Once in awhile I hear from prospective CrossFitters something like ‘well it seems interesting but I have [fill in the blank body ailments] so I can’t do it’.  I challenge this notion, and I am writing this piece specifically for those folks.  It has been my experience that CrossFit, by fostering safely executed functional movements and a generally healthier lifestyle, facilitates tremendous rehabilitative effects.

This is my personal story on the subject.  For me, while I’ve been banged up quite a bit in my life, the big daddy of health scares was major spinal surgery.  I thought it was game over, but I’m happy to say CrossFit has brought me back into the game.

I used to feel invincible.  Strong, fast, powerful, quick, agile; basically, able to do anything that I put my mind to.  I was a competitive athlete, and I served in the Special Operations Forces.  We’d con
coct evil and creative workouts to challenge each other, with an eye towards expanding our limits.

Well with the addition of a few years, a few more pounds, and quite a few air miles, my body started punishing me.  I was making unhealthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, sleep et al.  One day I was over the Atlantic, reaching into the overhead compartment for my bag, and felt a lightning bolt of pain sizzle from my brain through my shoulder and arm.  Wow!

Thus began a very interesting process of medical diagnostics, mis-diagnoses and frustration.  The pain became unbearable.  Finally I got confirmation on what my issue(s) were:  seriously herniated disks, combined with severe stenosis on both sides, with a thimble-sized bone spur sticking into my spinal cord.  Nice combo.  I felt like I was in the ring with Mohamed Ali and Mike Tyson and Bruce Lee, all at the same time.  And they were pissed at me!

After undergoing the knife for a few hours it was time to convalesce.  The biggest thing for me was to find the new reality – could I still play ball with my sons?  Lift weights?  Run with the dog?  It was all a mystery.  After a period I started going to the gym, just to move a little bit.

So there I was, and I saw this crazy dude doing a monster workout, unlike anything I’d ever seen – I was awestruck!  I came to realize he was doing Fran, but at the time all I understood was that this madman was doing something completely different – a full body strength workout that gave him a cardio workout, all in less than 5 minutes.  Blew.  My.  Mind.

Innocently enough I asked him what he was doing and he just opened his mouth and something inaudible, along with some spittle, poured out.  I had to ask him a couple of times because he really was a mumbler but then I heard something like ‘crossfit.com’.  (I later came to realize that he was performing a timed workout and I was incredibly rude, probably deserving of a smack.  Guess it was a good thing he was so smoked.)

So I started checking out CrossFit.  Always challenging – learning new skills, getting stronger, faster, more powerful – and helping out with every day real life applications.  I got my CrossFit Level 1 Certification, built a garage box, and started beasting with my sons and friends.  We were getting crazy results!  And just feeling terrific :).

I am now more pain free than I ever was during my athletic or military careers.  And I’m in pretty decent shape.  And just having a blast at CrossFit SOAR, my favorite place to hangout.  CrossFit totally changed my life – it allowed me to reclaim my health and wellness.


-Steve Keefer, Partner & Founder


CrossFit SOAR is a CrossFit Affiliate serving Bergen and Passaic Counties, including the towns of Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Hawthorne, Paramus, Ridgewood and Wyckoff.   At SOAR, you will finda an inclusive community offering more that a workout;  we’ll provide you with a CrossFit Family.  We provide a range of programs, including traditional CrossFit, Boot Camps and Kid/Teen fitness programs.  The first class is always free, and there are never any long-term commitments.




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