Progression Intern: Tony Slonaker

Meet Tony Slonaker, new Intern at Progression!

Get to know Tony Slonaker…

Growing up, I was not an athlete in the traditional sense, but was fortunate enough to enjoy athletic activities. I grew up skateboarding, riding BMX, mountain biking, etc. After high school, I went straight into the US Navy to work with the Marine Corp infantry as a Hospital Corpsman. It was during deployments that I began lifting weights with a goal of being “strong.” I felt I was already fit by being involved in the Marine Corp physical training (PT) program. In addition to the regular PT, I also became interested in the Marine Corp Martial Arts Program, as well as boxing. I was active enough, and uninformed enough, that I didn’t pay any particular attention to nutrition, eating on base for most meals.

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At the end of my four-year enlistment, I decided to get out of the military and begin civilian life as a young married man largely lacking any direction, especially in fitness. My weight began to creep up slowly, sneaking under my radar. My health began to deteriorate as my life consisted largely of fast food, alcohol, and smoking cigarettes. My waning health eventually began to impact my emotional well-being, as well as my marriage which ended after only a few years.

After some moving around, I found myself in Minnesota married to a wonderful woman. I eventually found a renewed interest in martial arts, and began studying karate, kickboxing, and ju-jitsu. I worked out in my home gym to stay in shape as I competed in karate tournaments. I also began teaching martial arts to all ages, ability, and belt levels. Repeated injuries ended my competitive career, and the emotional issues I had when younger began to resurface so I withdrew from virtually all activities including teaching and once again saw my health get away from me, my weight topping out at roughly 260 pounds. The activities I enjoyed the most such as bike riding, hiking, hunting, even playing with my dogs, became difficult and occasionally even painful.

Then I found CrossFit Progression (CFP). Through the patience and understanding, I came to learn that everyone, from the most fit competitor, to the curious person walking for the first time, have all started in the same place. They walked into a CrossFit box for the first time unsure of what to expect, often hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. I found the absolute best. Through the programming and nutritional support, my weight is where I need it to be, I am in the best shape I have been in in years, and I am happier than I have ever been. My wife also does CrossFit, which has brought us closer together.

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I found people who care about the people around them and want the best for those people. The coaches are the most informed and knowledgeable trainers I have personally found. It can be hard to find our way into the gym on any given day, with life getting in the way from time to time. The coaches and members at Progression understand that and support each other. It is that support that makes the difference. The support gets us into the gym, and our dedication to the program gets us the results we need. I hope to provide the support others need as I continue to learn and grow in the CrossFit community.