The Wellness Movement: Brad’s Story
Hi there my name is Brad MacMillan, this is my FITNESS story. I have always said that the greatest gift my parents ever gave me was the gift of FITNESS. I remember seeing my mom and dad always working out, running, doing sit ups, pushups, always doing something. My dad introduced me to working out at an early age and he took me to “The Fitness Warehouse”—one of Miramichi first real commercial gyms—when I was 13. I remember that workout vividly because I was pretty overwhelmed……and stopped…..but I made it back…) I continued working out and when I moved back to Eel Ground First Nation when I was 14, I started my first gym. My friends and I gathered all our equipment and, thanks to the support of my uncle who was the band Chief at the time, the Eel Ground Band let me use the back of the old Band Hall to get set up. We were charging $2 per month to use it. My first experience in the gym business… This gym was short-lived but it was a great learning experience. This is where I got my start. I am grateful for my uncle’s support in this first venture. He was my first “mentor”. My fitness journey kept going on through my teens and into early adulthood. I was not as serious and dedicated as I could have been though. I joined the RCMP in 1997 and this was my first time I really dedicated myself into a structured training program. I did not want to get embarrassed during the rigorous RCMP Depot training, I am happy to say that my training paid off. I had the top number of miles ran and top number of push-ups performed at the RCMP Depot that year. It was also during this period of my life that I realized that the traditional “bodybuilding style” workouts did very little to train you for real life physical demands (required in RCMP/Military style training). Doing sets of bicep curls did not do much to help you run down a suspect and arrest them during the middle of the night. So I began to study how real athletes trained, how the military trained. It was a real eye opener.
In 1999, I received some bad news; I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. At first I was pretty upset. But with the support of my family, and prayers, I was able to realize that this was only a diversion, only a setback in my life. Having Crohn’s opened my eyes and really made me grateful for what I had in life. I realized that many people had it much worse than me, so I felt blessed, really blessed that other than Crohn’s I was very healthy.
It was during my RCMP years that I began to train other people, mostly my co-workers, I had fun. I had always had a passion in helping others train, really since my days back at the old Band Hall. I always read and studied how to exercise and how to train, so this came very natural to me. After the old band hall closed, we moved all our equipment to my basement and I continued to help train my friends all throughout my teenage years, so it was a natural extension to train people from an early age. Unfortunately my Crohns got worse and I was forced to retire from RCMP. At first I was discouraged by the situation. And this is where my fabulous wife came in. She was super supportive. Pretty much all my life I had a motto, you could complain and whine or you could do something positive, I realized that this was the perfect time to take action, not to whine, not to complain, but to do something, do something for myself, my family and my community. I realized that I could do something positive, do something for my community….I could train people, help people reach their fitness goals…..I could realize a life-long dream and open up my own gym. I wanted to have a gym that was different than other gyms. I wanted a gym that was dedicated to service, dedicated to motivating people, dedicated to helping people achieve their fitness goals.
That was my starting point, so in 2008 I opened Eel Ground and Pound, the first athletic performance gym in Miramichi. Our first gym was in an old garage in Eel Ground First Nation, approx. 1800 sq/ft. The “Pound” represented a new beginning for me. At first (2007-2008) there were a few regular gyms in Miramichi, but none like the one I was going to make. I knew that people needed something new, something exciting and the community got that when we opened up in 2008. This was our gym for 3 years, then I had decided to really make a business and in 2012, we expanded to a brand new 3000 sq/ft gym beside the old Pound. In our gym, you actually trained hard each and every day, you had a coach, you had a “Fitness Experience” that was shared by everyone in the gym…..and you did this every day. The sense of “community” in our gym was a first for any gym in Miramichi. When everyone trains hard together in a group setting, it really is an amazing experience. The people in Miramichi realized this very quickly! Soon enough, we had outgrown this new gym space and needed to expand. In 2013, we expanded our gym another 2400 sq/ft, it was also during the year 2013 that I decided to make our gym a CrossFit affiliate, a true CrossFit gym. In 2013, I was approved to open the first CrossFit gym on a First Nation in Canada. I was super proud! We had come a long way in only a few short years. I was proud that we were the first CrossFit affiliate on a First Nation community, but I was even more proud that our gym became a real part of not only our reserve (Eel Ground) but also became a huge part of Miramichi. Our gym is recognized all over Atlantic Canada as being one of the best gyms, which is something I take great pride in. We had to expand once again to make room for the CrossFit gym, another 1800 sq/ft was added to our gym. We now had a Met Con gym and a CrossFit gym. They are essentially very similar programs, except Met Con doesn’t involve the same very technical lifts as CrossFit does. In 2014 we expanded the CrossFit section another 400 sq/ft and in 2016 another 1800 sq/ft was added. Our gym is now over 10,000 sq/ft and is the largest CrossFit gym in Atlantic Canada.
During the year 2016, I decided to really focus on my nutrition, to both improve my athletic performance, but more importantly, to improve my quality of life… I felt it was necessary to change my nutrition because my current diet and medications were only managing my Crohn’s, I needed something more. So in September of 2016 with the help of my doctor and wife, I decided to take on a “whole food”, natural way of eating. I adopted a low carb, non-sugar lifestyle…..a total life changer for me.
During this whole experience, I began to look at life different. I now realized that having Crohn’s was indeed a blessing, a great gift as this led me to my life-long dream of owning a gym and helping others on a daily basis. Along the way, I was always supported by my loving wife and family, not once did anyone ever say “No”, nothing negative, always positive. That is how I live my life now and forever, Positive actions=success, I wake up each day knowing that I am blessed and knowing that I get to help people achieve their fitness goals, help people make their lives better. I get to live a perfect day each day of my life now. Thanks to CrossFit, thanks to my family, thanks to my athletes and thanks to God.
For more information on CrossFit Pound, visit our Facebook site! https://www.facebook.com/groups/410715405696449/
This article was originally published on www.wellnessnb.ca
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