Youth Pastor Prioritizes Fitness

Ross Cook, a youth pastor at Crossroads Baptist Church in Valdosta, Georgia, used to have trouble finding time around his work for his health and fitness. He and his wife, Wendy, decided to start their fitness journey together, which then presented the other issue of finding something that would fit with both of their schedules.

CrossFit Winnersville became the solution. Not only did it provide a workout routine they both enjoyed and that met their fitness goals, but it also offered class times that worked with their schedules.

“We are both incredibly busy like everyone else, so finding a time we could go together was hard, until we realized that there was a 5 a.m. class every day at CFW,” Ross Cook said. “No matter what your schedule is, there is a class that can work for you. We made the decision we would do that class together because it would force us to get up, work out, and then have the rest of the day to accomplish whatever we needed to. With three kids, the 5 a.m. works so well because our workout doesn’t interfere with anything else we have going on.”

The Cooks, who became CFW members in October of 2017, realized that CFW offered much more than convenient class times. It also offered support from those who shared a similar goal.
“We have found an amazing group of friends and a community of people that are on the same journey we are on,” Cook said. “We push each other, and from Day 1 we have received nothing but encouragement. It’s made getting fit fun.”

CrossFit includes a coach who guides participants to perform workouts correctly and safely. One feature Cook likes is that they offer personalized coaching and a helping hand with diet and nutrition.

“We have the best coaches on the planet, and they do a great job of teaching you how to do every movement,” he said. “And if you can’t do something, they teach you how to modify or scale it until you are able to do whatever it is.”

While coaches and fellow members of the CrossFit group help with motivation and strength, Cook said that a lot of it has to do with pushing yourself to show up and stay active.
“I have found that just showing up is half the battle, and if you have to miss, you just start back ASAP and get after it,” he said. “The community at CFW will always be there to cheer you on, challenge you, and push you to do your best and be your best.

“CrossFit has given Wendy and me something we can do together, and it has truly helped us in our relationship, friendship, and marriage. We push and hold one another accountable, which is key when you’re getting up at 4:15 a.m. three to four times a week.”

Cook, who has been a pastor for nearly 13 years, believes that staying healthy and fit will provide the strength to live a better and healthier lifestyle so he can continue to impact his community.

“I believe that I can be a better husband, dad, youth pastor, neighbor, etc., the more fit I am,” he said. “We are able to do more and serve more as we make our fitness a priority. I’m 40, and I want to live a long time and accomplish everything God has for my family and me.”

The Cooks took charge of their fitness journey to make it work for them despite challenges they encountered. Cook said he and his wife have accomplished a lot through CrossFit, something he wants others to experience.

“CrossFit is challenging, but no matter where you are in your fitness, you can do it,” he said. “If Wendy and I can do it, I promise you can do it. Just show up, do what the coaches tell you, and experience what so many are experiencing through CrossFit.”


Written by: Alex Dunn | Photography by: Jesse Taylor

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