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CrossFit Confessions: “CrossFit saved my career”

Fireman cuts incredible weight.

Hedge fund guys do CrossFit. So do cops. And construction workers, engineers, and professors. (Even rock stars, too!) Here are their stories.

Wayne Burdette, 41, is a Dacula, Ga.-based firefighter

Five Functional Exercises You Need to Master >>>

I was working as a paramedic at a very competitive fire department. I’d gotten the firefighter certificate, but you also have to complete fire academy to become an official firefighter. I’d tried and failed fire academy three different times due to injury and being overweight. I had tried everything—liquid diet, different training regimens—and nothing worked.

I started CrossFit about two years ago when a couple of guys at my station started doing it. We did exercises wearing full firefighter gear, which weighs about 50 pounds, and totally hit it hard during every shift. I lost more than 80 pounds, going from  320 to 235.

Thanks to CrossFit, I was able to complete fire academy. We had to climb a five-story tower, which I was able to do. Also, when I was at the academy before, I was exhausted after 10 pushups. This time, I could do 60 or 70 pushups. Everything was easier: pulling the hose off the truck, breathing bottled air, all the physical demands of firefighting.

Had I not done CrossFit I’d have stayed a paramedic. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but now I’m eligible to be promoted to lieutenant and beyond.  –As told to David Wescott

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