Luis Velez


In 2008 I returned to Bamberg, Germany from my first deployment to Afghanistan. My friends and I started taking fitness seriously and taking all kinds of supplements to get “big”. We used to do PT every morning with our company and went to the gym on base after work. I wasn’t tracking progress by how much weight I did or anything, I just wanted to look big and have abs. I didn’t know anything about nutrition, used to eat McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and my wife’s delicious Puertorican cooking every day for lunch and dinner. Went back to Afghanistan in 2009 and continued doing PT every morning and the gym in the afternoon but started going at lunch time as well. Once I got back to Germany I immediately received orders to become a recruiter stationed in Palm Beach Gardens.

For my first 8 months in recruiting I went without doing absolutely any kind of physical activity. I went from weighing 145 to 160 and came close to failing the 2 mile run at an Army Physical Fitness Test and that’s when it hit me and I said to myself “Damn, I have to do something”. I found about HEW through Braxton, he came to me one day at work and said “You have to try CrossFit”.

At first I had no idea what CrossFit was, so I decided to join their gym. Went to HEW for about 6 months and saw no improvements other than my run time. I was then sent for 3 months to an Advanced Leadership Course in Fort Lee, Virginia and officially began CrossFit at Colonial CrossFit. By month number 2 I started improving on every single lift and I was able to get my first muscle up. Upon completion of the Leadership Course I returned to PBG and finished my last membership with HEW and switched to Gardens CrossFit.

The “trainers” at HEW kept asking me why I wanted to go to GCF and not stay with them and I told them that I wasn’t really improving on anything and no one took time during workouts or after to correct my form, they just stood there clapping and cheering people on while their they had the worst form ever, as soon as I said that they looked at me weird and even got mad, that’s when I knew I was only another $75 bucks a month for them just a customer not an athlete.

There’s no other box out there like GCF. Miki, Lee, Paul, Cody, Becky, Jason and Nick have truly earned the title of “Coach”. Ever since I started going to GCF I have improved tremendously on every single CrossFit movement and Olympic lifts. No one ever corrected me on the spot while I was a boot camp. At GCF I can always count with a coach that actually knows their shit to correct my form and get me on the right path. All the training from GCF has taken my Army Physical Fitness Test score from a 279 to a 349, keeping in mind you only need 300 points to max out, GCF has helped me accomplish that and more. I’m lucky to call Gardens CrossFit my second home.

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