“If we always choose comfort, we never learn the deepest capabilities of our body or mind.”- Wim Hof
Living with Cancer: Chad Rooney Credits CrossFit BEO with Giving him the “Health and Strength to Fight”
Chad Rooney was close to four years into his CrossFit journey when, in 2019, he heard the dreaded words: “It’s cancer.”
Other than telling his wife and immediate family, Rooney, a member of CrossFit BEO in Sioux City, IA, largely kept his prostate cancer a secret, as well as any details about the treatment he was about to undergo.
Rooney’s treatment—androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)—involved basically “removing all of the testosterone from my body,” he explained, leaving him feel like he was a shell of the man he had been.
“I considered myself a 65-year-old woman post-menopause,” said 48-year-old Rooney of how he felt during six months of ADT. “I was getting 20 to 30 hot flashes a day. I was waking up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat.”
He added: “And my emotions were off the chart. I mean I could watch a Hallmark commercial and it would bring a tear to my eye.”
Still, Rooney kept going to the gym, because he knew it was the best thing for him.
“CrossFit just checks every single box across the board for exercise for prostate cancer rehabilitation (and for) future management (of the disease),” he said.
That being said, his body felt weak and tired, and he lost a ton of muscle mass and gained 20 pounds, and there were certain moments where he felt like he was having a heart attack and would have to sit down, and catch his breath mid-workout.
“I’d quit WODs because I couldn’t catch my breath, and people would be like, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Oh, I’m just not feeling too good.’ I kept it real tight lipped,” he said of the secret he kept.
Revealing his Secret
After six months of ADT, while he was in the hospital ready to undergo surgery to remove his prostate in March 2020, Rooney decided to share his cancer diagnosis with the world.
He didn’t feel comfortable calling or texting his buddies, so he took to Facebook and put up a quick post.
“When I came out of surgery, my phone was blowing up, my social media was blowing up,” he explained, adding that many of the well wishes were from his friends at the gym.
“At that moment, I knew that I had a bigger support group than I knew,” he said, adding that this support was only magnified when he returned to CrossFit BEO.
And from this support, “lifelong friendships” started to grow, filled with tighter bonds than Rooney could have ever imagined, he said.
Further, Rooney became an inspiration to all who knew what he was going through. The common saying became: “Well if Rooney can do this with no testosterone in his body…I’ve got no excuses.”
Living with Cancer
Nine months ago, Rooney found out his cancer is back, although doctors aren’t sure where it’s originating from now.
The good news is it’s an “extremely slow-growing” cancer, Rooney explained, so it could be months, or even years, before he has to undergo any kind of treatment again.
Still, it’s a huge mental challenge to know that cancer is in his body, yet there isn’t anything they’re going to do about it right now.
This has led Rooney to really embrace the idea of controlling what he can.
“I was diagnosed with cancer. I can’t control that diagnosis. I have it. It’s in me,” he said.
But what he can control is his nutrition, sleep and hydration, staying fit, and especially maintaining “as much muscle mass as possible,” he said.
And he credits CrossFit, and the CrossFit BEO community, for making it easy to focus on these things, and for giving him the “health and strength to fight,” said Rooney, who even qualified to Quarterfinals this season.
“Everything about the world of CrossFit has been an amazing ride so far,” he added.
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Another one bites the dust: We were amped to see EZ Muhammad compete in the Masters division this year, but he revealed last week that he received a major penalty on his goblet squats and ultimately missed the cut.
One more ICYMI: The CrossFit Games website updated its database to include earlier years. Something we’ve been hoping for, for awhile.
Available now: Tickets for the fifth annual Rogue Invitational are on sale now. The event will include men’s and women’s individual competition, a Legends showcase and a 10-man Strongman competition.
Head to Head Battle: Mallory O'Brien and Danielle Brandon in Semifinal Test Six
As soon as Test Six of Semifinals was released last week I instantly thought of the battle that is sure to take place between Mallory O’brien and Danielle Brandon during this workout at the North America East Semifinal, due to their skill on their hands.
Event 6: For Time 20 overhead squats
3 handstand walk pirouettes
2 seated legless rope climbs
20 strict chest-to-wall handstand push-ups
2 seated legless rope climbs
3 handstand walk pirouettes
20 overhead squats
Preacher Joe Klassen Pays it Forward, Provides Workout and Resources for Kids
When Joe Klassen entered CrossFit Unconquered for the first time, he couldn’t walk across the gym without a break. As a preacher, he felt that he wasn’t walking the walk, and knew he needed a change in his life. Since then, he’s lost over 130 pounds and has found an entirely new lifestyle within the CrossFit community.
In March, Klassen decided to pay this change forward.
Every Sunday evening, he and other volunteers from the gym travel to a local Section 8 housing sector–government-funded housing for low-income families–to pick up kids. They take the participants to the gym and put them through a quick workout, a sermon, small group discussions, and a meal.
Klassen says the CrossFit portion of the evening is just the “appetizer.” The real focus of every meeting is the religious discussions.
“I laughingly tell people oftentimes that I make people do burpees until they have to sit and listen to me talk about Jesus,” Klassen said.
This program, which they call Faith Unconquered, started when a friend and colleague of Klassen’s approached him. She is an In-School Suspension (ISS) teacher and saw a problem in her school that needed intervention outside of school hours.
She knew Klassen would jump at the opportunity to give back, and the pair haven’t looked back. Plus, they’re not doing it alone–volunteers that help out every Sunday include CrossFit Unconquered coach Brian Clasing, firefighters, military members, EMTs, and teachers.
“Truthfully, it has been a humongous deal, and it hasn’t stopped just within our gym,” Klassen said.
One success story that’s stuck out to Klassen since the program began is that of Cerinity, an eighth grader who, much like Klassen, couldn’t walk across the gym when she first started. She’s completely embraced the challenges and experiences offered in the gym and Klassen says that the impact has gone far beyond the box.
“There’s a different level of confidence in her world now that she didn’t have when she first showed up,” Klassen said. “She’s consistently been an inspiration to those of us that come.”
Clasing remembers a specific bit of praise from a participant specifically. Having grown up in a similar situation, he’s especially connected to the program and feels the impact strongly. Since starting with the program, one participant, a 13-year-old boy, has been routinely provided for by a family in the gym. They’ve gifted him shoes, among other things, and have legitimately changed his outlook on life. Clasing says that the participant said, “I didn’t know people were nice.”
This kind of impact is exactly why Klassen started the program. Between the resources – like shoes, clothes, and meals – they’ve been able to provide for the kids, plus changes in behavior, confidence, and outlook on life, he knows the program is on the right track.
Klassen: “We care about these kids. We want them to know that God loves them beyond anything that we ever could, but also that they have great value, and taking care of their bodies shows that they believe they have great value.”
This Podcast on Mindset
Listen to this episode of Tumeric and Tequila™ with guest Sarah Vogler (who was born with a rare genetic disorder) for a story about overcoming adversity and how fitness helped her heal.
Four Ways to Trick Your Mind Into Letting You Go the F to Sleep
You're lying awake in bed and your mind is running wild. You keep looking at the clock thinking about how your time to sleep is dwindling away. What do you do? You use these four tips from Thirdzy to trick your mind into letting you go the F to sleep.
Athleisure is on a whole new level with Vuori’s DreamKnit™ Joggers. You’ll live in your joggers (and don’t forget a matching hoodie) once you put on their softest, dreamiest fabric. Get your hands on a pair today!
Congratulations to Maggie Dammen from Detour Athletics in Rochester, MN on the 315 pound/142.8kg deadlift PR.
17-year-old Olivia Kerstetter hits a snatch PR of 210 pounds/95.2kg just days before her Individual Semifinals debut.
James Townsend, elite athlete coach and owner of Lion Brave CrossFit in Clive, IA lifts a 600 pound deadlift (272kg) + 500 pound back squat (226.7kg) + 400 pound bench press (181.4kg) in three minutes and 17 seconds.
🌶 2023 Rookie of the Year and owner of CrossFit Minnetonka, Nick Mathew tests out the ruck + ring complex featured in Semifinals Test 2 and it looks… spicy.
Core City CrossFit Kids in Detroit, MI is hosting a multi-generational fundraiser competition, the Core City CrossFit Kids Throwdown, on Saturday, June 10th from 11am-3:30pm.
This nonprofit organization uses the sport of CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting to teach kids the value of hard work, discipline, and self-control all in a loving atmosphere where they can become physically and mentally stronger.
Classes are completely free for children ages 8-16, and donations help the coaching staff offer more classes and continue to expand and develop the program.
The recommended donation is $65 per team of two. All donations are welcome, whether registering for the competition or not.
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