My name is Troy Irvine. I’m 37 and a Captain with the Port Arthur Fire Department. I read a few of the other featured athlete profiles trying to get some ideas on how to write this. The best I can do is tell you what CrossFit has done for me, and if I end up repeating what some of the other guys have said, then my apologies.
My first years at the fire department were the worst for me. I got into the “fireman” mode as they say. Eat a lot of home cooking and do a lot of sleeping. That cycle continued on my off time, where all I did when I was off work was sit on the couch, watch television, and eat. Eventually I found myself at almost 260 pounds, and when my ex wife became pregnant, I decided I was going to change for my kids. I did well. I was going to the local globo gym, got on the famous Atkins diet, and lost 30 pounds in the process. But I stopped there and made no further progress.
Over the years I’ve been able to maintain a weight of around 220 pounds. My fitness level was, I thought, average at best. I was prepared to go through life happy at 220. But every time I worked a house fire, I was exhausted and vowed to change my ways.
So I tried the gym thing once again. To be honest with you, I never knew what to do in there. The machines are always confusing and to be quite frank with you, some of them look more like torture devices than exercise equipment. Then there was the process of figuring out what to work. Is it arms, back, legs, shoulders? I never could develop a routine and became very unmotivated and soon gave up.
My career took a turn when I was chosen to attend the police academy to become an arson investigator. Here was my chance, I thought, to finally get in shape and stay in shape. Three days a week for twelve weeks we ran, did lots of pushups and sit ups. I got down to around 200 pounds and felt great, but again my lack of self motivation prevented me from continuing the trend after the academy. Once again I was back up around 225 pounds and my fitness level was subpar.
I was first introduced to CrossFit in my training with the police department SWAT team. It was a crude introduction, involving a lot of reps of a lot of exercises. No training in technique and no accountability of your reps or time. I did enjoy the workouts, but it was only once a month, which was by far not enough to do anything to change my fitness level. I decided a change was necessary, not only for myself, but for my children’s sake. The leading cause of firefighter line of duty deaths is heart disease, and I didn’t want to be one of those statistics.
After doing research on CrossFit and almost talking myself into joining the Beaumont box, CrossFit Mid-County opened. Needless to say the first workout I did killed me. I don’t even remember what it was, but I was on the floor exhausted afterwards. I had to scale everything, but there was something different here that I never experienced in any other workout routine. I actually enjoyed it! Here were people next to me, some the same level as me and some that were awesome athletes, but knowing they were sweating and struggling through the same workout was enough to keep me going. I learned that scaling down was not embarrassing, but it helped you learn the right techniques and in time I made great improvements. In just 3 months I lost three inches off of my waist and I am under 200 pounds for the first time in the twelve years I’ve been at the fire department. After just six weeks of CF I worked my first major fire. It was a huge two story house and we were there for over four hours, but afterwards I still felt great. I was tired but I felt like if there was another fire, I was going to be ready for it physically. I am truly in the best shape of my life now, and I’m in the box 5 days a week, schedule permitting, to push myself to new and better heights of physical fitness. There are still times when I have to scale workouts, but when I do a workout as prescribed, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. Every trainer I have come into contact with has been knowledgeable, encouraging, and they all have pushed me beyond what I thought I could do, especially at my age. CrossFit is now a lifestyle for me, and it always will be. A sincere thanks to all the trainers and other members that have been there for me from day one. CrossFit works folks, and I am a testament to that.