Inspiring Client Story from Nat Burnett

My name is Nat Burnett.  I was born and raised, and still live in the great city of Seattle.  I have always enjoyed playing sports, engaging in competition, and working hard. During my post college years I was an “athletic” twenty-something dude.  However, I knew that I was never really in great shape – I can truly say it was THE struggle of my twenties.  I tried “eating healthy”, I did p90x™, INSANITY™, was pretty active, running in the mornings and evenings, etc.  Of course I would lose some weight here and there, but it was a constant fluctuation of intake versus output.  Apart from the physical, I struggled with what it was I really enjoyed.  Some people grow up knowing what they want to do and I was not one of those people.  My mom still has a copy of one of our preschool exercises on paper - when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I said "Voltron".  My favorite color was brown.  Did I just want to be different?  Who knows!!

Anyways, I had a great job as contract employee at Microsoft, but I just didn’t see myself being in that role forever.  I knew I would move on to something else eventually – and again, and again.  That seems to be standard for most people that do contract work.  Okay, so why am I writing this.  Well, I wanted to share the story of how Crossfit changed my life.  Que Meg from Family Guy "Whaaaaaaaaaaaat??"  No, this is not a paid advertisement, however, whether it is realized or not, I am a firm believer that Crossfit can have a profound effect on people’s lives.  I had a friend tell me once, “I just don’t feel the same without Crossfit”.  It’s true, you don't.  If you’ve never done crossfit, when you do, I guarantee it will change you.

At the end of last summer I moved in with my friend Mike who was a member of Level4 Crossfit Seattle.  He told me about the Leaning Challenge, a seven week Paleo challenge where winner takes all.  I have to admit I was not stoked to participate, but after some coercion I decided to try it out.  I had just finished INSANITY™ and was actually probably the lightest I had been in two or three years.  That would be… 5’7” 206lbs.  Anyways, I joined Crossfit Seattle, threw in my $30-spot and off we went.  Seven weeks later I was 176lbs and much to my disappointment… still 5’7”.  Oh well, we’ll work on the height thing later!  I'm not kidding, I lost 30lbs in 7 weeks!  Just to put things in perspective, the last time I was 176lbs was when I was a growing junior in high school.  I worked (beered/Top Ramen’d) my way up to 230 as a Sophomore/Junior in college, back down to 215 during Senior year (with a short time spent around 190lbs thanks to Ephedra (it works if you don't mind the possiblity of your heart spontaneously combusting)) and hovered between 210 and 220 in my post college years.  Yes, I was all over the board.  Okay back to present, I was 176lbs and had something that actually worked for me.  Paleo and Crossfit.

I felt healthy, I felt strong – like every movement was a precise attack on the bar I was lifting, the urg, the ground.  I remember going for a six mile run (which was something I had never done before) and not once did I lose my breath.  That seriously blew my mind.  I am hardly qualified to speak to the science behind it.. it’s not my job, but I think Paleo and Crossfit work together so well because they both focus on being close to "natural".  Ya, that's right, let's go to Walden Pond with Thoreau and skip rocks.  Fine, I'll explain what I mean.  Crossfit uses movements that are applicable to life.  No, I don’t mean the movement of sitting in front of a computer typing, I’m more speaking of how human life was in the past, which can be characterized by short bursts of energy to catch prey or get the heck away.  You know, how it should be.  Similarly, Paleo focuses on food groups that our ancestors sought after because they were readily available in nature, high in nutrients, easy to harvest or capture, etc.  All of it just makes sense, and it worked for me so I was excited about it.  I told friends that I knew had been battling with weight and others came to me after seeing pictures and what not.  In my group of friends Paleo became somewhat of an epidemic.

I coached a few friends that wanted to try Paleo, one lost 50lbs in his first three or four months, the other has lost 107lbs in the past seven months.  At one point we counted the pounds lost between friends on Paleo and we were over 500.  We started a Paleo food picture page on Facebook where we could post pictures of food and recipes for others to try out and enjoy.  It really took off and I loved being a part of something bigger, something that was meaningful and gratifying.  If anything Paleo has taught me that my body needs to be lean.  That doesn't mean I never eat non-paleo things.  Ben and Jerry are still my close homies and I'm not saying I haven't wound up the Jack in the Box in the last year.  But, the success of it all and the enjoyment I got out of helping others got me thinking about my career and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

For some time I had been interested in the fire service.  I'm not married, I don't have a girlfriend or anything to worry about other than myself and I finally came to terms with the fact that I would probably never be Voltron so I decided to give it a shot and talked to some friends who knew more about it.  Just a couple of weeks shy of the 2011 Fall Leaning Challenge (one year later) I am a Volunteer Resident Firefighter with Snohomish County Fire Protection District 22 (Getchell).  I’m working part-time at Microsoft and on shift at the station every 4th day for 24 hours.  I love the job and everyone there is awesome.  Things are constantly changing, no day is like the last, and there is a new challenge around every corner.  Though the timing might not be the best, I have aspirations of becoming a career firefighter in the future and will continue to pursue employment with career departments while I gain experience with Getchell.  I’m working frequently and working hard, but I’m having a great time learning new things and applying the skills I learned during academy!  I can honestly say that without the kick in the butt Crossfit gave me, it may have never happened.