Alumni Focus: Ryan Brack
At age 26 and 350 pounds, Ryan Brack (pictured left) knew something had to give. It would be a particular type of training program that would change not only his life, but also his career. CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program consisting of varied, high intensity and functional movement provided a path to a level of fitness Brack have never witnessed before. Now owner of Cross Fit Boro, his own CrossFit facility, Brack’s goal is to help the community realize the “true fruits of life: health, wellness, and fitness.”
Originally from Brunswick, Ga., Brack fell in love with Georgia Southern after he toured the campus and saw the Information Technology (IT) building. Because computer technology was a skill that always came easy to him, Brack decided to major in IT. In 2006, Brack was the second graduate to have completed the Bachelor’s of Science degree in IT at Georgia Southern.
After graduation, Brack had several job interviews with large corporations but decided not to take any of the opportunities presented to him. Instead, in 2006 he returned to Brunswick and started his own IT business, Brack IT Solutions. At its peak, Brack had around 120 customers. “I would really do anything they would ask for,” Brack said. “I helped build webpages, set up Facebook accounts, all types of various things. In Brunswick, I couldn’t really say no to anything. If they would pay, I would come and do it.”
Unfortunately, one day while on the job Brack injured his back while helping a gentlemen unload a copy machine from his truck. “When I was doing this IT job, it was a very sedentary lifestyle. I would sit at the desk and work on the computer for hours and hours,” Brack said. “When I was injured, I had to do physical therapy and with that I gained 40 pounds in three months.”
Keeping with his sedentary lifestyle, Brack continued to gain weight until he reached 350 lbs. “At 350 lbs., I had just turned 26 and something had to change. I wasn’t happy with my life or my career,” Brack said. He saw on Facebook that a friend of his had completed a type of workout challenge where he lost 20 lbs. in 6 weeks. “The workout that he did was CrossFit and he did the paleo diet, which is the same thing I have all my athletes do now,” Brack said. “I thought if he could do it, then I could do it.”
So, Brack tried it out. He did the same challenge and two months later he had lost 60 lbs. Brack kept at it until he had lost a total of 110 lbs. “I really enjoyed it and it made me happy,” he said. “I wanted to help out other people with losing weight and their fitness. So I went and got certified and started training at one of the local CrossFit gyms in Brunswick.”
After realizing how much of a passion he had for CrossFit, Brack decided he really wanted to open his own gym. The idea for his current business, CrossFit Boro, came about during conversations with friends while on his third visit back to Georgia Southern for homecoming. “Every time I would come back my friends would notice all the weight I had lost,” Brack said. “I told them I was doing CrossFit, and they said that if there was one in Statesboro, they would totally do it.”
With that encouragement, Brack decided to “put the wheels in motion.” He put a bid on a building in Statesboro, closed down his IT business, and picked up and moved to Statesboro in February of 2012. Not more than a month later on March 15, Cross Fit Boro, opened and went from zero members at day one to 96 at the end of the month.
A month later when Brack attended one of the national CrossFit competitions, he spoke with the creator of CrossFit and told him about Cross Fit Boro’s growth. “At that point, we had 130 to 140 members, and the creator told me that we were one of the fastest growing CrossFits that he had ever hear of,” Brack said.
Because Cross Fit Boro’s growth was so rapid, Brack had to move locations. Once located on Northside Drive, Cross Fit Boro is now located on Sarahlyn Lane across from Mill Creek park housed in an old lumber warehouse. “We just outgrew the old building and I moved it over here. We started in 2400 square feet and now we’re in 7200, but we’re only using half of the warehouse,” Brack said. “Right now we are at 179 members and if our numbers get bigger I’m just going to blow out the wall and use the other half.”
According to Brack, not all of Cross Fit Boro’s members are college students. There are around 40 percent Statesboro locals and 60 percent Georgia Southern students, while 53 percent of them are female and 47 percent male. Surprisingly, Brack explains he keeps about 60 to 70 percent of people that originally walk in the door.
The main reason for this consistency is the results and the success stories that come as a result of CrossFit. Members are encouraged to stay for at least six weeks, because that is when they will really start to see serious results. “And really, anyone can do it, whether you’re 350 pounds like I was when I started or a girl that has never lifted a weight before,” Brack said. “We scale everything, because the movements that are good for me are good for you.”
The youngest member of Cross Fit Boro is 11 years old, while the oldest is 61. Nevertheless, all members work out together during various classes throughout the day. Along with Brack, there are currently six other certified CrossFit trainers that help teach classes throughout the week. “We aren’t like a normal gym where you kind of come and you’re just a number. I know everyone’s name that walks through that door,” Brack said. “I want people to know why they are paying what they are- because the facility is nice, the trainers are knowledgeable and we actually care about our members.”
Currently, Brack is preparing to add another CrossFit certification to his resume. He plans to maintain Cross Fit Boro and continue to train and educate the community about health and fitness. “I’ve always been good at starting things, like my IT business, but after a while I’d get rid of them because I had lost my passion,” Brack said. “But this, this is a lot closer to my heart because it helped me so much and now I help people every day. I know I’m going to stick with this.”
Posted in Alumni
Tags: Brunswick, Cross Fit, Cross Fit Boro, GA, Ryan Brack