone that does it must be an insane person that is a glutton for punishment, or they perhaps have no clue as to what it is. 

Let me start by defining crossfit.  Actually, let me just give you a link to see someone else explain it better so I don't waste either of our time. Click Here! OK, now that you know what it is let me explain to you how it has changed me.

When people find out I do cross fit, not something I like to run around telling people because I get a million different looks, I would roughly say 90% of people tell me that I am going to get seriously hurt or die because of cross fit.  People either love it or they hate it.  Ironically the people who usually encourage me are people who are fit and the ones that do not don't give to much weight to fitness.  One day as someone was telling me that I was going to die or get badly injured I had had enough.  I piped up, "Actually, you know what is going to kill me.....continuing to do what I was doing which is sitting on the couch eating chips.  That has a higher chance of killing me than doing crossfit."  Before I did crossfit I had tried a myriad of fitness tactics.  Eating less food, which never, ever worked for me.  Just running.  While this can be a great tool to gain better fitness I hated the crap our of just running.  The thought of lacing up my shoes and heading out for a nice stroll made me want to puke.  Lifting weights.  This is just something I have always not had much fun doing.  All my buddies in high school and college would always try to get me to go throw weight around with them and I never had the desire to do so.  Needless to say I would do these things for maybe a month and quit every time.  I would feel like an insane failure and go even deeper off the end.  It got to the point where it was pretty embarrassing anytime I would try something because people knew I would quit.  It got to the point where my own family doubted if I would stick with something.  Needless to say it was something I wasn't proud that I was teaching my kids  

Enter crossfit.  I had a friend from high school who is a crossfit instructor and I saw a post on his facbeook of some people he was training.  For some reason it intrigued me.  I sent him a message to get details and he graciously answered all my questions and encouraged me to join him.  So I did.  The first day I did want to die.  As I laid in a pool of sweat, after I went outside to throw up the meager breakfast I ate, I actually though, "I wish my soul would just leave my body right now."  Oh, and that was a 2 minute and 40 second workout.  I couldn't walk for a good five days.  Not only could I not really walk, I could barely sit down and if I could get in a chair there was no way I could get out of it.  So I did the only logical thing....I went back.  Then I went back the next day and the next.  Now I must confess I have only been doing this for about 2 months now, which is about double the time I have done any other exercise program.  When I started I weighed in 1 lb shy of 250 lbs, at 249 lbs.  In the short time I have done it I have lost roughly 15 lbs now.  But it is not even the weight loss I am most excited about.  My body feels and looks totally different than it ever has.  I have more energy, my attitude is a million times better.  I treat my wife and children better than I ever have.  ABout half way through I introduced "Paleo" eating.  It is basically just eating like a caveman.  Eat as much meat, fruits, and veggies as possible.  No sugar, no processed foods, and no grains.  This also helped a ton.  

I say all this to simply say crossfit is not killing me, it is actually saving my life.  I really want to thank Brock and his wife Autumn for giving me this back.  Yes, there could be some freak thing where a person dies doing it.  However, people die everyday in auto accidents, running marathons, playing football, or walking down the street.  

-  Increased overall health
-  Weight Loss
-  More energy
-  Better attitude
-  More self confidence
-  Fun
-  Competitive ( I am very competitive and this allows me to tap into that)
-  Community (One of my favorite things.  Everyone encourages you no matter where you are at on the fitness spectrum.)
-  Knowing I may not die as early and leave my family in a rough spot because I didn't take care of myself

-  Sore (most of the time)
-  Hard
-  Kicks the crap out me
-  Repeat the above 3


Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 by Michael Elkins in

DEVASTATION: the state of being decayed or destroyed. (

With all the recent events taking place, in Alabama and Missouri, it is hard not to think about devastation.  It is all around us.  The thing is, we will have to at some point deal with devastation.  Why?  Because it is inevitable and we all must face this reality.  Maybe you haven't been through a devastating tornado, or other natural disaster, but what was the last natural disaster in your life?  Broken relationships, loss of people you hold dear, loneliness, illness, and the list goes on.  So, because devastation is inevitable, how do we handle it.  The Bible is full of examples of devastation, the entire book of Lamentations is all about it.  You have Job, who lost his family, farm, house, and health.  So what do you do when destructions smacks you in the face?
     As much as I wish it were is not.  It hurts, it causes pain, and it it is a process.  How did Job handle it?  His wife told him just to curse God and die, yet he didn't, he was patient, he asked God questions, and when God gave him answers...he listened.  Was it easy for him?  No.  Was it pain free?  No.  
     Philippians 4:13 states, "13 For I can do everything through Christ,t who gives me strength. "  This verse is not saying I could do anything and everything because God will not allow me to get hurt.  This verse translates, "I can endure everything, through Christ who gives me strength"  It is about enduring, not living a pain free life.  Think back to the times of your life when you saw growth, emotionally, spiritually, or relationally...what happened?  A lot of growth in life comes when we go through devastating times.  And usually, there is one reason...we change our dependency from ourselves to God.  It's like when we have nowhere else to go we are left with no other option than to turn to God.  So why not communicate with God throughout life, instead of when we are just at the end of our rope?  My encouragement is to endure and hold tight...cause life is bumpy.

Good times on an island

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011 by Michael Elkins in

I wanted to basically just blog and talk about my love of "getting together".  if hanging out were a sport I would be in the Super Bowl every year.  Specifically today, I got to hang out with other people in the same profession as myself...Youth Pastors.  As you can imagine it is a lunch where we discuss body sounds/odors, crazy childhood stories, and other sorts of shenanigans.  The best part is though, I feel like there actually a group of people where I belong.  Sometimes, ministry can get pretty lonely.  There are days if you wonder what you do really matters and if you made the correct choice.  One of the best fixes...friendships.  I love having people in my boat with me that I can just have fun with.  Hence, I love the people I work with.  Also, because I know he will read this, Jeff Selph and other CYL members really make ministry feel like a party on an island!  I love my job and what I do!


Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 by Michael Elkins in

Well I had my tonsils out..a couple of things I may point out:

1.  If you had your tonsils out when you were 7, don't tell me, "I know how you feel"  You don't!  I feel no further need to explain this.

2.  I have never been so hungry in all my life.

3.  Don't say, "Well at least you can eat all the ice cream you want."  So.  I'm a grown man, I could all all the ice cream I wanted before without having something cut out of my throat.

4.  Im Hungry

5.  It hurts

It is not that is is such terrible pain that it is unbearable, it is the fact that it just take so long to be back to normal, mixed with hunger pains.  Honestly, I don't remember the ast time I craved food so much in my life.  Even when I can get down mashed potatoes or something, they just don't taste the same.  Man the day I can eat normal food I may put Golden Coral out of business in one sitting!  But I got to thinking about desire for food.  I wish my desire for God, his leadership, and his love would be as great as my hunger for food is right now.  I have to admit that there are times when it is not that strong.  Just something to think about.

The Green Eye'd Monster

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 by Michael Elkins in

Well, the wait is over!  In my last post I talked about how waiting is so lame sometimes, but waiting does a lot of positive things for you.

Our little girl arrived on March 12th, 2011 at 7:09pm.  She was 21 in. long and weighed in at 7.66 lbs.  Everything went well in labor and delivery and everyone is doing well today. With that being said there is one member of the family that took Allie's arrival harder than the rest...and that was her big sister Emma.  Emma has been the center of the universe until March 12th.  Needless to say when Allie arrived that all changed for her.  the very first night we let Emma hold Allie and she looked down at her calmly, then looked back up at all of us (Mom, Dad, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Friends) and said, "I don't like her."  WHAT?!?  you just met her, how can you not like her?  At this point she already knew that she was not the the only kiddo in town anymore.  Since than she has come around and warmed up to her little sister, but the point is, we all have a little bit of that kid in us.  We get jealous.  When that coworker or friend gets the promotion, we get jealous.  When a relative makes more money than us we get jealous.  However the opposite of jealousy is contentment.  Contentment is not based on our current situation, it is mainly based on our current relationship...with God!  Regardless of our situation we can find true contentment in God.  Challenge this week...Give up one "thing" this week and when you would usually use that thing, thank God for the essentials He has provided!