WED: Become More Stories feat. Jenn Ciofolo
I first joined P360 almost four years ago when the Crown Point location opened. I was instantly hooked, but it took me a few months to realize how much this place would change my whole life. I started out a little slowly at P360, always just picking the “fat-loss” option of the day and avoiding any workouts that involved barbells. I would go to random classes, typically frequenting the 730pm class, because that was the class with the least people in it and therefore the least intimidation. After making some friends at my first P360 social event, I started to hear so much about this crazy weird following that solely went to the gym at 6am. I have always been somewhat of a morning person so I figured I would give the 6am thing a try. Turns out, working out while it’s still dark out and while most people are still sleeping produces some strange form of camaraderie that I had not experienced before. Not to mention, the sunrise views were unreal some days.
Deciding to attend 6am classes changed my experience at the gym completely. There were so many girls just crushing barbell movements before they even started their regular day. This is when I decided that I wanted to be strong. I started picking the “strength” option on the board instead of the “fat-loss”. I started going to the specialty classes. I started going to open gym and asking for help. I started asking how to get stronger. I started talking to the coaches about my goals. I got the same advice from every coach and every experienced member about how to get stronger… show up, pay attention, work hard, prioritize rest, work on mobility, don’t eat like an asshole, and don’t forget to have fun. So, that’s what I did. I picked one or two goals at a time to focus on.
At first, it was squats. I wanted to squat more than 135# so badly, so I showed up every time squats were on the schedule. If they weren’t, I did them at open gym. 5×5, trying to increase by 5lbs every couple of weeks. Then deadlifts. Then cleans. I had really hit my stride at the gym and gotten into a good routine of working out the right amount, eating healthy and making tons of new friends. Life was good. Until it wasn’t.
Somewhere in the middle of spending my weekends drinking excessively in PB, frustrations at work, frustrations in my personal life, and lots of other first world problems, I had started heading for rock bottom. Unknowingly, this was about the time that Coach Brenna was working hard to convince myself and Jules to do a powerlifting meeting. I think my initial response was “hahaha I’ll do it if Jules does it” thinking that wouldn’t happen. I was wrong. Next thing I knew I was signed up and we were all training together to get stronger. I was trying to train while still drinking excessively on the weekends and then would end up frustrated when I couldn’t squat what I wanted to squat.
The meet was fun, training was a great experience and brought me even closer to two of my now best friends, but something was still not right. I got to a point where getting out of bed was hard some days, until I realized that getting out of bed to go to a 6am class in the morning wasn’t hard. It was easy. Easy knowing that I would show up to 20 friendly faces, cheering me on in whatever I was doing and offering a happy start to my day. It sounds silly to say that these 6am classes really made my day, but they truly always did. I signed up for two more powerlifting meets over the next few months, tried to stop drinking so much, figured some other things out and was feeling back on track to feel good at the gym and elsewhere.
Fast forward to April of last year when I decided to celebrate my 30th birthday a little too hard and ended up with a few broken bones and a sweet purple cast on my arm for 8 weeks. It was a nice little reality check on how quickly things in your life can change. I spent the first 3 weeks of this time not wanting to come to the gym for fear of having to modify too many movements and be that weird girl working out with a broken hand. I started to realize that if I didn’t get back to the gym I risked falling back into a dark place that I didn’t want to be, so with some encouragement from Jules and Brenna, I decided to come back and be that girl. The support I received from all the coaches was amazing, but I was even more impressed with all the support I got from the members. Everyone was always encouraging, helping me tie my shoes, tie my hair back, helping me put away weights and equipment.
As soon as I got the cast off, almost a year ago today, I was ready to jump back into the normal workouts. I was very quickly humbled by everything I tried to do. I had to slowly build back up strength and mobility on everything. The first couple of months were still filled with lots of modifications and lots of dialing back in my technique. I so badly wanted to jump back into heavy squats or deadlifts, but I was constantly reminded of how much I had to dial back the weight. I wasn’t starting from scratch, but I felt like I was pretty close to it.
It has been a challenging year, and it took about 6 months after having the cast removed I was finally back to my old numbers on some movements. I am still working on getting there on other movements. During all of this rebuilding time I just kept going back to the things I learned in my first year; show up, pay attention, work hard, prioritize rest, work on mobility, don’t eat like an asshole, and don’t forget to have fun.
The two main things I wanted to share with everyone here are:
1) Strength does not come easy. It does not come quick. But it is possible if you keep working hard, follow the programming and follow the coaches’ advice.
2) 6amers… you changed my life. There have been lots of different faces at 6am over my four years at P360, but the culture in those classes has always remained the same and is the same culture that is apparent in any P360 class; supportive, encouraging and fun.
Want to share your drive and your why? Email us.
First, for Strength.
5 Back Squats @75% (0-6 mos of Squatting)
3 Back Squats ~80-85% (6mos + ONLY)
15”/s 1-Arm Farmer Hold
Every 5’ For 20’ (x4)
Then, for Conditioning
10 Sword Snatches
9 Hollow Rocks
8 KB Push Press
6 Lunge Jumps