One of my first classes with CFM

My journey at Crossfit Merrimack (CFM) began in September 2012. I showed up to class out of shape and feeling defeated by all my sad attempts of getting fit by traditional gyms and other fitness “quick fixes.”  I will never forget my first day of class at CFM. The class had completed a series of movements that I thought were the Workout of the Day (WOD). Then Coach Bob declared, “OK, the warm up is done, we’re about to begin the WOD!” I stood there out of breath, soaked in sweat and in a state of shock. At that exact moment, I was hooked.

The best part about CFM is the support system you develop with other members. You work out next to people who are crushing the WOD and encouraging you to do the same. When you miss a class, they’ll call you out! The accountability and encouragement is what keeps me coming back for more.

I have tried everything and I mean everything from a cheap membership at Planet Fitness, personal trainers at Global Fitness, food patches that would help you control your appetite (you can laugh) and even Weight Watchers.  I was desperate to get back to my high school weight and would try anything! I was never able to stick to anything or eat a healthy diet due to lack of education. Coach Bob goes out of his way to educate you on nutrition and the proper lifting techniques. He took the time to answer my countless questions and supported me on my journey. Best of all CrossFit is a lot of fun!
I am proud to say I am in the best shape of my life thanks to Coach Bob! When people ask me how I was able to make my transformation I tell them, “I have a body by bob!” Stop in for a class, you won’t regret it!

I first came to Crossfit Merrimack in February of 2013. At the time I was 260 pounds and probably in the worst shape of my life. As a full time chef I was on my feet all day and the weight was taking a toll on my body, my back hurt constantly, my knees ached from supporting that weight for eight to ten hours a day, I was a wreck physically and mentally. I had tried countless times before joining CFM to lose weight and get healthy. I had memberships to gyms, tried P90X, and would go for long walks and jogs but it was always too easy to skip days or do the easier DVDs and order a pizza afterward as a “reward” for a good days work and then snowball back into complacency.

I had no idea what Crossfit was until I saw a picture of a young woman on Facebook with, what I thought, was a remarkable difference between a before and after shot of herself. Just above the picture she had typed “Before and After 6 months #CrossfitMerrimack” After doing some research into what Crossfit actually was, I then looked into Crossfit gyms (boxes) in my area and went through all their websites trying to find a reason NOT to try it.  I don’t have the experience with Olympic style weightlifting, it’s  too difficult, and I’m too out of shape. Until I read the “About” section on the CFM website and read the story of owner/head coach Bob Grenier. His story was similar to mine and once again I saw evidence of real people, who live in my community being changed, for the better, by Crossfit.  I consulted some family and friends and after a few sarcastic “good lucks” and a “Dad you’re going to die!” while watching a Crossfit video with my daughter I decided to give it a shot. I figured the first class is free and I had nothing to lose but one night of sitting in front of the TV so I went. And it was terrible! It was extremely difficult. I honestly thought my daughter was right and I was going to die! I was sweating and breathing heavy, my mouth was dry and I didn’t think I could finish. Then they told me that was the warm up and now we’re starting the workout of the day (WOD). When that was over and I realized I was still alive I looked up and noticed everyone congratulating each other, including me, for doing a great job and that was it. After seeing how welcoming and supportive everyone was I signed up for a whole year. For weeks my body was in pain but I kept going back and every day I noticed small but significant changes in my appearance and my confidence and my fitness level.

Currently (January 2014) I’m weighing in at 215 pounds, the aches and pains I feel now are from the previous days WODs and I’m starting a paleo challenge that I hope will become a more complete change in my eating habits. Every day is a challenge to be better than I was the day before in all aspects of my life and I love watching the weights on the barbell go up as the weight on the scale goes down. What was, at first, a good way to lose weight before the summer has become a lifestyle change that wouldn’t be possible without Crossfit and more importantly Bob, the coaches and the friends I’ve come to count on as motivation at Crossfit Merrimack. When people who don’t Crossfit ask me about it I always say the same thing “It isn’t cheap and it isn’t easy but it’s worth it.”     

~Ryan O.

Ryan ~November 2013. Competing at first CrossFit competition
Ryan ~March 2013



I started Crossfit almost 1 year ago and I’ve seen some pretty drastic changes to my body and my strength. I’ve done sports my whole life but never was able to get the results that I have at Crossfit Merrimack. However, the body transformation is really just a bonus when you realize the change in self-esteem and confidence. I’ve never felt better in my life. I’ve never been more confident in my life. It’s amazing what the human body and mind can accomplish if you just push yourself and I hope more people realize this. Easily one of the best things that’s ever happened to my life. I’m addicted.  ~Molly D.

Molly ~March 2013 hitting her then 1 rep max of 75 lbs
Molly ~December 2013.  Now competing regularly in CrossFit competitions through New England




June of 2013, nervous beyond belief, I walked through the doors of CFM for my first class. I had lived in Lowell for a little over a year, knew no one within a 30 miles radius and Target and Stop & Shop were the only “hot spots” I frequented.  As I walked in the voice of my good friend repeating over and over in my head from a year ago, “I don’t think you’re ready for Crossfit.”  At the time she told me this I was overweight, depressed, insecure, eating and drinking too much and not working out, so needless to say I believed her.  I then spent the year doing insanely boring work outs, and thinking running on the treadmill for 45 minutes,  leg presses and using other “fancy machines” or throwing around 25 pound dumbbells was going to work.  Granted, it worked, in the sense that I lost some weight, but that was it; and for me, that wasn’t enough. I was still depressed, insecure, eating and drinking too much and looking to really push my body to the potential I have always thought it had. In June of 2012 I set a goal to back squat 200 pounds. The people at the gym where I was going thought this idea was unsafe, not beneficial and ridiculous because I was a girl; I had already caught enough grief for using 30 pound dumbbells in all my workout classes.  So, bored and annoyed I joined a “big chain” gym and ended up finding a trainer that knew Olympic lifting.  By this point I had lost more weight, gained some muscle and had cleaned up my eating and drinking to be a little better. A few months passed and my trainer got a new job, which meant, no more sessions and no more of his daily group workouts. Sad and nervous I would have to return to 45 minute runs on the treadmill and losing all the muscle I had gained and packing back on the fat, I sat down at work and googled Crossfits in Lowell. After looking through my choices, I felt drawn to CFM. The personal story the head coach posted online; I related to. I needed that. A place where everything I had gone through, and am going through can be understood on a level better than any text book or certification class will tell you. So, nervous and anxious, trying to get my friends voice out of my head, I emailed about doing a class. It has been six months since I sent that email and not one day goes by that I regret doing it. What I do regret, is listening to my friend when she told me she thought I wasn’t ready and wasting a year of my life not doing crossfit. Who were they to tell me I wasn’t ready for something? I see people every day in the box that are doing the workouts in the same shape I was a year ago, and they inspire me. I am jealous they found CFM when they did, didn’t hesitate to join and busting their asses. Walking through the front door of CFM was hands down the best decision I have ever made.  I have pushed my body to limits I always knew I was capable of but was never given the means to achieve. CFM has taught me how to push my body even further than those limits and explore a whole new exciting world of working out. The emotions you go through during every class are worth it and downright addicting. Not once did anyone at Crossfit Merrimack question my goal of back squatting 200 pounds; which I reached and have now surpassed. It was received with open arms. Now, I can happily say I do know people within a 30 miles radius and trips to Target and Stop & Shop aren’t my excitement for the week; coming to the box and seeing my friends is. I also lost 15 pounds of fat within the first few months at CFM and gained some awesome muscle to boot. I am in the best shape of my life right now and my confidence is the highest it has ever been and my eating is better than ever, and I owe most of it to Crossfit Merrimack, the coaches and people it comprises for the knowledge and endless motivation. Crossfit Merrimack has truly shown me what the real definition of a community is. I couldn’t imagine crossfitting anywhere else, so Bob, you better still have this gym open when I’m 50! 75! 100!

CFM Christmas Party Dec 2013

My crossfit journey, not unlike every other journey in my life, was not your typical one. I had no interest in working out and generally no interest in being healthy. My goal was, and I quote, “to make my arms look good in my wedding dress”. I am sure that exact line is in an e-mail somewhere, written 2 and half years ago from myself to my former gym owner regarding personal training. I’m quite sure upon hearing this Bob was about as thrilled to have such an “eager” client as myself as I was to be in a gym at all. Cut to the day before my first session with Bob when my fiancé left me and now I have 36 sessions of personal training with some dude for, in my mind, no reason at all. And yet, for some unknown reason, I woke up that first morning and I went. I was being trained, unbeknownst to me, in this new style of Crossfit. What the heck is that? I had never heard of this crossfit crapola (and neither had anyone else that I knew at the time) but I was about to find out. It was miserable. I was miserable. I sat down in the middle of the gym floor when I was finished and yes, I cried. However, I realized two things 1.) without knowing it I had somehow gone from being a dancer/former athlete to the worst shape of my life and 2.) crying was going to get me no where. So I kept coming. And for some reason Bob kept training me. Even when I made excuses and I showed up late or was incredibly, and I do mean INCREDIBLY, uncoordinated he always treated/trained me like an athlete. And then somehow the strangest thing happened. He got in my head without me even knowing like some kind of crazy crossfit coach ninja and I started to care. I started to want to be there and to push myself. I gained confidence and coordination (so much coordination, seriously) This one took a while but I cared about what I ate, I cared about how it made me perform. When I started I didn’t even know what a barbell was, never mind how much it weighed or what I should be doing with it. I wouldn’t even do wall balls in public spaces in the gym because the lack of coordination was too embarrassing. Now crossfit is something I can not go without. It has become a part of my daily routine, something I am completely obsessed with and can’t get enough of. Crossfit Merrimack is my temple. It’s where I come to meditate on self-improvement and empowerment. That bar is my therapist. It knows what I need and it keeps me in line and focused on my goals. Having been a part of this extended fitness family from the start and looking back to see Crossfit Merrimack come from an empty,

~Drew R.

busted and broken down warehouse to this strong built out structure, full of fearless athletes and changed lives, all under Bob’s careful and relentless guidance, I realize, I have undergone the very same journey. Training with Bob and experiencing crossfit has been nothing short of life changing, if not life saving. I owe so many of the positive things that I have in my life now to Crossfit Merrimack and Coach Bob. Not only have I seen myself push the boundaries of what I ever believed to be possible for myself physically but the passion and knowledge I have gained from living this lifestyle gave me the confidence and the opportunity to start my own business in a field that I know and love. All told I’ve lost about 10 or 15 pounds but it’s completely not about that. It’s about what I’ve gained. So many incredible experiences, a feeling of accomplishment and respect for myself and my body, as well as a family and a place I can come and feel completely badass, throw around some heavy weight and leave feeling on top of the world. Beware of walking through that door. You won’t walk out the same way you came in.         ~Drew R.