Craig and Michelle McClain


Craig and Michelle McClain

22032_1207670554214_4052265_nMembers Since August 2010

What has been your favorite workout so far? 
Michelle: Anything with sledge hammers in it. I don’t know why exactly, but I connect to them in a very primal way.

Craig: “Colin”, although the last and only time I did it I only finished 5 rounds.  Someday I’ll hit my goal of six without passing out or almost dying.  Six rounds of:  Carry 50 pound sandbag 400m, 115 pound Push Press, 12 reps, 12 Box jumps, 24 inch box, 95 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull, 12 reps.

What were you doing for exercise before Strength & Conditioning? 
Michelle: Playing around unsuccessfully at the gym, and“running” on the side supplemented with a little heavy bag work.

Craig:  For a couple of years before Strength & Conditioning I ran, or more likely walked and jogged slowly.  I would hardly call what I did a workout.  In California, Michelle and I met with a trainer twice a week.  He was always late and sometimes just forgot the appointment.  But he was cheap!  With such a dedicated trainer and consistency, it may be no shock I never saw any results.

422828_10150565041490448_1189390362_nHow would you describe your previous athletic background before Strength & Conditioning?
Michelle: I have never been an athlete, unless you count marathon book reading. In high school I was on the flag line which is more athletic than one might think, but that was pretty much it.

Craig:  I played football in high school and rugby in college, but nothing competitive after that.  I hiked and mountain biked but  not frequently enough to be called an athlete.

What made you want to give Strength & Conditioning a try? 
Michelle: A friend in California had joined and it worked for her. My experience in gym settings was so monotonous and unstructured. I hated it. I knew Strength & Conditioning was different and thank God it was!

Craig: I needed a change fast before my wife traded me for a younger fitter model! Seriously, Michelle’s friend in California began Strength & Conditioning and lost a tremendous amount of weight.  My weight was around 260 pounds and I felt myself quickly approaching 300.  I could not sleep at night, was winded climbing a flight of stairs, suffered from pain in my back and knees, felt mentally sluggish, and could not stand to look at myself in the mirror.  I felt horrible which made me feel horrible about myself.  I had no confidence in myself despite other accomplishments.  I was afraid my life was not going to last long or what little was left would not be pleasant.  I visited multiple gyms in the area asking for help. All I received was membership offers and some equipment, but no guidance.  In contrast was my visit Courage Fitness Durham.

381040_10150488980283134_586970166_nWhat impact has Strength & Conditioning had on your life?
Michelle: Strength & Conditioning has changed everything–my body, my diet and my mind. I feel better, I look better, and I have more confidence in my daily life. I finally know what fit is and I have a path to get there.

Craig: Today I weigh about 225 pounds, which I have consistently kept for about a year and half.  But in that time I went from 170 pounds of muscle to around 200 pounds.  I have dropped my body fat percent from around 30% to 13%.  I feel younger, stronger, and faster than I ever did when I was in my 20’s or early 30’s.  This all occurred despite having and recovering from ACL replacements on both knees.  Strength & Conditioning and the Community kept me active and helped speed my recovery.  My doctor said to me at one point, “I don’t know what you are doing but keep doing it.”

What is your favorite thing about Strength & Conditioning? Courage Fitness Durham specifically?
Michelle: I love my fellow Strength & Conditioningters. They’re the best thing about Courage Fitness Durham. They are full of support and they enjoy sharing their own experiences with you. I also think the Coaches are instrumental in my success. They give such helpful advice and seem just as committed to my success as I am. Finally, I really respect the management. Dave really cares about Community-and I’m not just talking about his athletes. He promotes fitness throughout Durham and supports local non-profits too.

Craig: Since our starting day, I have experienced nothing but support.  When I ask Coaches for help, they go above and beyond to work with me.  They meet with me in off hours to discuss my nutrition, my lifting, and when I needed it my surgical recovery.  I would never have received this anywhere else.  When I step across the threshold at the gym.  I am not judged for not performing a muscle up, not have six pack abs, or lifting heavy weights, or being the slowest runner.  Instead, the Community applauds my personal triumphs and lifts me back up when I fail.  I feel everyone is vested in me and likewise me in them.  This level of Community is indicative of Strength & Conditioning and makes Courage Fitness Durham my sanctuary.  I lost weight but gained friends.  I know that sounds cheesy.  Wait, if I’m Paleo can I still used the word cheesy?

How would you describe Strength & Conditioning to someone that had never heard of it before? 
Michelle:  I like to think of it as holistic exercise. You will participate with your mind, body and soul. The most hard core yoga you’ll ever do.

Craig:  I always tell people that it is not a gym.  If the other Globo Fitness Worlds are gyms then Strength & Conditioning is not a gym.  It is lifestyle choice that involves both a mental and physical commitment.  It will be one of the most challenging and rewarding things you ever accomplish with your life.

What is your Strength & Conditioning nemesis?
Michelle: Double Unders and Muscle Ups.

Craig: Anything involving rings, jump ropes, or hand stands.  Does this big Southern boy look like a gymnast to you?

What is your favorite movement?
Michelle: Handstands. Makes me feel like a little kid.

Craig: The Snatch – both as lift and as joke.

What piece of advice would you offer to others thinking about starting Strength & Conditioning?
Michelle: If you want to work out, join a gym. If you want to change your life join Strength & Conditioning. It’s not really a cult.  We just talk funny.

Craig:  You do not need to be in shape to start.  You do not need to be fast, flexible, strong, or mobile. You just need heart and determination.  Bring that and Crossfit will provide the rest.