STEADFAST FEATURED ATHLETE: FLANAGAN DRESSEL
When Brian came up to me during class with a rather large grin on his face and fist bump, I knew something was coming. He said, “Guess what? You’re going to be the next featured athlete.” I thought why me, he should pick an elite athlete. He told me I had come a long way since I started and he wanted me to tell my story.
When I was growing up, I was never really into sports except surfing. I definitely didn’t consider myself an athlete. I was always really shy and reserved for the most part, which is probably why I enjoyed surfing so much. As I got older, I became more interested in sports but still never joined any team; it’s something I regret to this day. So I took up running and got really into it for a while. I participated in 5k’s and a half marathon. The competitive drive was there, but that was pretty much the extent of my fitness. After a while, running began to feel more like a job than a hobby; something I did so I didn’t gain weight or get out of shape, instead of because I enjoyed it. I tried joining the YMCA and doing the standard bro lifts for a while but lost interest after a couple of weeks. I had been thinking about getting into CrossFit for a while but never worked up the courage to do it. One day I said enough is enough, and I sent out several emails to different gyms asking for more information on what it’s all about. SteadFast was the only one to answer me back. Not only were they the only gym to answer me back, but they called and sent me emails several times a day for at least a week until I finally answered the phone and set up a consultation. Little did I know that when I pressed that “request more information” button on their website that my fitness life would change forever.
I first stepped into the SteadFast gym March 2016. During that time I was switching jobs, moving into a new place, and trying to help plan a wedding. My fitness goals were on the back burner, to say the least. So the time came to do my on-ramp with Coach Matt. I was so sore after that first meeting that I was afraid to bend my knees in fear of falling down while I walked. The third on ramp I couldn’t even make it through, and I was embarrassed. I thought I might be making a mistake, if the on-ramps were this difficult, I didn’t think I could make it through a whole class. The coaches are extremely supportive. Matt talked with me on how we could prevent that from happening in the future, and we moved on. From the very beginning you get the overwhelming feeling that the coaches genuinely care about you, not just your fitness but you as a person. Fast forward a year, I’m doing things in the gym I thought I could never do. I am by far the strongest I have ever been in my life, and the PR’s keep coming. I no longer judge my fitness progress by looking at a scale either. Seven o’clock hits every night, and I start reaching for my phone to look at the next day’s workout. My favorite part about CrossFit is the feeling I get when I am doubtful about doing a workout at RX, and I go for it and nail it with help from the coaches and members pushing me on, of course. I have learned to embrace that dark place some workouts take you when you think you can’t go any further, yet you do. Of course, there are still days of frustration, whether it is not being able to stick a lift or things just aren’t clicking, but I have learned to take the good with the bad. There is always another chance tomorrow. The physical benefits from doing CrossFit are only half of it, the mental benefits you gain are just important to me. I am a firm believer that when you persevere through tough situations, whether it be a nasty WOD or just a rough time in life, it builds character in you and makes you a better person. The confidence I have gained inside the gym has carried over to my personal life, and I believe I am a better person for it.
I am extremely grateful that I decided to join the Steadfast family. There are not enough positive things to say about this community. The support and family atmosphere is second to none. It has given me the comradery and team ship that I missed out on all those years, and I look forward to doing big things with you all in the future.