9’er Stories: Joey Romanik’s year of transformation

Fast Facts

9'er: Joey Romanik

Age: 48

Hometown: Crystal River, Fla.

Occupation: Realtor

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Accountability changed the game for Joey Romanik.

A month after he proposed to the love of his life, Tina, Joey was thinking about how he wanted to look in wedding pictures beside her. He was picturing their honeymoon in Colorado and remembering how, just one year before, the altitude had fully taken his breath away while he just sitting in a chair, not even hiking. He knew he wanted more for himself, and for her.

The last straw was a "come to Jesus moment," in a 6:00am class at CrossFit9. The workout called for two 800m runs. Joey's first run took more than eight minutes. He found himself stopping to walk and catch his breath multiple times along the way. He walked in looking defeated. On this particular day, his coach pulled him aside and gave him some tough love - showing up was not enough.

That was September 2019.

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From that day in September 2019 to today, Joey has transformed his life. He has changed everything - and I mean everything.

"I started going to bed at 9pm every night so that I could get up at 4:45am in order to get to the gym by 5:30am so that I could run before the 6:00am class," Joey said.

"I started going to CrossFit9 6 days a week instead of 3 days a week. I started running EVERY day, starting with 800m. I started tracking and weighing all of my food."

Joey's then-fiancé, now wifey, put together a plan for his nutrition, starting with tracking his eating habits as they were. "I thought that I was eating ok, but I wasn't," Joey said. "And I knew that without making wholesale changes in my diet, that any of the additional exercising I was going to do wouldn't get me anywhere."

We sat down with Joey and asked him more about his journey, the goals he set, and how his life has changed along the way.

Q: What goals were you chasing?

A: I wanted to get down to 185lbs from 220lbs. I wanted to be able to run further. I wanted to be able to hike at 12,000' in Colorado and not be gasping for air. And I wanted to look and feel better.

Q: What results have you seen, both aesthetic and skill-wise?

A: I've lost 35 lbs, and I've also gained lean muscle. I look totally different now. Before this, I couldn't run 800m, now I'm running 7 miles. I couldn't do 4 unbroken burpees, now I can do 30. I couldn't do 10 push-ups, now I can do 25. I couldn't do a pull-up, now I can string together 5 (on a good day).

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Q: How has your life changed since you started? What have you noticed being easier/more enjoyable?

A: Aside from just feeling better in general, I'm also sleeping better. And I can go out and do anything physical without feeling winded. When we were in Colorado in August, I was running 10 minute miles at our Airbnb, which was at 10,000'. The last time we were there I was literally gasping for air while just sitting in a chair at 7,000'.

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CrossFit9's role in the journey

"CF9 has given me a place to workout both in a group and solo. It's provided an awesome community that I can be accountable to and bounce ideas off of. It's given me coaches that motivate and encourage me to do more and be better. Along with Tina's guidance, CF9 has been an invaluable part of me getting into shape."

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Joey's mantras for the last 16 months of life?

"Nothing to it but to do it," "Embrace the suck," and "Sweat for at least one hour every day."

Since September of 2019, Joey says he hasn't missed a single workout, never skipped a run (not in the heat, the cold, the rain, the dark, or the altitude), and never shorted a rep in a workout.

He's made it his mission to prove to that coach that he can do much more than show up.

"And no matter what the run distance is in a WOD, or how many times we have to do that run, I've NEVER walked a single step."

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