My name is Marc Jackson, I’m 27 and I currently consider myself a jack-of-all-trades. I am an instrumental Music teacher with the Philadelphia School District. Percussion is my main instrument. I also have a great fondness of motorcycles. I love to ride, I teach the motorcycle safety course, and I am also a trained motorcycle mechanic. If I’m not doing that stuff, I’m probably playing “Bob the Builder” on my home or somebody else’s. I can honestly say I have had no athletic training before starting CrossFit in any manner. So this has been one wild ride.
What brought you to CrossFit Renaissance?
What brought me into CrossFit Renaissance was that I was just simply tired of being overweight and out of shape. I also have some very close friends whose accomplishments and achievements at CrossFit just absolutely blew my mind. I’ve been friends with Eddie Haigh and Crystal Pang (members at CrossFit Renaissance) since High school, and they both have always said that they thought I would really enjoy it. So I finally decided to try it. I remember the moment when I came home after work on a cold, snowy February day, sitting down on the couch in a dark room, and after sitting in silence for about two minutes I said to myself “That’s it, I’m done with this.” I got in the car and drove to the gym.
What was your first impression?
Well, it was late February, the garage doors were closed, and honestly I couldn’t find the front door. I finally found a grey, steel door with a banner that said “CrossFit Renaissance” kinda near it. I decided to open it and little did I know that opening this door would change my life for the better, in almost every way imaginable.
Honestly, it was a terrifying experience to find that door and walk through it. Here I am, overweight, low self-esteem, and here is Bill, some guy with the body of a Greek God sitting across from me with a clip board. I’m in this cold “warehouse” with a bunch of heavy stuff and weird devices around the perimeter, and I could see my breath in front of me. But after the process began, just from the first conversation with Bill, I could start to see how caring the gym was. It wasn’t about “we are gonna make you into a beast” and “you need to change this about yourself”. It was all about Bill asking me about MY goals, and what he could do to help me get there. This “hole in the wall” gym started to grow on me. It had an appealing “grittiness” to it.
Has that changed?
After meeting the coaches and meeting some fellow members at the gym, I could immediately see the sense of community this gym had and the 100% positive attitude of EVERYONE. During my first few workouts, I remember getting words of encouragement from fellow members and coaches at moments when I was feeling awful about how I was performing and those words really allowed me feel better about what I was doing. Sure, it wasn’t much, but sometimes a “good work” from someone, who is FAR better in shape than you, can really go a long way. This “terrifying, nerve wrecking, intimidating, hole in the wall” almost instantly became a warm, caring place that just fed off of positivity and success. This place really had a soul to it.
What are you currently working on?
Jeez, what aren’t I working on?… Becoming leaner is an over-arching goal, and just becoming stronger in all areas of my body. But, If I ever make it to Open Gym, I really enjoy working on Olympic lifting technique. I’m really trying to increase my numbers on the Clean right now.
What is the toughest part of CrossFit for you?
Wall Balls. Anything over ten in a row and you will hear some terrible obscenities come out of my mouth. But seriously, it’s probably the mental aspect of wanting to be better, feeling like you should be able to do more, but just not physically there yet. It’s a hard thing to get over but I can see improvements week after week and that’s what I try to celebrate. Also logging my workouts…..and actually scheduling the classes beforehand…sorry Ed.
What is your favorite memory at CrossFit Renaissance?
It’s a toss-up…either completing my first 5k run, or…that moment you’re working out, in the zone, and then OUT OF NOWHERE, a whisper from Ray asking “where ya at?”
How long have you been doing CrossFit?
About 10 months now.
What kind of results have you seen? Both physical and mental.
A few weeks ago, I did my very first race and it happened to be over the Ben Franklin Bridge – at sunrise – with a few others from the gym. In the middle of the run, I had a kind of “moment of clarity” where I just realized how far I had come. I could NEVER run in the past, running half a block would leave me winded for several minutes, so of course I despised it. But, with the training and support of CrossFit Renaissance, here I am running the entire length of the Ben Franklin Bridge, without feeling like death was imminent. It was at this moment where I just felt happy about what I am able to do. I was able to partake in this amazing and beautiful experience, meet and hang out with some awesome people, keep pace, and just feel good about my overall physical fitness. While running over that bridge, I was just able to reflect on how far I had come. Getting that first strict pull-up, completing a 5k run without stopping at all, completing my first CrossFit workout prescribed, oh and I am currently running a race on the Ben Franklin Bridge!! I NEVER would have thought I would say the phrase “oh yeah, this race I ran in..” The results and feelings of accomplishment are just too much to try to describe.