BY: Rachel Fasig
Four years ago, Ryan Garrett, a youth pastor, had a few students over at his house. He went downstairs to get the usual Cokes and Mountain Dews for everyone, but when he ran back up, 14 steps, he was completely out of breath.
At that exact moment, he said, “This is it. I can’t live like this anymore.”
Weighing over 260 pounds at the time, he was the biggest he’d ever been. A close friend of his suggested CrossFit, so Garrett searched what CrossFit was all about and was immediately intimidated. “275 pound deadlifts? Muscle ups? Hang cleans? No way! I have never worked out a day in my life…this stuff is gonna kill me,” he thought.
But, Garrett’s friend, a gym owner, encouraged him to start out just doing what he could and slowly progress with time, but warned that he’d also have to change his eating habits and drink a ton of water. In other words, no more running downstairs for Mountain Dew and Cokes.
Garrett said the first step to making change is commitment. “Life change is hard, it takes work, but if you kill the voice in your head that says give up, then you’ve got a great chance of succeeding.” Within the first two months of eating healthy, cutting out white starches and sugar, and drinking half of his body weight in water daily, Garrett dropped 20 lbs.
Garrett admits that it wasn’t easy though, “when I started CrossFit, I was anywhere between 260-270 pounds, so just about everything was hard. I could only do 8 pushups in one minute, 10 sit-ups in one minute and pull-ups were a joke.” He said, “my body was used to being lazy, it didn’t like the fact that I was working out and in turn, fought me a lot.”
But, Garrett eased into a workout routine, and as the pounds started dropping off, he started getting stronger as well.
In May of 2013, Garrett became the Youth Pastor at Sugar Hill Church and moved to Suwanee with his wife and three young children. Having participated in the sport of CrossFit for a few years by that time, he was itching to find a gym that fit him best in his new community. Then, almost fatefully, he was out to lunch with his wife and spotted a man wearing a CrossFit t-shirt, so Garrett asked where he worked out. Turns out that the man in the t-shirt was owner of Suwanee’s No Excuses CrossFit gym, Ben Davis.
Davis invited Garrett to try it out and train with him, and he’s never turned back. “The coaches and staff are great, they truly welcomed me into their family…I have never looked for another gym,” Garrett said.
Garrett has dropped over 80 pounds throughout his fitness journey! He now weighs 179 pounds, can run and play with his kids without getting worn out, keeps up when playing sports with the teenagers in his youth group, and is physically stronger than he ever imagined possible.
Garrett is known to push himself hard, “you’ll pass out before you die… but, I’m living proof that if I can do it, anyone can.”
What he hopes people can learn from his story is that the end result is worth the work – just do your best, take small steps and commit, commit, commit!