Member Profile- The Mann Family

 In Success Stories

A Family’s Journey into Crossfit

by Chris & Dana Mann


Crossfit  for my family began roughly 18 months ago when my teenage son, Trent, & I became members. Dana followed soon after. I had never heard of Crossfit, but my cousin couldn’t talk about anything else other than Crossfit. He talked me into trying it, but really sold it to Trent. He wasn’t big into team sports, but was intrigued with weight lifting and overall fitness. And so the journey began.

I have always worked out in traditional gyms throughout my life.  I played High School football, as well as, Division I college football.  I knew my way around a gym, but began to skip critical elements essential to football, fitness, and overall well being as I began to get older. 

  • Squats, who needs those when you’re not shedding 325lb lineman
  • Power Cleans, forget that craziness
  • Pull-ups, those are for my U.S. Naval Academy grad brother
  • Dead-lifts, exactly like it says “DEAD”
  • 2-5 mile runs, not with these knees
  • So on & so forth

It finally got to the point that I usually just did some machine weights and some cardio, but I was still in the gym for 2 hours (including friendly conversations between sets, about 45 minutes of the 2 hours).  My weight began to creep up as my age crept into my late 30’s. I had topped out (post football days) at a weight of 250lbs.   I was miserably heavy, not wanting to even go to the gym, and not sure what I was going to do about it.   My kids were now 13 and 10, more athletic than ever, and I was less mobile than I had been my whole life.  Time to try something new!

Trent and I had our first day in the middle of winter.  I remember it vividly as I think I may have seen my relatives in heaven waving to me more than once as I made my way through the WOD.  Trent struggled as well, but not nearly the way his 250lb dad did.  I “ABSOLUTELY HATED” my first experience at Crossfit, but my cousin insisted I try it a month and I would fall in love.  I knew he was right, because anything that sucked as much has those WODs did had to be helping me get back into my former shape.

 The first 4 months of Crossfit was unbelievably hard for me, yet I knew I was accomplishing things I hadn’t done since my late teens early twenties.   I could run 5 miles, do pull-ups, squat on a regular basis, do power cleans again, deadlift, and many more movements I had not even known existed.  Right around the fifth month into Crossfit , Dana , my wife, was able to become a member, which then made it a clan, “The Mann Clan”. Our family affair began. At this point, Trent and I were pretty good at most things while Dana was learning the movements during her “on ramp” classes.

Trent has competed in 3 different contests since becoming a part of Four Barrel Crossfit,. He consistently dominates in the running and body weight movements. It is amazing what he is doing at the young age of 14.  I personally had set a goal that if I’m going to continue to do these workouts; I’m going to transform my eating habits too.  Now, after doing the WODs 4 x’s week, and changing my eating to a more paleo style diet I’m down to 216lbs from 250lbs.  I have no knee pain (despite 7 reconstructive surgeries). I can do more movements than I ever could. 

I (Dana) was unable to start Crossfit with Trent & Chris due to a lower back injury. I had 3 bulged discs; L4, L5, & S1. I was at a point where I couldn’t exercise due to pain and would have never thought I would be able to participate in Crossfit classes. After meeting with Case, exercises were modified for me and the team of coaches really worked with me to become fitter while staying safe. Over a year later, I am able to hang with the best of them. I am leaner and stronger. A lot of the workouts concentrate on “the core” and that has helped me tremendously. The workouts provided by Four Barrel are hard & rigorous, but what is great is that they can be modified to fit anyone’s needs. Plus the coaches really care for each person’s overall well being.

I (Dana) am fitter now than I have ever been in my life, even when compared to high school. I am doing things in my workouts that I never thought I would be able to do, especially over a year ago. Workouts are hard, but that is the reason I am a member. They make me do things that I would not routinely do on my own, plus there is no thinking about it for me. The workout is already planned and all I must do is execute it to the best of my ability.

Four Barrel has offered our family many things. We have learned not only a lot about physical fitness, but also about nutrition. We saw results with the workouts, but our results have been amazing with the incorporation of a lean diet. The coaches are amazing and with the small class sizes they are really able to give each “athlete” the personal attention they need.

On a more personal note, Four Barrel Crossfit has been an amazing dynamic for our family. Chris mentioned above, we workout with our 15yr old son, Trent. The workouts at Four Barrel bring us closer together as a family.  He is totally addicted to Crossfit and he really looks up to all the coaches. I just want to say “Thank You” to all the coaches and other athletes for all the encouragement you give him. It really means a lot. We have gained so many new friends at Four Barrel. Four Barrel is our gym family!

As I mentioned earlier, the best part of the entire Crossfit experience has been doing it as a family.  Many of us have kids in High School and may find it hard to relate to them, but what a difference this experience at Four Barrel has made. We work hard together, we sweat together, we accomplish things together, and we have a closeness that can’t be matched by football, baseball, or basketball.  We are 38-years old and we are right there in the trenches with our 15-year-old son hurting and sweating together.  We always have something to talk about when it comes to Crossfit. When we (The Mann Family) are accomplishing our WOD’s together, we are no longer mom, dad, and son, but athletes competing together to get better!

We love Crossfit! The only thing we would like to see is the start of the youth program. We have a 12 year old that is eager to start. We develop workouts for him at home, but I think he is ready for a crossfit coach instead of his parents drilling him! If you can’t tell, we love “FOUR BARREL CROSSFIT”, and there is not a better box around!

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