Sean Gooden


Sean Gooden

I’ll start the story of my journey back in the senior year of high school football days. My senior year we won the regional championship, only to lose the following weekend in the state semifinals.  After the season was over I did what most undisciplined high football players do, I got lazy.  Looking back now I think most of that laziness was a result of the negativity I got from some people who used to tell me I wasn’t smart enough to go to college (I proved them wrong).  Even though it was my intention to play college football, it didn’t register to me that I needed to be prepared for the chance that it might actually happen. It just so happened that I ended up getting offered a full scholarship to play football at Liberty University.  Now that my dream of playing college football was becoming a reality, it still didn’t light a fire under my backside to get ready for the next level of football.  The remainder of my senior year and the summer before going down to summer practice I put on 35lbs, thanks to my regular visits to McDonald’s for a 20 piece chicken nugget meal with french fries. I went from my playing weight of 260lbs to 295lbs, the heaviest I’ve weighed.  Soon after arriving on campus for two-a-days, I was faced with one of the moments that started the long journey from 295lbs to the 215lbs I am today.  

I can remember it like it was yesterday, it was the first or second practice of camp. Practice was over and it was time for conditioning. Thinking that I was the big bad freshman, top defensive recruit in my class, I was going to show the coaches how fast I was for a big dude. Well, gassers were on the menu for that day’s conditioning (you run sideline to sideline twice in under minute).  Stupid me thinking we were only going to run one of these things, I went full speed on the first one, and of course I finished first.  BUT, as soon as I got to the sideline, one of my teammates who was a Junior said to me, “you know we are going to run more than one.”  It was at that moment I knew I messed up, because we ended up running three.  Unfortunately for me I came in last on the third one over the 53 second time cap.  I ended up making the entire team run three extra grassers and got called out by the head coach for being out of shape.  Needless to say, that was one of the most humbling and embarrassing moments of my life.  I made up my mind that day that I would never let that happen again, and I’m happy to say it never did.  That was the day I began to change my mind about my fitness and health.  Three weeks later at the end of summer practice I lost the 35lbs I put on during the summer.  

For the remainder of my college years I stayed around 240 lbs.  By the time I graduated, I was benching 400lbs and power cleaning 325 lbs.  After school, I got a job and like most people, going to the gym got put on the back burner. I stopped working out for a long time, and pretty much lost all my gains.  I went to Golds Gym, and to a few community centers here and there but nothing consistent for a number of years.  Fortunately during that time I started to eat a little healthier, fast food/soda got the boot and salads and greens moved in.  The thought of going back to what I used to be at 295lbs kept me on a somewhat focused path to be healthier and to be more conscious of what I was putting in my body.  This kept my weight pretty consistent around 240lbs even though I wasn’t working out.  

So, around 2013 I got introduced to CrossFit by a gym that moved into a space right next door to my church.  On one Saturday, while I was at the church handing out our monthly food boxes to families, a few of the coaches came over and talked to us about their new CrossFit gym and ended up convincing me to give it a try. Ever since then I’ve been hooked and have experienced steady improvements in my overall fitness. When you’re used to being one of the biggest dudes wherever you go, wearing 3XL shirts with a 44 inch waist at my biggest, and a belly that used to hang over your belt buckle, it was exciting to say the least that I finally had the confidence to do that.  

Fast forward a few years and I came across Ballston CrossFit and I’m very happy that I ended up here! The friendships I’ve developed with my fellow members and the coaches has become an important and meaningful part of my life.  I can truly say that I couldn’t have achieved this level of fitness without my BCF friends and coaches. 

I’ll never forget the day I deadlifted 600lbs at BCF when Head Coach Brock said “you got some mo in ya!” after I had already hit a PR deadlift of 585lbs.  Without that little push I probably wouldn’t have tried it, partly because at that moment I didn’t believe I could do it.  Sometimes it takes the words of a friend to get you to realize you are capable of doing more than you think you can. That 600lbs was the most amount of weight I’ve ever lifted In my life.  I remember doing the math with Owner Tucker sometime last year and we figured out that pound for pound I’m stronger than I was when I was in my 20’s as a D1 football player. It’s many thanks to all my Ballston CrossFit friends and coaches that pushed and encouraged me to get these PRs in the past few years.  

Over the span of the last 20 years, I went from 295lbs to 215lbs, from a 44 inch waist to a 33 inch waist, from 3XL shirts to wearing a size LG and feeling great about myself. I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished at BCF as a 39 year old: 600# deadlift, 475# back squat, 165# strict press (soon to be at least 200 by the end of the year) and 255# power clean. You can also find me on the big leaderboard with a gym record 1220 pounds for the CrossFit Total!!  I think in college, 1100lbs was the highest I ever achieved.  It’s many thanks to all my Ballston CrossFit friends and coaches that pushed and encouraged me to get these PRs in the past two years.  I hope that in the next two years and beyond I’ll be able to lift even more.  

I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been and feel better than I ever have.  Thank you Tucker, Brock and all the coaches, and all the other BCF fam, and especially the T-Boyz at the 4:30pm WOD for making my experience at BCF something that will stick with me for years to come.   Well I hope y’all enjoyed reading this, there’s certainly much more to the story but that’s better told in person.  

Future gym goals:

Deadlift 700lbs 

Bench 350lbs

Squat 500lbs +

Strict press 225lbs

Handstand walks 

Overhead Squat without pain

Mobility, Mobility, Mobility 

Last but not least, beat Ryan Thompson in as many WODs as possible!