Head Coach & Owner, Josh Trahan
CF-L1, CF-L2, CF-L3 Certified Trainer, CF Kids Trainer, CF Olympic Weightlifting, CF Mobility, CF Endurance, CF Strongman, CF Adv. Weightlifting CF Powerlifting, CF Striking, CF Football, USAW Sports Performance Coach, 2013 Regionals Competitor, Really Good Motorcycle Rider, All Around Great Guy
My interest in fitness began in my high school years as a football player. My high school had an excellent strength and conditioning program. We performed many of the CrossFit exercises at the CrossFit level of intensity. After high school I drifted off into the body building model of fitness. Little cardio, ridiculous amounts of protein powder and supplements, and tried every order of segmented training, chest & tri’s, back and bi’s, legs, shoulders, neck, hamstrings, etc. I always trained people when I got into a routine. I was always big and strong and always found people who wanted the same thing. I read all the muscle magazines, learned everything I could about tearing and building muscle, even learned about steroids. However, the entire time I was doing this I could not shake the fact that I was completely bored, totally unmotivated, and ultimately uninspired as to the point of it all. Coming out of high school athletics, what I was essentially looking for was that competitive spark. I didn’t see the point of working out just to look good.
Not knowing where to fulfill my need for intense effort in a competitive, supportive group environment, I joined the United States Marine Corps. I loved it. The training, the blood and sweat shared amongst brothers, and the will to win all returned. But I was in the reserves so it was not a full time thing. Once training was over I returned to the daily grind and trying to return to the body building model of working out. Again miserable and questioning the point.
In 2004, I was ordered to combat. I was sent to Fallujah, Iraq to participate in Operation Phantom Fury. The need to return to a high level of fitness returned and I responded. I took four other marines under my wing and we proceeded to pack on pounds of lean, pretty, inefficient muscle. We looked great but cramped and were out of breath every time we had to move quickly under heavy loads. (75lbs of gear) Completely disgruntled with the reality that my version of strength and fitness was unusable, I stopped altogether.
In 2005 due to a large variety of things, I began to drink. A lot. I eventually packed on 65 pounds of fat. I was miserable. I battled with alcohol over the next few years. I attended college off and on, worked various jobs, and was just generally unhappy. I had nothing to offer people. During my last attempt to return to university, I met up with an old friend who was just returning from Iraq as a recon marine. He was actually the son of my former high school strength and conditioning coach whom I had an incredible relationship with. He looked great and told me about a new program sweeping the Marine Corps called CrossFit. This was in the spring of 2010. I was interested, but at 5’8 270lbs I was hardly able to join in yet. I was also still struggling with a fairly severe alcohol problem. But I began to study. I got on the website daily and studied YouTube videos of the workouts. I felt the sense of community and passion and intensity and competition and functional fitness that I didn’t even realize was so important to me. I wanted in.
I had a few hurdles to surmount before I could get involved, but I was already in love with this thing. I knew it was what I was missing. I made some homemade rings and attempted a ring dip. This was hilarious. I knew I had to lose a lot of weight. I started P90X which for me ended up just being more like P9X because that’s about how long I lasted. I had to quit drinking. I knew, though, that I had found something that I wanted to be a part of.
Following a disastrous series of events I moved to Georgia to get help with my drinking. While living in a residential treatment facility, I immediately embarked on the long road of recovery which for me was a spiritual as well as a physical climb from the bottom. With CrossFit in my sights as a total philosophy, not simply a workout program, and AA as a spiritual program, my journey began. Along the way I saw so many similarities within the two. With no car and working at McDonald’s walking 8 miles per day back and forth to work, I began a plan to rise from my current situation. I based my diet on the CrossFit nutrition articles going strictly paleo. Although not following the CrossFit wod’s I structured an individual workout regimen based on the CrossFit model of high intensity, constantly varied functional movement. I recruited four roommates who I began to train and teach what I had gleaned on a daily basis from the CrossFit mainsite. I subscribed to the journal and read every chance I got. I proceeded to lose over 45 pounds in less than 3 months. My self-esteem was returning, I was sober, and my overall vitality and energy level steadily increased. People noticed.
Having cut down from 267 pounds to 220 pounds I took my trainees and I decided to begin mainsite CrossFitting. With hardly any money we scrounged and obtained a weight bar, a door mount pull up bar, a bucket of sand, and some rings. We began to mimic the mainsite as best as we could. We built PVC paralettes and found a kettlebell. I thought we were in decent shape, but we were sore for a month. It took a month before we could even finish the workouts and another month before we were finishing them at a decent time. I also lost another 15 pounds. After 5 months I was in better shape than I have ever been and my dream began to become a CrossFit trainer and open my own box. I returned home from treatment in the middle of January and began working out at a local affiliate learning as much as I could about box management and training techniques. I have visited all of the local boxes to glean wisdom and knowledge (and phone numbers) from local affiliate owners. After 7 months sober and my radical philosophical, spiritual, and physical change, my father decided to support my dream financially. I registered and completed my level 1 certification. My life has been amazing since getting sober and CrossFit has been fundamental in my transformation. I am currently participating in the CrossFit Open and have hopes of competing in the regionals this year, but bringing CrossFit to the general public is my passion.
The above was written over 4 years ago. It was actually my Affiliation Application Essay, a standard part of becoming licensed to use the name “CrossFit.” Needless to say, much has happened since.
Since this was written CrossFit Breaux Bridge became a reality. Forged into being by the sheer will and determination of myself and those who were to join me. We began in a little room off the back of Gold’s Gym in Breaux Bridge. We did the best we could. There were long days. I would awaken at 4am and coach until 10am. Rest until 3pm and coach until 8pm. The majority of the interim was spent studying, reading, and learning what would help me to master my craft. Not doing CrossFit, but TEACHING CrossFit. Along the way I managed to make it to Regionals in 2013. I have no competitive aspirations. My goal was never to compete in CrossFit. Instead I had an obligation to my members to show them the things I was teaching them. To push harder every day, to feed myself correctly, to trust the process.
I have a history of getting obsessively involved in a pursuit, becoming disillusioned, and quitting. I never really told anybody, but I knew there would be a day that this happened again. About 2-3 years into to this I got tired. After making regionals I dialed my training up to a new level of volume. Often I trained more than once a day. I felt an obligation to pursue my potential. It wasn’t long before I became disillusioned. I was not motivated. I was in danger.
I realized that I was essentially doing CrossFit for the sake of being better at CrossFit. This was not the force that had raised me from depths I had descended. I fell in love with CrossFit as a means to a better, happier, healthier existence. I started CrossFit to rebuild myself, to open doors to a new future, to participate in all that life has to offer. Not to do more CrossFit. With that realization I made it through the hump that I had gotten stuck in with every other endeavor. I realized the value of not just getting fit, but of being fit. I still push myself daily, in every area of life, but I have learned the value of simply being. Daily I work to help others get to the same place.
Coach & Owner, Alex Trahan
CF-L1, CF-L2, CF Gymnastics, CF Football
Growing up, my dutiful parents signed me up for every recreational team Cecilia and Breaux Bridge had to offer. I tried tee-ball, soccer, basketball… None of them did anything for me. I was disinterested, uncoordinated and had no competitive edge. Yes, I was the kid sitting in outfield with my glove in my lap, picking flowers. My parents were quite bewildered considering my older brother’s early display of athletic ability. However, all this changed when I gave volleyball a chance in my 5th grade year at St. Bernard. Thus began my great love affair with competitive sports.
From that moment on, until my sophomore year of high school, I played sport after sport after sport. Volleyball season went into soccer season. Soccer season went into track season. Track season went into softball season. And the cycle continued until the fall (pun intended) of 2007 when I tore the ACL in my right knee playing in a Varsity soccer game. I experienced a wide array of emotions in the eleven months that it took for my knee to recover from surgery. Anger, regret, frustration, boredom. But ultimately, I came to know peace and accept the setback. I returned the next soccer season more determined than ever. That is, until I tore the ACL and meniscus in my left knee only a couple of months into the season.
In that moment, I cried more from knowing my high school athletic career was over than from the physical pain that ensued. I had ACL reconstruction surgery and went through physical therapy just as I had done before. Only this time, there was no peace. I could not settle with knowing that the competitive nature of sports and the compassion of a team would no longer be familiar to me. Although not clinically diagnosed, I am convinced that I drifted into a slight depression.
Sports had been my life. They had been my outlet.
They were there when academic pressures rose too high to handle. And then, so suddenly, they could do nothing for me. After transferring schools and going through a much-needed spiritual journey, I was complacent with my life. I forgot what it felt like to be part of something bigger than myself. I forgot what it was like to work my ass off in order to reach a goal, whether figuratively or literally. The forgetfulness helped me to cope.
I went on this way through my first year of college at LSU, and then (thank God), I stumbled upon CrossFit while living in Baton Rouge. Little did I know when joining a local affiliate that my life would be forever altered. First, the sense of comradeship and the inextricable drive that comes with physical (and consequently, mental) challenges in sports, the same drive that my brain did such a wonderful job of suppressing over the years, came back to me with overwhelming force. Although that was enough to get me hooked, CrossFit continued to awe and surprise me with all of its simple goodness. Its functionality and required toughness began to seep into every aspect of my life. I approached school, relationships, and nutrition with a much healthier perspective. Where there had been an aching void in my life, CrossFit filled it. It replaced my doubt. It conquered my fears.
But most importantly, it restored my confidence.
It led me to an innate acceptance of who I was and who I could be. And because of that, I am eternally grateful. Why wouldn’t I want to share this amazing and awe-inspiring program with others? Why wouldn’t I want to help guide people along this fulfilling journey? I know that what CrossFit has been for me is, in many ways, similar to what it has done for most of the outstanding people that suffer through the suck, day after day, in hopes of becoming the best person they can be. And so, I hope to facilitate that experience as best as I can.
Coach & Location Manager, Bambi Panagiotis
CF-L1, CF L-2, CF Olympic Weightlfting, CF Mobility, CF Self-Defense
I came to CrossFit Breaux Bridge in the late spring of 2012. I didn’t come to gain muscle or lose weight. I didn’t come because I had something wrong with my body that I wanted to fix. I didn’t come because I wanted to compete. I came mostly for two reasons: a hunger for intensity and a desire to grow stronger as I grew older.
I have a tendency to be a privately passionate person. Not a stranger to personal tragedy and some tough life failures, I struggled with self-doubt, incompleteness, feeling unacceptable. Like many women, life was like a Giant, constantly reminding me that I. Wasn’t. Enough. Not smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough, not thin enough, not charismatic enough; I just didn’t have enough – ‘enough.’ Yet, even so, that passionate part of me never stopped believing that there is a fierceness in each of us that can overcome anything, if we are willing to dig deep, do the dirty work, and tap into it.
I was a spectator at the first competition that CrossFit Breaux Bridge participated in. I had never seen so many people, everyday people of varying ages, push themselves past what seemed humanly possible. It was intense and grueling and yet joy-abounded. These people were having fun. As I watched, and as I cheered, I began to feel a gnawing in my gut, a bubbling thought, that in this . . . I could find my fierceness. That if I were willing to dig deep, and do the dirty work, that I could tap into it, and I could find my fierceness.
I also knew I needed to grow stronger and not just older. Just prior to that competition, on a lizard hunt with my then 4 year old grandson, I found myself in a situation where, for the first time that I can remember, I was almost not quite strong enough to prevent heavy sheets of plywood from falling on him. I had been a ‘yogi’ for many years and was not struggling with my weight, but ‘strength’ and ‘fitness’ were in a whole different category, as I came to find out.
The Monday following that first competition, I became a member of CFBB. It has reminded me of principles that I had always lived by but seemed to somehow have forgotten: strive for excellence; “I can’t” is not an acceptable excuse for not trying; we have what it takes; give 100% or give nothing; don’t be lazy; be self-competitive (do one better than you did before); and that the things you work hardest for are the things that end up having the greatest value to you.
I presently hold certifications as a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer and CrossFit Mobility Trainer, and am currently on a waiting list to become CrossFit Level 2 certified. I have been published in the CrossFit Journal, 2014 Games. I have competed and tied for second place in the Master’s Category at Battle on the Bayou as well as finishing the 2014 Crossfit Open in 12th place in the South Central Region, qualifying me for the 2014 Master’s Regionals. I am 53 years old. I have been a trainer for CrossFit Breaux Bridge since February of 2014.