Before & After


I started my journey at CrossFit Waterloo about 3 years ago after trying a few classes at the suggestion of a friend. 3 years later and over 30 pounds lighter, I’m still challenging myself both physically and mentally, making progress every day and actually enjoying each workout. Yes. I said enjoying. (cue the ‘You’re crazy!’ comments from the people who can’t comprehend actually looking forward to working out).

I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years – bootcamps, regular gyms, yoga, running, kickboxing, spin classes – but always lost interest over time. CrossFit is different. The workouts are constantly varied and no matter how strong or fast I get, there is always something to improve on and a new goal to work towards.

The coaches at CFW are knowledgeable and able to work with athletes at every level – whether that means scaling a workout down because I just haven’t mastered a muscle up yet, or scaling it up to make it even more challenging. It’s also thanks to these coaches that I’ve stayed injury-free over the years. Yes, there is a risk of injury when you’re swinging on a pullup bar or hoisting 200lbs over your head. But proper form is always prioritized over intensity. The coaches at CFW are trained to notice every little detail and are quick to make the required corrections to your form to prevent any injury from occurring.

But what really sets CFW apart is the community. Could I go to a gym closer to home? Sure. Will I? Nope. The members at CFW have become a second family and they’re the main reason I look forward to walking through those doors each day. The people who text me when I miss a day, just to make sure I’m still alive. The people who push me to put 5 more pounds on my bar and go for that PR. The people who compete with me and push me to go just a little bit harder every day.

So while I may have lost 30+ pounds somewhere along the way, I’ve gained lifelong friendships, self-confidence in the incredible things my body is capable of doing, and some pretty solid muscles.




I came down with sever RA (rheumatoid arthritis) about 6 months after my youngest Son was born in 2003.  So that makes this 13 years I have had RA. Since then my ability to move and do most anything for myself was extremely difficult. My Doctor put me on very aggressive medications to assist with me in dealing with the pain and to try and help put the RA into remission.  The meds worked a bit but I was still stuck not being able to do much on my own.  Most days getting in and out of bed was a struggle.  I couldn’t even open a water bottle, baby bottle, change my son’s diapers or sometime even holding him was a challenge… and if I ever fell I knew if no one was there to help me I was not getting up.

Along with this of course there was weight gain being unable to move…I was always heavier but things progressed until I reach 370 pounds.  I finally decided that I had enough and started a weight loss journey,  and I talked to Coach Nik Rac at first for my son and husband for personal training.  I had lost about 100 pounds before I asked Nik to train me as well.  I let him know of my condition as I was very skeptical if there was anything at all I would be able to do.  Nik assured me that anything is scalable and that he would research a bit of what RA was and we would go from there.  I started working out once a week to see if this was something I was going to be able to do. Since I have starting training with Nik I have lost 85 more pounds!  And the best part with the weight loss came muscle gain which is very important to maintaining my weight loss goals

My Doctor now is excited to report that I have less inflammation in my joints from 17 affected areas to 2-3. I am now able to live almost a completely normal life.  I can walk up and down the stairs without taking them one step at a time (this being where I was when we started).  I can open almost any jar or water bottle by myself.  I can carry in groceries from the car, I can do push ups, burpees, lunges and almost any other movement that most Crossfitters do every day with no issues.  When I started I couldn’t even get up and down from the floor on my own and just these last few months even, I am now officially able to get up and down from the floor totally unassisted!  When I started, Nik at one point had to literally pick me up from the floor as I just could not do it. My whole family now CrossFits and 4 of 6 of us are training to work towards doing The Open in 2017!  I am excited to see where I can go and I am now working out 4 days a week! I am still not sure what I will be able to do in the Open as I came out to see all of you in 2016 and I know the dedication and strength it takes to do what you all have done but all you inspired me to try!

My RA is still active but it doesn’t control my life anymore.  My hope is that I can continue to inspire others to never give up and think that you are stuck where you are.  If I can do this anyone can! The quote that has stuck with me through all this has been “ I am already in pain and I already hurt so I might as well get something from it”  Maybe some day down the road I can help others with issues like mine to work at regaining their life too.

Thanks Chris for helping Nik start off helping Scott and Nate.  As well I can’t tell you enough how much it means to all of my family that you have allowed Nik to train us as a unit! It means a lot that we are a part of CrossFit Waterloo and I can’t wait to see how we do at the Open!

All the best,





“I’m truly thankful for what you guys have helped me achieve. I’m attaching some before and after pics. The before are taken at the beginning of the paleo challenge in Feb 2012. The afters are a couple of weeks old. :). I’ve lost around 40 lbs and 5″ off my waist since starting at CrossFit Waterloo. I’m still working on getting the 6 pack… ;)”

Jamie Pepper


I started CrossFit back in November of 2010 after hearing my much more athletic cousins talk about it at Thanksgiving. I had tried just about everything else to get in shape; from a personal trainer to owning my own home free weights and elliptical, and I could never seem to motivate myself.

That all changed after my first few introductory classes. I won’t lie, my muscles were extremely sore when I first started, and I took about 4 days to a week to recover from the first few sessions, but the one thing that hit me was that part of what motivates me is having variety, and always something new to challenge me.

The first picture above was from 2008. I weighed around 247 lbs then, and I had been in a desk job for 5 years at that point and it obviously was not doing me any favours. In 2009/2010 I ended up getting injured playing sports and deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) formed in my left calf.

Fast forward to November 2011 and the picture on the right. I’m down to 195 lbs, eating healthier than I have in my life, and can do things I never would have thought possible just 12 short months ago. I’m still living with deep vein thrombosis and I don’t expect a miracle in that regard, but am more than ecstatic with the miracle I’ve created in my health and fitness and continue to make with the help of the coaches at CrossFit Waterloo.