Wow, wow, wow!!! Richy Rich congratulations for being this month’s Firewall Member of the Month!  Your Q&A pretty much sums up how amazing you are and the incredible journey you’ve been on over the past couple years.  Congrats!


How long have you been at Firewall?

I started CrossFit with you for the first time the Day after Thanksgiving 2017. I remember it was one of those marathon workouts. I distinctly remember doing around 100 wall balls at least along with other moves I didn’t know how to do!

Why did you decide to join Firewall?

My wife had done CrossFit at another box before joining with you guys. I was convinced it was “Cultish” and I was totally against it. I remember going to a few “CrossFit parties” with her. I have always at least workout, but I used to just go to Gold’s and do my routine workout chest/shoulders, biceps/triceps for lifting days and then do cardio on the elliptical or the treadmill! Sometimes I would mix in the row machine. Outside the Gym I always used to walk at wherever I worked during lunch. It was really to “Break Even”. As for consistency on exercising at the GYM I would take months off because one it wasn’t that all expensive so the weight and diet started to take a toll. I still would walk though! I would lose 10 pounds here and there then it would gain it all back in a couple weeks. My lunches consisted of a bad rotation of eating subs, pizza, and Chinese food. Salad was for the Rabbits! Then for dinner it wasn’t too bad
unless we went out to eat or got takeout. I remember saying to myself around New Year’s Eve at age 39, I said to myself I want to lose 40 by 40! Welllll like most resolutions that was not achieved! I probably gained a few pounds or “broke even”. I started swimming at the Kingsbury club and continued to work out with weights and did some cardio. I would  do laps in the pool and swim about 30 mins or so. I did enjoy the pool.
So let’s fast forward 6 months. At the end of April, on a football Sunday, during Isabella’s soccer game, I was having these weird chest pains. We thought it was spicy food I may have had that day. That was around 3:00pm. So then later that night around 8:00pm my wife had just put Isabella to bed and when she came out I was putting on my Jeans. Cat asked," What are you doing”? I said well that pain hasn’t gone away I think I should go see what it could be. I really didn’t want to go to bed and not wake up. I figured chest x-ray and probably heart burn. She brought me to the ER in Framingham. Her sister came over to stay while Isabella was sleeping. We checked into the ER. We let them know I was having chest pains. We were probably waiting about 20 mins. When I finally got in they took my blood. I was in the hallway because it was a Sunday night when everything happens to everyone so the Framingham ER was full. I felt like I was in the Show “ER” the one from the 90s with George Clooney etc. The results came back and the nurse says “we are treating you for a HEART ATTACK!” I was like whaaat? Of course I was very nervous at this point but was glad at least I went in! So they kept giving me Niacin I think it’s called. I think they gave me a velum to calm me down. Then I finally got a room. Later that night I was moved up to the Cardiac room with all the youngsters I mean Senior Citizens.
They kept me a few days still puzzled! My Cardiologist wasn’t that much older than I and kept asking himself how does a 40 yr. old have a Heart Attack? I had no blockage and didn’t need anything like a stent. I didn’t smoke or didn’t have any history that may point to such a thing.

The next few days they did more test and an echocardiogram and later found out I had a PFO (Patent foramen Ovale) also known as the hole in a heart. Everyone is born with a hole in their heart but most 3 out of 4 close! I was the 4 th ! They are convinced that is what caused the heart attack and the clot luckily passed through the hole causing the chest pains. Usually it’s a stroke or a massive heart attack. Tedy Bruschi had the same thing but his was a stroke! I guess you can say I was “lucky”. It was an emotional few days and all I could think of is my family and my daughter. I went home and took it easy for a couple weeks. I had to wear a heart monitor for a few weeks and let them know when I feel something weird with heart. I then did Cardiac Rehab with all the Senior citizens for the most part. I wore my heart monitor here as well and then when I worked out they can see how my heart was handling exercises. I did a couple stress tests too. I did this for a few weeks. I got all the fun looks and probably almost gave them another heart attack when they would see me walk in. They probably thought I was a coach. I’d listen to their stories and told them mine. It reminded of me talking to my grandfathers who passed away years ago. After cardiac rehab was over I said I have to do something more than what I was doing. I asked my cardiologist if it would be ok if I try CrossFit. He was all for it and that is when I went in for that first class with my wife Cat at firewall the day after Thanksgiving!

Tell us about your weight loss journey! When did you start working with Dave, what results have
you seen, etc.?
I had inquired about a Body fat pinch test back in February of this past year. We used the old way and Dave said we can check out in a few months and see where we are at. Then this past April I went on a 10 day Cruise with family and a few friends. I had scheduled my physical that following week stupidly. They took weight on their scale where I was wearing
clothes and it said 250! I proceeded with the physical and then a blood test at the lab. I got a call that day from the receptionist saying my sugar was high! They said it was 182 and I had fasted. Normal is 80-99 or so. I figured well maybe it was all the cruise and blended drinks etc. They then requested an A1C measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher you’re A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications. Well that came back 8.2% (Type 2 Diabetes). 6 Months before that I had surgery in October to cover the hole in my heart so I could get of Eliquis which is a blood thinner and eventually go to a daily aspirin. So with Diabetes some take a different pill to control your sugar. I gained another pill back called Metformin. So I am thinking to myself the Heart attack wasn’t enough! I was in my car on a Friday after work and said WTF and I got kind of emotional. A few seconds later I told myself I am not going to let this or anything beat me and mess up my life physically or mentally. So, then instead of just
sulking! Asking myself why me? I DID something about it and started RIGHT AWAY! That was a Wednesday on May 7 th ! I text you guys and said “something of the nature of oh it’s on now! I just got diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes! No f ’n around now!” So I went to eating salads and cut anything I thought that made me fat at time. I cut most carbs like pasta, pizza, bread and then the big thing CANDY which I ate like it was going out of style. I cut out a lot! I also started walking further. I did 2 miles a day and still do. It was a few weeks before I had appointments with the diabetes nurse and  nutritionist and Coach Duuuuuuubs! The first 2 weeks on my own I shredded about 17 lbs. I knew i couldn’t continue  that pace and needed to know what I can eat and what I should cut down and some other healthy alternatives. That’s where Dave and the nutritionist came in. The nutritionist gave me some guidelines to go by. Dave and I went over that and he advised me on different alternate breads, meals, exercises and portions. Then he set up monthly goals and challenges as well! One was cut your alcohol intake in half! That was during Labor Day weekend. That was tough especially when I said I only had 12 drinks a week! Which like we do to the doctor was a lie lol! On June 6 th 2019 I started the Nutrition Program Firewall offers. I had my first INBODY scan. My numbers were off the charts literarily and that was with already losing 17 pounds before it! I was 230.6 that day. My numbers were: PBF 31.6, BMI 33.1, visceral fat level 13. It was definitely and eye opener. Then I just continued to meet with Dave and we came up with different
challenges so I wouldn’t plateau. I gave even up even more things like cheese, but I now have healthier options.
On September 10th I had another physical. I had set a goal to lose weight from the last physical. The doctor was hoping for at least 10 pounds. Well I smoked that! This time I was 210 lbs. on their scale compared to the 250 last May! Then the A1C of 6.6% compared to the 8.2% in May. They want it below 6%. The recent numbers from my INBody scan last week were 205.8 lbs., PBF 22.6, bmi 29.5, visceral fat level 8! I still got a ways to go with 18.3 lbs. suggested weight to
lose from 45 lbs. from when I started the INBODY program (remember I had already lost 17 pounds before). I showed my Doctor, Cardiologist, Nutritionist, and Diabetes Nurse and they are all impressed with the results. My Doctor said to me the other day that he sees me with my current progress beating this thing. He asked how I did it and couldn’t  believe his eyes! My weight is currently in the 202-204 range. That comes to about 43 pound weight loss since May! So I may have not done 40 by 40 but I certainly will crush the 43 by 43 and the #roadto185ish!

What’s your favorite part about Firewall (the gym itself)?
Learning from the coaches and seeing the results of hard work of the Athletes! It’s not really a cult. That it’s a group of people that have similar goals looking to have a good time doing it as well!

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about looking into CrossFit?
Give it a shot! Talk to others and hear their stories! Maybe try the OTC fit first. But to get results you have to go and listen to the coaches! Go at your pace and challenge yourself once in a while.

What’s your favorite part about CrossFit (the workout program)?
The variety of WODs, muscles used cardio and muscle combos, and the different types of physical and mental challenges. Also that it for the most part is done in an HOUR!!!

What were your thoughts of CrossFit before you joined our gym?
That it was a cult full of workout freaks throwing tires everywhere!

How has Firewall affected your life outside the gym? (Mentally, physically, emotionally, anything
As mentioned above it’s overall made me a healthier, happier, and fit person just recently! I totally changed my lifestyle as far as my eating habits are and people are noticing! It feels really, really good! I don’t get that tired feeling. When I hit my 185ish goal I will go from a 38 waist to probably a 34 waist! There will be no going back to where I was because that’s not an option! I have more confidence and closer to a 6 pack instead of a keg! I have some new friends and  connected back with some past ones! I cook more often too which I also enjoy too! I walk 2 miles plus almost daily!

What goal do you hope to accomplish by the summer?
To build off what I did the previous year and give be able to do some more of the moves I am less confident doing, maintain a weight and build more muscle so I can have additional “cheat days” and not just BREAK EVEN! To get to that 34 waist that I probably had in Middle School last and don’t look back! I already do the Burpees much better; I can get a few double unders, and can lock my foot on the rope climb. I also have been finishing workouts more often! So maybe get some PRs on the workouts I have struggled with before this journey.

Who’s the most famous person you ever met? What was she/he like?
Working in the TV and sports area I had the benefit of meeting many famous Sports Athletes. Sports are my passion. I would say Bronson Arroyo… more because he handed me the World Series Trophy back in 2004 when I was working at FSN now CSN. Someone outside of sports I got a picture with Napoleon Dynamite lol. He was pretty cool.

Would you rather your only mode of transportation be a donkey or a giraffe and why?
I would say Giraffe! Because really who likes an a$$ lol!
All kidding aside the Giraffe because there would be a lot more to see (height) and they seem to be always reaching for the Sky more often and that’s the type of attitude I would like to spend most of my time with!

Special Thanks:
I want to thank you for committee for choosing me as the “Member of the Month” and will wear it proud! Especially for not cracking the Commitment list in a few months lol! Thanks to all the coaches and their time and especially the Community for the support and kind words! I am humbled! Thanks Dave and Bucky for opening this place! Who knows I probably would be still breaking even somewhere if it wasn’t for you guys! A Big shout out to Duuuuubbbbbs! Thanks
for answering my 1000s of text blasts and helping me with my journey! Then Thanks of course to my wife Cat for finally convincing me to do CrossFit!
Thanks everyone for reading,
Rich Allen