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Denise Choate

I have to be completely honest. I was a reluctant convert to CrossFit and to fitness in general. To begin with, I was never much of an athlete. I was undisciplined and had all sorts of bad habits. When I ate, I ate too much or too little. When I drank, I drank too much. To make matters worse, I smoked nearly a pack of Marlboros a day on and off for over 20 years. In the past I’d made attempts to change my bad habits and “get in shape”, but these were mostly half hearted measures and those cigarette breaks were really cutting into my workout time.
That’s the way my life went. I knew I was harming myself. I wanted to live better, but I was stuck in a mental and physical rut created by all my unhealthy habits and I deep down, I did not believe I would ever have the power to change.
In 2006 my husband Mike and I had our 7th child together, a beautiful baby girl we named Mia. My pregnancy was difficult and despite trying not to, I put on a lot of weight. I was 42 and tipping the scales at nearly 200 lbs. I was fatter than I had ever been and so I did what came natural to me, I started smoking again as a way to lose the weight.
Mike had always been an athlete. He was a black belt in two Martial arts. Over all he was a pretty health minded guy, so he really frowned upon my usual coffee and cigarette diet. He enlisted the help of our children, and together they began applying pressure for me to quit. I eventually did quit smoking. It was a process. There was a moment when I realized that all my self destructive behavior wasn’t a victimless crime and I was harming my family because I wasn’t taking care of myself. That was a sobering moment. I decided to change.
Mike started teaching me to kick box. It was so hard at first. Those early workouts left me gasping for breath. But I liked it. We started taking kickboxing classes 3 to 5 days a week at a local Martial Arts studio. Mike and I started eating on the Zone. Soon we decided to take a Kettlebell certification together. I was the least fit person in our group. But I kept going. Our children started working out with us. I lost 25 lbs and I was starting to get into condition. Mike and I began dreaming about opening a fitness studio together. Good things were happening. Then one day while surfing the internet, Mike stumbled upon CrossFit. I was intrigued by the “garage gym” mentality and laughed out loud when I read “How To Get Kicked Out Of Your Gym In 10 Days Or Less.” I can’t remember whether we tried Fran or Helen first. What I do remember is that the workout was awful, sweat was stinging my eyes, I couldn’t see and I couldn’t do a single pull up. I didn’t think I would make it through the workout, but I did. After I recovered, I was surprised to feel a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration wash over me. That CrossFit workout filled me with a new kind of fear and trepidation. I couldn’t wait to try it again.
I’ve been CrossFitting just over 2 years now. Along the way, I learned how to do a pull up, now I can do up to 5 sets of 5 in a row! I discovered I was an athlete.
To say that CrossFit has changed my life may sound like a cliché’ but it’s true. Mike and I fulfilled our dream and opened CrossFit Modesto. I love my job. I get to coach my students and help them to find the power within themselves to improve their lives. It is deeply moving for me to watch a student “get it” and to know that I played a part in their transformation.
Sometimes the workouts still fill me with a sense of dread, but I know that’s where the real growth is for me. Every time I overcome my fear and resistance to the ridiculously uncomfortable place my training takes me, I am saying no to weakness and failure and excuses, and yes, to myself and to the challenges I face in life inside and outside of the gym.

Contact Information

Phone 1 (Work) 209-576-7650
Phone 2 (Mobile) 209-622-6903

Training at

Location CrossFit Modesto Krav Maga
Address 4213 McHenry Avenue suite A
City Modesto
State CA
ZIP 95356


Certifications CrossFit Level 1 Coach
USAW Strength and Conditioning Coach
WKC Kettlebell Instructor
WKC Strength and Conditioning Coach