My Journey: Brad Loken

 This picture shows Maxmead coach, Bradley Loken instructing a group training class at Maxmead Fitness in St Louis Park, MN.

I began my fitness journey — halfheartedly — in 2005. I was two years away from getting married, tipping the scale at 240 pounds, and I did not like that I felt "squishy" all over. So I started to read fitness magazines, go for occasional runs, and drastically changed my diet. (Read: not eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's every night). Even though my steps were small, they added up to much more than the nothing I had done in my life up to that point. I noticed the results quickly. As I started to shed the pounds, I becameobsessed, not only with losing weight, but also with building muscle and feeling better.

My only resources were my fitness magazines. Every month I found a new way to get, "GIANT GUNS IN 3 EASY MOVES,” and ways to, "EAT THIS FOR FLAT ABS.” I would jot down the workout in my log book, take it to the local 'Globo Gym,’ and hammer it out for a week or two — only to have a new shiny routine catch my eye the next month, promising even better results faster. Yes, I did see some results. I lost a TON of weight, ran my first few 5Ks, and I had more confidence than ever before. But after a few years of one routine, I hit the dreaded plateau. I grew bored, and I wanted a change. I thought P90X was the answer to my problems. It worked for a while, but watching the same DVD, (and doing the same routine again and again, to the point where you can lip-sync along with Tony), turned redundant and frustrating. I hit another plateau.

Seven years later, my wife Molly and I had a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. We had both completed our first marathons, (Molly ran two!), and we were looking for a new challenge, physically and mentally. But neither of us had interest in training for another endurance event, when we had two little ones at home. We didn’t have much interest in the stereotypical gym, either. We needed something new. Enter: CrossFit. I was working as the manager of a steakhouse in Maple Grove, and stumbled across CrossFit over a slow Sunday brunch. ESPN was on TV, and the CrossFit Games were playing. I was completely mesmerized by what the athletes were doing, and wanted to know what the hell that 'snatch' was. (Up to that point it had just been a dirty word to me). 

We joined a local CrossFit gym in January 2014 and we were hooked. Within the first year, I had registered for my CrossFit Level 1 course, began studying for my ACE personal training exam, and I knew that I wanted to work in fitness. I have learned a lot about myself in going through this journey. I believe fitness should be functional, fun, and inclusive. I learned that results are not immediate. They take hard work, dedication, and accountability. Now I can help people learn those lessons faster, as a Coach for Life here at Maxmead Fitness. So, whenever you get frustrated that you're still using bands for your pull-ups, doing pushups off a box, can't quite string together double-unders, or that your snatch looks like a baby deer stumbling on a ice rink, remember that you are improving — even if doesn't feel like you are. Enjoy the journey! And remember, at Maxmead Fitness you're surrounded with like-minded friends who are also going on their own journey, side by side with you. 

-Coach Brad Loken