Jessa Beck Mitchell
July 21, 2016
Aaron “AJ” Brant
April 7, 2016

What made you decide to come to CrossFit RAZE?
There is no doubt about it, my wife, Elisabeth. I honestly didn’t think that CrossFit was for me. We have a good friend that had started working out and competing in Fort Wayne so we had been out there a few times cheering him on. It struck me as a bit too intense. I think deep down I was simply intimidated. We kept driving by RAZE and we would see the members out front doing all sorts of “crazy” exercises. Elisabeth contacted Coach Bobbie and started working out sometime in October of 2013. At first I thought that she was out of her mind. She would come home and tell me about the insane WODs (workout of the day) that she was doing with an excitement that I had never seen from her. Then she would complain about how sore she was, but she would be laughing about it the whole time. This went on for about 3 months. Then one night she talked me into having some food and drinks with a few of the members, including Coach Bobbie and Coach Karen. Their passion and excitement was infectious. It was hard not to be intrigued. I decided a few days later to take the plunge. It was right before Christmas and I knew that I was going to be off of work for a couple of weeks so I thought that if I was going to be sore that I might as well do it while I was off of work. I contacted Coach Bobbie and arranged to try my first class. I had been exposed, as I said before, but until you participate you really don’t have a clue. LOL! Coach Bobbie set up the WOD for the class and then took the time to set a version of it that was scaled to my abilities. I still found myself thinking “WHAT HAVE I DONE???” about half way thru the workout! But a funny thing happened. Although I was sure that I might, I didn’t die. I had completed a pretty tough workout and I felt really good about myself.
How often do you work out?
I try to get into RAZE four to five days a week. On the days that I am not there I try to find a way to stay active.
What changes have you noticed and achieved mentally, emotionally and physically?
I have never been the type to stop because of a little discomfort, but I had a problem listening to my body and protecting it. The coaches have taught me to be smart about how I approach fitness. To me, fitness was always tied to my vanity. I mean, who doesn’t want to look good, right? Now, it is more about FEELING good. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to look good, too, but it has become more important to appreciate the way my clothes fit or how my back doesn’t hurt when I get out of bed in the morning. Finally, it has helped me to recognize the stranglehold that food had on me, not only physically, but emotionally as well. While I am far from perfect, I feel better and happier at 44 years old than I ever did in my 20’s.
What are your favorite movements or WODs?
I really enjoy Annie. She was my first. That might sound odd to you now, but if you get into CrossFit you will quickly understand. LOL. Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with so many of the movements. Anything that makes you wonder “WHAT HAVE I DONE” while you are in the middle of doing it, but will bring you back for more can’t be all bad, right?
What is the most important thing you have learned about yourself through being a member at RAZE?
I can love me for who I am. I am more comfortable with who am and what I can offer to the people in my life than I have ever been. I don’t have to be perfect, or be the fastest, or the strongest. It is ok to fail sometimes, or to stumble along the way, as long as you don’t give up. These are some of the things that I have learned through the sweat, pain and laughter.
What keeps bringing you back to RAZE?
This one is easy. It’s the people, the community, the love and the support. There is nothing more inspiring than to watch a group of your peers circled around someone pushing to finish a WOD to cheer them on.
If someone is reading this right now and is interested in coming to CrossFit RAZE but still nervous about taking the leap, what would you say to them?
Do not let fear or anxiety own you. Come in and meet the RAZE Family and make some connections with some people and somethings that can change your life forever.