(626) 804-7028   info@directactionfitness.com   531 S. Clydebank Ave, Azusa, CA 91702
If I had a dollar for how many times I was told not to lift heavy weight because I’m going to “look like a man” or I’m going to get a hernia, I’d probably be a millionaire by now. I definitely won’t look like a man, I love the way I look compared to before. I am more confident than ever. I’m no fitness guru, I’m not a personal trainer, but I can definitely say I am a CrossFitter and proud. Here is my fitness story:

My whole life I was overweight. I always imagined myself being skinny but never did anything about it. It’s sad because I would look at transformation pictures and videos of how people lost 100+ lbs and would say to myself “I wish I can do that” but I’ve always doubted myself and never in my life did I think I can have a transformation picture. My heaviest weight was 253 lbs. I was unhappy, sluggish, always in a bad mood, and always so tired. My clothes weren’t fitting and I just felt ugly. I was just super unhealthy and hated seeing pictures of myself especially the caught off guard ones.

I wanted to start a fitness journey but just didn’t know how or just didn’t have the motivation to do so. But my first baby step was to get a gym membership and I would go to Zumba 2-3 times a week and yeah it was fun and yeah I broke a sweat but I was losing 5-7 lbs a year. Plus I was not passionate about it and always felt forced to go. I tried using the machines but quit when I was tired and never pushed myself. I had lost 30 lbs very slowly but was still overweight. I started going to Zumba 3 times a day and doing home workouts but again I would just give up on myself when I would not see results.

My brother and mom joined Direct Action Fitness and would beg me for almost a month to try out the one day free pass and I was honestly just too scared because it sounded very intense and I’ve never lifted weights in my life. I finally came into my senses and decided to try it out. I have never ever been so gassed in my life after completing the workout. I felt dizzy and knew I was definitely out of shape. But, the coaches were right there next to me cheering me on. To be honest, I was very hesitant in whether or not  to join. My mom told me to try it out for 3 months and I said “let’s do it.” I knew this was it. This was my time to shine. I weighed myself when I got back and weight 217 lbs and told myself I can do it and we’re not giving up. I was super sore the next day but still went and the members and coaches were super nice and very supportive.

The workouts were definitely more intense as I was just used to Zumba but I kept on going. I remember cherry picking the workouts, I would miss on the days we had to do pull ups because I just couldn’t hang on for my dear life and now to think those are one of my favorite workouts. After going for a couple of weeks I weighed myself and was 203 lbs and was super excited. My clothes were fitting better, I felt better and told myself I will never ever see 200 on the scale so I kept going. And next thing you know I was 197 lbs.

I haven’t seen a 100 on the scale since I was in 5th grade so it was an emotional moment for me. I was super motivated and determined that I was going to reach my goal weight of 175 lbs. I started pushing myself and lifting heavier and going 6 times a week. I started seeing results within my face, my clothes fitting better and me feeling stronger and happier. I went from wearing XXL shirts to S/M. That is definitely one of my Non-scale victories. With the support from my amazing coaches and members cheering me on, I am happy to say I am 175 lbs today, January 19, 2021. I definitely could not have done it without my DAF community. They have built such a strong support system and great environment where it is so much fun to workout. I never in a million years would think working out is fun. But it is when you got a great support system and family supporting you. It’s like a party everyday. I look forward to that DAF hour. That loud music, the dirty chalky hands, the sound of weights hitting the ground and most of all the words of my coaches telling me “Great job Vivian” or “I’m proud of you.”

One of the things my older brother told me was in order to lose weight and gain muscle you need to find something you love and are passionate about and I am so glad I did. I love to weight lift, I love to hit a PR, I love that moment when I was finally able to do box jumps or a bar muscle up. The feeling is so amazing. When working out and feel like I can’t do it, I tell myself “If at first you don’t succeed, fix your ponytail and try again” and there I go fixing my ponytail, chalking up my hands and get right back at it.

To all my coaches, you are all doing one heck of a job. Thank you for always believing in me and pushing me to my fullest potential. You all definitely helped shaped the person I am today. I am glad that all my hard work has inspired and motived those who were in my shoes. Thank you.

Also, we ain’t done yet, my journey has just begun because at Direct Action we set goals and take action.

Vivian Ornelas, Member
When I was 18 years old I was sloppy overweight, and borderline diabetic I graduated high school and I weighed in at 280 pounds. I realize the problem and I need to fix it. I did very little at first, I didn’t diet exactly, I just cut out the stuff I knew was really bad like soda and chips but I saw very fast results. I didn’t keep track of my weight but I felt better and I had lots more energy, and I lost enough weight for people to notice. Once that happened I thought I can do this. I still didn’t begin training in any official or traditional way I really just increased my intensity at work. I worked at a large athletic store. The store had a large stock room I loved to receive and stock product. It was a good “workout”. Since it was an athletic store I found out it would pay for part of a gym membership, to promote fitness. I signed up and I went occasionally, but I didn’t get it, where do I start? I was missing something. I didn’t know what it was but I thought about the satisfaction I got after doing one of my stockroom “workouts”. I felt like the business wouldn’t function unless I gave 100%. So I thought I just need a challenge, a reason to do it. I started training with the Rio Hondo police academy shortly after,doing only physical training two times a week. I wasn’t very good, but I went every week. It was my measuring stick, I focused my training in the gym to be able to perform well in these classes. I did this for four months then the class ended. My weight was down around 230 to 240, I was 19 now. After the Academy training I stopped going to the gym, I mainly worked out at home the way I learned from the instructors, very basic, push-ups, pull-ups, sit ups, and run till you’re sick. I remember when I was 20 years old that I had a point where I get on the scale and the number wouldn’t change. It didn’t go up, but I didn’t go down either. I was way to focused on the numbers but I never addressed my diet except for the common no soda, no snacks. I did change my diet eventually, but it wasn’t very healthy. I would do these crash diets that were designed to have you lose 10 pounds in a week. I would do them for 2 to 3 weeks at a time, and I did lose a lot of weight, but I didn’t feel very good. Everything from 20 to 23 followed this method eat little train basic. I thought I had it figured out. At my smallest I weighed in around 175 to 180 pounds. I need to challenge again I needed a reason to train again. Some friends and I signed up for one of those obstacle races (spartan race, tough mudder..) it was a 13 mile race I knew I couldn’t finish it for $1 million not in the poor shape I was in. Now I train for something again. Now I had a reason to stay healthy. After the race I had to make myself remember that feeling of training for a reason, but I needed to make the reason something that wasn’t just going to come and go. I thought about all the people I knew were always sick, all of my family members that got heavier and more and unhealthy all the time that I spent trying to do the opposite, all the people I saw getting “old” at only 35 years old. My reason is that I don’t want to be “old” when I’m old. I’m 28 years old now and I’ve been on this never ending road of health and fitness for 10 years and I’ve learned to enjoy the process. I always wanted to do CrossFit. It look like so much fun, I just never felt ready for it. It was my stepmom who got me to actually check it out. I’ve done CrossFit and I loved it she told me. She told me about the atmosphere, the energy at CrossFit Direct Action. It sounded great, I had to see her myself. I went to one class and I was hooked. I love the feeling of getting better every week, Every workout, from one exercise to the next. My favorite aspect of Direct Action Fitness is the excellent support system that Coach Allen and the rest of the coaches provide, happy to answer any questions or critique form. Suggestions or recommendations to help you reach your goals, but it’s not only the coaches. It’s the other Members. There’s an energy here unlike any other place. People are genuinely happy to see someone else succeed. I feel driven by my peers here, to quit on myself is to quit on them. I take this energy and thrill with me, and I have become the inspiration to people around me that want to make a change in their lives. It’s a wonderful feeling. Joining see DAF has been a very for fulfilling experience for me and it something I won’t to let go of easily.
Ruben Feliciano, Member
Growing up I was always an active kid and in sports mostly because my parents weren’t going to let me be lazy. So I was put in softball as a kid and I didn’t really like it. Then I was put in basketball and that became my sport. I just fell in love with basketball and how intense and competitive it is. I played basketball from when I was ten years old all the way up to high school. Since high school I never really had time to play since I was working and going to school, but without basketball I noticed that I was getting out of shape. So I joined a gym and I was going at least five times a week. All I was doing at the gym was running and doing a little weightlifting. I didn’t know that many exercises so after about a few months I started going less and less because going to the gym got boring. I had heard about CrossFit before and I liked the intensity of the workouts so I joined a CrossFit box but I didn’t really get anything out of it. I had quit after a month and I went back to the gym and tried to motivate myself to go. At one point I even had a trainer, but the gym still wasn’t fun for me. One day while on Netflix I was looking for something to watch and I saw The Fittest on Earth. I watched the movie and it was inspiring to see these athletes being pushed to their limits. After seeing the movie I wanted to give CrossFit a second chance.
At this point there were so many CrossFit boxes around that I wasn’t sure which box I should join. Many times I had seen the sign for Direct Action Fitness on my way home and I wanted to try it but I never did. Then one day I was in the emergency room with my family and the nurse was wearing a jacket from Direct Action Fitness. So I asked her how she had liked Direct Action Fitness and she said she loved it and that I should give it a try. She said you’ll definitely see results if you stick to it. So the next week I signed up for the free class and tried it out. It was fun and everyone there was very welcoming. I am glad that I gave Direct Action Fitness a try because all the members are friendly and trying to improve. Also, all the coaches are awesome and willing to answer any questions you have about your technique and help you improve. I am just happy with the result thus far because I have already noticed that I am stronger than when I first started.
Alissa Mendoza, Member
Although I am still working towards my goals in life what has pushed me this far has been hard work, determination, and grit. I may not always be the best at what I am doing and at times it may take me twice as long to get the hang of things but I always stay persistent give 100% and push through.

My education is something that I have worked hard for and greatly cherish however it is not something that has always come naturally to me. As a continuation high school student that barely graduated I did not think college was an option for me. I was very underprepared when I began taking courses at my local community college. I could barely multiply and write a sentence but I used the determination, hard work, and grit to push through and ultimately go on to graduate from my dream school UCLA and now working towards my Master’s degree. Although it took me 7 years to earn my bachelor’s degree it is something that I am very proud of because it was not easy for me.

Just like my education has been mentally challenging for me CrossFit is something that has begun to challenge me not only mentally but physically. The workouts can be tough and painful but when you fight through and finish it is all worth it and you feel extremely accomplished.

Direct Action Fitness has improved my life by getting me off of the couch, active, and excited to work out. Although I played sports growing up never was committed to working out and felt intimidated by going to a gym. Since joining DAF I workout multiple times a week without feeling intimidated. What I love about DAF is that your fitness level or physical abilities are not important what is important is that you show up and give everything you’ve got.

Anthony Alvarez, Member
Started from the Bottom now I’m here.
This is my story……..I’ve never been into fitness heck for that matter I’ve never even made healthy decisions. If you ask my friends and family I would always eat unhealthy and make poor decisions. I was the queen of eating junk food and being lazy every day! One day I woke up and went for a ride on my motorcycle and got in a bad accident and injured myself. From that point on I never wanted to feel sorry for myself the way I did. I decided I needed to start feeling healthier and to love myself by working on my health and body goals. It took hard work and dedication and it didn’t happen overnight. I gave up on life a few times and went back into my bad habits of eating poorly which gave me no energy throughout my day. I wanted to feel motivated and alive like those people that always look happy and energetic. I didn’t come from a family that was athletic but when I put my mind to something I never give up and I give it my all. I knew from that moment on if I was going to start this journey I wasn’t going to FAIL. I don’t have a crazy story to tell or didn’t experience anything major in my life but my story did start from feeling hopeless and sorry for myself. So, here I am today healthier, stronger, and more alive than ever. Looking back I never thought I could do the things I can at Direct Action Fitness. I was never able to do one push-up or pull-up yet alone squats.

Where it all started was by getting my ass to the gym every day even when I couldn’t afford it but someone once told me you can’t put a price on health! I had struggles especially with my injury but I didn’t let that stop me. I started to google different workouts, healthy meal plans, and asked for guidance from many people. I continued to hit the gym for 2 years and after that, I just started to get bored and wanted more in life. I needed a challenge! I never knew about CrossFit or what was CrossFit and how it can help me but I wanted to try something new. I tried the intro class and I knew from that moment I would love the challenge. The first class I participated in made me realize that even though I was going to the gym for 2 years I had weaknesses. On my first day of class the coach had us do the basics; push-ups, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups etc. I couldn’t do one so it made me realize my goal was to accomplish those movements. I continued my journey with Direct Action Fitness and loved it since then. I’ve been here for a year and a half and it has changed my life in many ways but most importantly seeing others in the same situation as me made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

Direct Action Fitness has improved my strength, mobility, and confidence. I’ve inspired so many people around me not knowing I had that impact and that’s what gives me my daily dose of satisfaction. If it wasn’t for my accident, 2 years at the gym, and stepping out of my comfort zone I wouldn’t have been where I am today and that is being one step closer to my goals! I can’t imagine myself leaving Direct Action Fitness, it’s a big part of my life and I’ve never been happier with my results and the family orientated environment. I know this is my addiction but I just don’t want to fail and go back to how I was. The members, coaches, and owner have taught me to be positive, never give up, and never look back. The biggest and only advice I would tell people is PATIENCE, nothing is built overnight–I learned that the hard way! So here’s my story it’s nothing crazy but I hope it continues to inspire others and no matter what situation you’re in it all starts with making a decision for yourself and loving yourself.

Rachel Nastase, Member
Motivation, Hard Work, and having to change my mind about my health. Seeing a family member pass away because of diabetes at a young age leaving his wife and young kids behind. For years a kept lying to my self, that even though I am over weight I’m happy, As long as my kids are fine I am fine. The death of my Cousin opened my eyes. I have diabetes and had high blood pressure suffered from stress related illnesses. but I kept lying to my self, telling everyone was fine and happy. I started to think, what if that was me in that coffin, what will happen to my kids? what kind of sample am I giving them. with all this unhealthy leaving? Why will I abandon them? For my family to succeed I need to change. So I started working hard, pushing my self and realized why I need to succeed.

Work, one of my excuses for not working out was that my work schedule did not give me time. And having a child that was always in and out of the hospital most of the time weeks or months at a time. And the mentality that gyms are for fit and conceded people. I thought people will laugh at me coming to a gym being over weight. Like the over weight kid in P.E. that no one wanted to play with.

My wife was working out and trying out different gyms. It was a way for her to stay distracted and help her with her stress. One day she asked me to come and see her at this CrossFit thing. I did not even know what CrossFit was I taught it was like Zumba or something like that I was not interested but in fact she guilt tripped me to go with her, telling me why I did not want to support her. I came in, I saw her challenge her self I was so proud of what she can do. And as I sat there in the bench one of the Coaches came up to me really friendly and shook my hand and just talked about how good my wife was doing fundamentals, I saw how friendly the members were with everyone not like the regular gym where they are just looking at them self in the mirrors as they are flexing their muscles. I got interested of at least trying it to see if I can challenge my self.

All I know is that I am much stronger. before I joined, I could not even carry my baby on my shoulder without pain. I was always very sleepy all the time, stressed. Health was horrible, 6 months ago my doctors informed me that I no longer need to keep taking my blood pressure meds or diabetes meds, though still check it daily. I still have not gotten a bad reading yet. This CrossFit thing I did not know about a year ago. Has become a regular part of our family life. My oldest son Kevin 11 years old comes in most of the days to do his WOD. My wife and I love to see each other work out. My son Jonathan likes to pick fights with the coaches every day and his goal that he set with his doctors is to be able to join CrossFit by the time he is 9, keeps him motivated to keep fighting and getting better.

Martin Bautista, Member
I’m a 28 yr old, stay at home mom of three. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years. After having my first child I began to put on weight rapidly. Three kids later and after MANY failed attempts to lose weight I finally just gave up and figured I wasn’t the “fit” type. Mentally, I didn’t have the strength to start and fail at yet another work out dvd or gym class. I even worked with a personal trainer for 3 months.

April 2016, my husband decides he’s going to join a gym. He finds Direct Action Fitness, emailed Coach Allen, and got a call back later that same day. WITHOUT TELLING ME he signs us up for the intro classes. I was TERRIFIED!!! I was the last one to finish the workout that day and I remember wanting to quit after that first class. I was embarrassed that I had allowed myself to get so out of shape. My husband and our coach convinced me to finish the week. Every day was hard but finishing the workouts felt like such an accomplishment. The encouragement from everyone at Direct Action Fitness (members and coaches) gave me that boost of confidence that I was never able to get with ANY of the other fitness plans that I had tried.

Direct Action Fitness has saved my life!!! It’s seems so dramatic to say but when you go through life struggling with your mental health, without a positive outlet for your stress and anxiety, the world becomes an ugly place. My life is much brighter these days. My friends and family are always amazed about the weight I’ve lost and about how much time I spend at DAF. At first, when I’d tell my friends and family that I was going to hang out with some people from the gym they’d always ask “what kind of gym do you go to where you guys all hang out.” Now they come with me to DAF’s many family friendly events.

I love being surrounded by hard working motivating people. We’re all just trying to be the best versions of ourselves no matter the fitness level. DAF challenges me everyday!!! Before, I would have ran from it and hid away in a dark whole of self pity but now I’m excited for the journey, the process. No matter what stresses and problems are happening outside the walls of DAF somehow it all disappears with the loud music and a 3..2..1…Go!

Rebecca Villarreal, Member (Now President of DAF)
Why do I workout at DAF? Quite honestly, I don’t want to be a ‘Fat Bastard’. A reference to the Austin Powers movie character. I fear that in today’s lifestyle it is very easy to become that character and then pay the consequences from complications of obesity and detrimental health. My father died young from colon cancer, which I believe was contributed to not attending to his health better. That set an example for me that I did not wish to follow. That is why I found a passion in weightlifting and pushing myself in the Workout Of the Day (WOD) at DAF.

What I like about working out at DAF is the push for gains by the coaches, the class size, camaraderie and the weightlifting routine.

I have belonged to gyms in the past that require self-motivation to push yourself. As soon as you do 3 sets x 10 reps you finish. No pain no gain. By doing the WOD you have the attention from the coach and I see others doing the same, it naturally pushes you to new limits that you couldn’t imagine doing on your own. I’ve even tried a WOD outside of the DAF ‘Box’ and you don’t have eight others to workout with. The Metcon times in a group are far better and the AMRAP’s are far less when not in a group that you can compare with.

DAF will inter work weightlifting and push you to new personal records (PR’s). Barbells are lifted, squatted and overhead which I never would’ve performed in a routine by myself. This becomes a normal workout at DAF. Say hello to new muscle.

The DAF regimen also benefited me in lowering “All” my numbers. From blood sugar levels, cholesterol and bad LDL. These days, a sedentary lifestyle is “too easy”. We have to make a conscience effort to reverse that mindset, to work-in daily exercise of some sort and eat differently. Doctors recommend working out 5 days a week for 30-60 mins per day. A walk a day will not do it. A visit to the DAF gym most definitely does it for me. Four to five days per week puts me above the calorie intake and gets the blood flowing. Remember, one hour per day is just 5% of your day.

Another incentive to visit DAF daily is having a Coach provide you with personal training and oversight, pushing you to help you get to new PR’s and better times. Coach Allen (owner) is always present, checks on your progress and keeps you motivated. The coaches are always available for advice on movements, techniques and supplements. I can remember when I reached two PR’s in the same week, strictly by changing my breathing technique. That feeling made me commit to keep marching at PR goals and not falling back from the hard work that I already put in. When you stop, your muscles tend to reverse like a rubber band. Missing time is detrimental to progress. You have to avoid the ups and down of conditioning training. I’ve learned that you can miss 2-days, but on that 3rd day you must make it back in. Sometimes I’ll announce that I want to postpone my workouts or take the week off, but my wife reminds me that I do not have that luxury and I cannot quit. My blood sugar will rise and I become cranky. Amazing what molasses for blood does to your attitude. Reward yourself by sticking with it and realize the continuous gains. There’s no better feeling when you revisit a previous WOD and you improved on your time.

Find DAF to build a habit for yourself…a habit to exercise, then it will become natural. Driving straight home after work is no longer an option. Build camaraderie with friends at the gym and get to know the coaches who help you. Get a good sweat-on and get the feel of accomplishment instead of “thinking” what you wanted to accomplish.

Chris Huskey, Member
I have engaged in physical activity whether it was riding bikes, running, or playing organized sports up until I was 23. I started going to the gym at about the age of 18 for 1 to 2 hours a session. When I was 22, I would go to the gym for up to 3 hours doing cardio and strength training with a personal trainer. I was about 120 lbs and wore size 3 jeans. At about age 24, I went through a traumatic experience and became sedentary and depressed. I lost all my progress and gained 30 lbs wearing size 10 jeans. Unhappy with myself, I hit it hard – Insanity 4 times a week, run 4 miles 3 times a week, and lift every other day. I was portioning my food into half cups and eating mostly spinach and chicken with a 1600 calorie cap. I was down to 115 lbs within a couple of months, but I was very weak and unhealthy. Within a year I stopped portioning and was at 130 lbs. I was going to the gym or running about 3 times a week. My physical activity declined greatly the following years. With 3 jobs and back in school, I had a difficult time getting to the gym. I would run or go to the gym sporadically with no real plan. In 2015 I was feeling sick. I had a difficult time focusing, had more frequent migraines, and felt lethargic most of the time. That summer I decided to change the way I eat, which was the first step. The next step was exercising. My friend was doing CrossFit. His progress was obvious and it was easy to see the change in his energy and attitude. I was set on CrossFit, but still having difficulty, I put it off. Finally, in January of 2017, I had a break between classes and made it a point to find a box. After visiting a handful of boxes in the area, I decided on Direct Action Fitness. Crossfit coupled with a ketogenic diet – also started in January – I am in the best shape I have ever been. More importantly, this is the most disciplined and consistent I have ever been. After about seven months, I continue to go three to four times a week. It’s challenging every time, which I enjoy. I am now 29 years old, 131 lbs, 27% body fat, and wearing size 4 jeans. These numbers have been consistent since February +/- a few pounds and about a percentage of fat. Bottom line, I am happy with my change in lifestyle. I enjoy going to DAF and I also enjoy what I eat.
Daniela Valle, Member

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