The Short Version

You know, I’ve sat and started to write this over and over again. If you want the short and sweet version:

Getting into CrossFit has been one of the best and most powerful things that we, collectively, as a group, team, and family have done. It has improved our lives and quality of life immeasurably. It has brought us more smiles, laughter, and triumph than one should be allowed in a single lifetime. Come join our community and find the best version of yourself possible.

We’re passionate about helping our clients reach their goals, as well as goals that they never even envisioned as being possible. Whether you’re training for sport specific performance, the sport of CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, or if you just want to look better naked, we will give you 100% of our energy, knowledge, and effort to help you succeed. All that we will ask is that you try as hard as we will.

coach vanessa lifting belt

The Long Version

If you want the long, drawn out story, then you’re in luck. I figure the most honest and transparent thing that I can do is simply post our essay that we sent to CrossFit Headquarters in our affiliation application. Here it is along with all errors and honestly:

What CrossFit means to me, why I want to affiliate, and what I want to achieve as affiliate are a deep series of questions. However, all three questions have the same answer, “Everything.”

I joined the CrossFit Discussion Board all the way back in September, 2006. As I gradually toyed with the programming on CrossFit.com I began to see my many shortcomings physically and athletically, I was interested, but not enough to commit 100%. Over the next two years I began to accumulate items for my own garage gym and gradually implemented more and more CrossFit programming and methodology into my workouts. It wasn’t until August 9th, 2008, that I realized what I was missing: the community.

On August 9th, 2008, I created a Workout Log on the CrossFit Discussion Board, “Chuck’s Log: Forging Elite Vomiting.” On August 10th, I received my first post from another CrossFitter in my workout log. Her name then was Vanessa Sisson, five years later she now goes by Vanessa Bennington, but back then we were 1,191 miles apart with her in Fort Worth, Texas and myself in Sarasota, Florida. We met officially for the first time at GSX CrossFit for our Level 1 Certifications January 2-3, 2009. Little did I know then what significance that woman, that certification, and that place would hold in my life.

During that several month span, I also met Jeff Tucker, initally on the Message Board and later the day prior to the Level 1. The three of us crossed paths face to face again in March of 2009 when I went back to GSX for my Olympic Weightlifting Certification. When I made my third trip back across that 1,200 mile span for no other reason than to be there and see “her,” I knew my life was on course for a permanant change. In July of that year, I moved from Florida to Texas to begin a relationship with the woman of my dreams, to begin coaching at GSX, and to finally be a part of the community that I had been physically missing for so long.

coach chuck

Coach Chuck

What began as me teaching two, 6:00 am classes per week was enough for me to realize that I had found a passion: coaching. Within a year I had become the Director of Operations and Head Trainer at GSX CrossFit and the series of experiences that flowed from that are what has brought me to this point. Since that fateful posting in August 2009, I’ve: married my CrossFit dream girl, ran GSX CrossFit for 3 years, partnered with Coach Tucker in running the 2010 South Central Regionals, worked with Again Faster and Reebok for their first “Reebok CrossFit” Global Marketing Meeting, attended the Endurance, Kids, and Gymnastic certifications, met Coach Glassman, accumulated over 4,000 hours of coaching time, and become a lead coach for CrossFit Gymnastics to travel the world and spread my passion to others. As I stated in the opening paragraph, CrossFit is “everything” to us.

I’ve realized that the most rewarding part of coaching CrossFit and for CrossFit Gymnastics is affecting the same change in other people’s lives that CrossFit created in our own. Now that Vanessa and I are back in my hometown in Florida, we want to open the gym that has been in late night conversations and sleepy day dreams for the last five years. We want to give to our community as much as possible physically, mentally, and emotionally and to change as many lives as we can.

Earlier last month, I had one of my greatest moments as a coach and I think that the following Facebook post regarding that experience can close out this better than anything else that I can offer.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

“Got to watch a 51 year old Marine’s eyes well up with tears of joy today during a one on one.
First muscle-up? Nope. Snatch PR? Also wrong.
Pieced together enough soft tissue and mobility work for his individual dysfunction(s) that he doesn’t need someone else to put a sock on his left foot for him anymore.
That’s what this shit is about. If you’re in this game just to make money, get the hell out now. You’ve got no chance of making it in the long run because there are thousands of coaches just like me. Coaches who will hang out with someone for as long as it takes, for as little as free, just to see that look on their face when they realize that their quality of life has been improved from that moment until they are placed in a grave.
Changing Lives > Dollars”

For more information about my wife who will be another owner in the affiliation:

Vanessa Bennington found her way in the health and fitness worlds through a unique combination of education, personal experience, and self-experimentation. During high school, she dropped from a weight of around 140lbs on her 5’4″frame, to barely 90lbs. As you may have correctly guessed, there was no small amount of anorexia and bulimia involved. Battling an endless fight with eating disorders, Vanessa eventually stumbled from fat-free diets and endless cardio to a more traditional “bodybuilding” diet and training plan. Things started to improve.

She fell in love with working out and exercising, but was weak, fatigued, depressed, anxious, and still unhappy with her body composition, despite trying everything she thought was correct. This pushed her to seek more knowledge and her first piece of traditional education was a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. As much as she enjoyed the idea of spending her days in the gym and training people as a career, she was concerned her small town in Louisiana would never provide enough clientele to support full time training. Back to school she went and back the eating disorders came. Still struggling with feeling physically awful and hating her body, Vanessa completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and continued through to earn a Masters in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

In 2008, 13 years after she began her battle with her body and eating disorders and while finishing graduate school, Vanessa found CrossFit. She also found someone that would ultimately change how she felt about her body and her health forever, Charles Bennington. Little did she know that a few private messages to the cute, and very knowledgeable boy on the CrossFit message boards, would turn into a world wind romance and partnership. Charles through his patience and understanding and knowledge of training helped Vanessa to ultimately push past some very large mental and physical barriers and learn to love the strength and yes, the size, that comes along with being a woman athlete. He helped her become confidant and ultimately overcome the mental shackles her eating disorder had placed on her so many years before.

Vanessa also began working in a physician’s office that specializes in balancing hormones. Things began to click. A lifetime of improper nutrition and eating disorders had created hormonal and metabolic chaos. It wasn’t that she had spent almost two decades doing things wrong or not trying hard enough, it was that she had never tacked the entirety of the issues. Adjustments to her exercise, nutrition, medication, and supplementation brought balance to her hormones and lifted the crippling depression and anxiety. She had the quality of life she always dreamed of, physical strength she never knew she was capable of, and the body she had worked a lifetime for started to show the results of her efforts.

As a result of her experiences and her relationship with Charles and CrossFit, Vanessa has a passion for spreading and teaching others about what being truly healthy and athletic means. CrossFit changed her life forever and for that she will be forever grateful and will forever try to help others find a better way through real fitness.”