MEET THE COACH:
Aaron “Bart” Bartels
Head Coach & Affiliate Owner
As a three-sport athlete, I was very active during my youth. After one year of college, I realized quickly that I was not ready for the college lifestyle. In my mind football was going to be my career, but that too was not the case for me. However, I’m very proud to say I spent the next chapter of my life serving this great country in the United States Army.
Fast forward 5 years from the end of my military career – the Army and being an athlete were now distant memories and years of inactivity coupled with bad habits like eating and drinking as if I were still active found me a 34 year old 350 pound man.
Following the surprising death of a friend in his 20’s from an undiagnosed heart condition I decided that if that could happen to an apparently healthy young man it was time for me to clean up my lifestyle and try everything I could to live healthier. I joined a local gym and trained with what I knew at the time, did some “cardio” and lifted weights, this showed me some success but I found myself bored and looking for advice on how to get better results.
This is when I was introduced to CrossFit. A friend was opening a box and invited me to come try it out, it was the affiliate owner and myself and two or three others Woding together and I was hooked. The first thing that got me was the feeling that I was competing again for the first time in years. The real hook for me, however, was that I again was part of a “team”. In the next few years I found myself getting in the best physical condition of my life, being able to “do work” like I had never been able to do.
When I became a coach it changed my life, I can’t put into words how proud I am of the relationships I’ve developed due to my position as a CrossFit coach and the lives I’ve watched transform in front of my eyes. I believe CrossFit is for everyone! The ultra competitive athletes in my box, as well as the athletes who are just looking for a great work out, and a supportive environment to train, get equal attention and train side by side. I’m very proud to say that I’m a CrossFit coach and I’m excited to continue to introduce the Sport of Fitness to everyone I meet.
I had just finished completing my first Ironman in 2011 when a friend approached me about Crossfit. I was skeptical, but was in need of a change. I was tired of the plain old gym routine and was looking for more variety. I tried Crossfit and shortly after I was hooked! Crossfit has been a tremendous help in achieving my goals while training for duatholons, triathlons and marathons. It’s great to be part of the Crossfit community which provides so much support to everyone involved. Crossfit has allowed me to gain confidence in my physical ability to do anything I put my mind to. I firmly believe Crossfit will change your life!
I have always thrived on competition. Between sports, friends, and of course my little brother everything we do has been a competition in one form or another! However, after several years of training in a traditional gym, and not seeing any progress I fell into a slump. I was working night shift, drinking 4 monster energy drinks a night, and living life day to day. I was gaining weight, getting out of shape, and losing interest in some of my favorite activities. In other words, I was letting myself hit rock bottom in terms of my personal health. I needed to make a change, and it wasn’t until I moved to St. Cloud with my wife Maggie that I found CrossFit. I remember the day like it was yesterday. The “WOD” was an “easy” 21-15-9 of push-ups, pull ups, and sit ups for time. “Easy” was understatement! By the time I had finished the first 21 push-ups, and working on the pull ups I had been passed up by two athletes about 40 years older than me. Not to mention, 16 minutes later I was laying on a rubber mat, steam rolling off of my body, sweat burning into my eyes, and my lungs on fire! I was hooked! This was the competitive addiction that I had been searching for. Ever since that day, CrossFit has changed my life in every aspect imaginable. I have become a better husband, a stronger leader, more fit, and most importantly more motivated about life! As a leader, athlete, and coach my biggest piece of advice is to always remember our bodies are no different than machines. We have to maintain them in order to fully live the life that we desire. If we don’t we slowly deteriorate physically, emotionally, and mentally. That being said, live your life above bar, put yourself outside your comfort zone, and push yourself each and every day to be better than you were yesterday!
Growing up with two older, bigger brothers back in Deerfield, Illinois (suburb of Chicago), I wanted so much just to be somewhat of a fight for them. I started to workout a little when I was in sixth grade starting basic bodyweight exercises. I saw vague results in my body, but I saw more results within my own head. I came to terms with the fact that I am not that big, fast, or smart for that matter, but I fell in love with the concept of constantly manipulating my level of success in the absence of any physical talent. I was motivated and became obsessed with fitness and competition especially when I saw success in wrestling my freshman year of high school. Through wrestling, I came to understand that I was never stuck where I was and that I could always make great leaps if I really wanted to. my freshman year, I went 8-12 on the freshman level. By the end of my senior year, I was 2 time all-conference with a 26-14 record on varsity level my last season. During this time in high school I was introduced CrossFit. I would do these circuit type training regimens relating closely to CrossFit after practice, on the weekends, pretty much all throughout the year and loved them because there was an overall fitness aspect that seemingly no other type of training seemed to offer. Fast forward four years to my coaching debut at Rejuv Medical and Integration CrossFit, I will be graduating from Saint John’s University next May and am one of the captains of the SJU wrestling team. CrossFit combines two of my very favorite things, Fitness and a strong team aspect that I believe to be the key to succeeding individually as well. I cannot wait to see where this great opportunity takes me!!