Success Stories


Our community members inspire us daily. We’re excited to share their stories with you and can’t wait to be a part of your own fitness story!

  • Welcome to Our Home

    We are very proud of what we have built and want to share that with you.  Please take a look at what goes on inside these walls.

  • The Women of SDA

    Strong is definitely the new skinny and these inspirational women make us all want to be better.

  • Kendall Bolt

    I started lifting weights with my older brother when I was a freshman in high school. Like most high school kids, I was very inexperienced and did a number of things in the weight room that caused injuries.
    Fortunately, I was a highly recruited baseball player and ended up playing Division 1 collegiate baseball at the U.S. Naval Academy from 2006-2010. We had some great strength coaches at the Academy that introduced me to Olympic lifting and the benefits received.

    Upon graduating from the Academy I was commissioned in the Navy and stationed in San Diego. I felt like I was an experienced athlete in the weight room at the time, but I thought some of my lifts I could use some help. I originally joined CrossFit Pacific Beach in 2010/11 thinking it would be a temporary membership. I thought I could receive minimal coaching that would benefit my lifting technique. Little did I know I would be stopping into Bryan’s gym.

    After my first day in CFPB, I was hooked. I knew CFPB was the environment I needed in order to take myself to the next level as an athlete. The amount of knowledge that Bryan has when it comes to diet/nutrition, programming and technique is second to none.

    As we say in the military, Bryan is a skilled tactician. Every part of his training and programming has a plan and is thought out well in advance. I have been continuously amazed how much interest both Bryan and Anders take in their athletes and their ability to bring out the best in them.

    Over the years, I have traveled a lot causing me to stop in a lot of gyms. I have met a lot of strength and conditioning coaches and Bryan is by far one of the top coaches I have ever met. He has an uncanny ability to notice deficiencies and help athletes improve upon them. Bryan is always perusing new and historical techniques in strength and fitness in order to connect with athletes and make them better.

    I would attribute almost everything I know about diet, CrossFit and Olympic lifting towards Bryan and Anders. Over the years training with Bryan, I never got stagnate and stuck in my ways. He always pushed me to succeed and set new goals. I progressed from someone who had never really done a single CrossFit workout to an athlete that qualified for the 2014 SoCal CrossFit Regional.

    I know if I had this knowledge in college about lifting and nutrition I would have been a far better athlete! No matter what kind of athlete you aspire to be, Bryan and Anders have top notch professional knowledge that will make you a better athlete and all around person.

  • Chris Madsen

    In 2010, Chris Madsen strolled into our lives and we embarked on one of the most rewarding milestones we could ever imagine. Chris Madsen was in her late 50s and had just been diagnosed with osteoporosis. She was scared, was unsure of her future, and was pretty desperate for some answers. Chris had never been a part of a gym before so the whole idea of lifting weights was foreign to her.

    Two years later, she returned for her bone density scan to discover she had reversed the progression of the osteoporosis and her bone density to the osteopenia range. For a 61-year-old, gaining bone density, increasing muscle, learning about proper nutrition, and a complete lifestyle change is not easy. Her journey has been incredibly inspiring. She is a glaring example of hard work and commitment.
    Every morning at 7 AM she fills the room with her positive energy. I find her journey important and as she heads in for another bone density scan, I wanted her to tell her story, in her words.

    Introduce yourself. Who are you, how did you get here, and what can we find you doing when you are not working on getting in really good shape at San Diego Athletics?

    My name is Chris Madsen and I am one of the most senior members of San Diego Athletics at age 62. You might be wondering why someone so old would even walk through the doors of CrossFit PB (the name when I joined) so here goes. At age 58, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I was devastated. In my numb state, my brother walked me down the 4 blocks to the newly opened CrossFit on the corner of Garnet and Fanuel, saying that I needed to lift weights for my bones. I had walked by it before and thought that I just did not belong with strong people pushing barbells who were at least half my age. We talked with Anders and he enthusiastically took me on as either a charity case or a challenge or both! I started the next day and could barely walk home afterward. For the first month I could only lift the PVC pipe….yes, it took me a month to be able to lift the women’s bar!

    When not at San Diego Athletics, I work at home for WideOrbit, a San Francisco-based software company. We provide software for media outlets: TV, Radio, Cable, and Satellite. I also love to hang out with friends & family, travel, read, enjoy & create art, theater, take classes and learn new things, and walk my dog, Roxy.

    How long have you been at San Diego Athletics?
    In May of 2015, it will be 4 years.

    How would you describe yourself before joining SDA?
    Before I joined SDA, I had been a runner for 25 years. Over the years by knees and hips starting hurting so that by the time I started at SDA, I hadn’t been running for a few years. I really missed the aerobic workout. My muscles were also getting weaker with age and my balance was suffering.

    What are the biggest physical, mental, and lifestyle changes you have noticed since joining SDA?
    Where do I start? This place has changed my life! I no longer have osteoporosis and I no longer worry about the possibility of having it. That does mean that I will be at SDA for as long as I possibly can! It has given me so much confidence in my body, in my balance, in my ability to be active. I feel strong, I have upper body muscles that I have never had in my life. It has increased my endurance.

    What programs have you participated in?
    CrossFit, Open, Nutrition

    What accomplishments are you the proudest of at SDA?
    My biggest accomplishment is beating osteoporosis without taking any drugs. Also just showing up 4 times a week and participating as much as I can. I may not be anywhere near as strong as the younger members but I do what I can and I feel great.

    What keeps you coming back and what are your future goals?
    I keep coming back because I want to keep my bones strong and healthy. I keep coming back because I feel strong and confident. And my goal is to just keep participating as much as I can for as long as I can.
    My soapbox speech is that I think that older people should really be participating as much as they can in CrossFit or bodybuilding. It is OK not to be the strongest one there; it is more important to just do it. SDA is one of the best things to happen to me and it started as a health issue. I am so grateful to Anders and Brian for taking me on and always making me feel a part of the community!

  • Phil Arrington

    I am 175 yards from the green with my ball resting in the infamous Torrey Pines (South) rough on the 18th hole. A few deep breaths after I line up my 5 iron shot with a few practice swings, I go for it. Crack! The ball soars straight to the green and lands about 10 feet above the hole. Already happy about the shot, I become increasingly excited as the ball tracks back down the slope to about 2 feet from the hole. It was an easy tap-in par. Just a year ago not hitting triple bogey on every hole at Torrey seemed like a win. Now I reached my goal of staying under 100 on one of the hardest courses in golf. What was more amazing is that I reached this goal after having a stroke only a month earlier.

    Because my doctors instructed me to attempt to do everything I did before the incident, my first day back swinging a golf club was only a week after the stroke. Although I did feel a noticeable improvement each day in that first two weeks, I still managed to dig up half of the driving range in the first 20 swings.
    I then took a step back and thought about the movement of my arms and body from the backswing all the way through the contact. Reflecting on my swing from years past and running through the motions in my head helped me retrain the muscle memory, and in a matter of minutes, I was striking the ball solid again.

    Similar situations to that happened almost every day at the gym. Anders would challenge me with a new ladder drill and I would struggle through it for the first few times. Then, learning from my golfing experience, I took a minute to contemplate what my feet and body were doing in the drill and would perform the movement as if I’d been doing it for years.

    I have really enjoyed how Anders has been mixing in new motions along with the standard drills. The staple workout movements, such as a squat, came back quickly. I knew what my body had to do and I simply had to visualize the movement. Then we would switch things up and do an advanced move, such as split squats. The technique felt similar to a squat, but required me to concentrate or I would lose my balance.

    The progression has been great as every week my ability to move and perform has improved. If there is a bright side to having a stroke, then it would be the ability to relearn a movement to perfection. I have an opportunity to really challenge myself to become better and more spot on with my technique. Anders shared my enthusiasm and took this opportunity to spend the time to show me the pure basics of elementary drills like pushups. I believe it’s really worked out well, and my form overall has improved dramatically.

    So here I am 2 months later, basically back to normal. There are only a few small things that remind me I had a traumatic brain injury. The fine motor skills in my left hand misfire occasionally making typing or catching a ball slightly more difficult. But overall, I’m back to 99% of what I was before. My goal at the gym moving forward is to regain that 1% and push myself to go further.
    Without Anders suggesting I get back in the gym as soon as I was released from the hospital, I would have probably been sitting on the couch for the past couple of months. Instead, I’m more motivated than ever to be the most athletic and in shape I possibly can be. I’m incredibly grateful for everything Anders and the rest of the San Diego Athletics family has done for me during this unique time in my life.


TRY San Diego Athletics FREE!

Simply choose your experience level and get registered for your FREE Intro Session today!

CLICK HERE to get started if you are visiting from out of town.