It was on the side of a mountain in Idaho that Terry Anderson became convinced he was going to die. As he looked over the mountain’s edge at the snow-covered pine trees, he came to terms with this idea.
It was March 1, 2000, and Anderson had been on a snowmobile trip with friends when he hit a ravine and landed on the handlebars of his snowmobile, which caused him to start bleeding internally.
Though Anderson says he’d come to terms with dying, life had other plans. Anderson was airlifted to a hospital in Idaho and spent four days in the ICU, then returned to Minnesota.
The accident set off a string of other events, including a career change, which eventually lead to a lifestyle change.
“When you have a life-changing moment, you look at life differently than you ever did,” Anderson said. “Things that were important before, not so much, and things that weren’t, all of a sudden are. Things become so much more clear.”
After having to deal with insurance regarding the crash, Anderson decided to begin a career in the insurance industry. It was after he’d been promoted that an old friend also in the insurance industry confronted him about his weight, which had always been a struggle for Anderson. At one point, he says he’d reached 420 pounds.
“He said if you don’t lose weight, you’re never going to enjoy the life that you’re building,” Anderson recalled. “It was like a light switch went on at that point. I thought about my little girl, thought about my son, thought if I don’t get better control of my health, he’s right, I’m not going to live very long.”
After that conversation, Anderson knew he had to make a drastic change. He’d tried diet programs before, and nothing ever worked long-term. So he began looking into bariatric surgery and decided he wanted to take that route. In May of 2010, he had the surgery. Following the surgery, he dropped weight. But that wasn’t the end of his struggle with food.
“How I tell people about addictions with food, is it’s no different than someone who has a drug addiction or alcohol addiction,” Anderson said. “You can live without alcohol or drugs but you can’t live without food. People that have some sort of eating disorder have to fight it almost every time you have a meal and it’s hard.”
After surgery Anderson had also started working out, but that came to an end when he ruptured a disc in his back. He slowly began to put weight back on, which was frustrating. After his injury, a friend tried convincing Anderson to try Crossfit, but Anderson was resistant due to his injury. But after having similar conversations with other friends, Anderson decided to give it a shot nearly two years ago.
“I got there and the 5 a.m. class was working out,” Anderson recalled. “Some of them were outside doing handstand pushups as I’m getting out of my truck and I’m like, ‘What am I doing here? That’s not going to happen.’”
However, Anderson stuck with his plan and went to a class. Then, he says, he was hooked.
“I was so determined not to go back to how I’d been,” he said. “The people there are always welcoming, always willing to encourage you. The friendships I created out of that group are some of the people I care about the most in my life.”
Anderson says he has been able to find common ground with other people at Crossfit, as well as improve all areas of his life.
“There’s some really great people that are there,” he said. “Somebody in that gym has been through something you’ve been through and you’re going to be able to relate. You’re going to gain not only your health, but balance with your life in other areas.”
Now, Anderson says he views his Crossfit time as an opportunity to reset and ground himself.
“When you get in there you don’t have to think about it,” he said. “You just do what you’re told. Nothing in the world matters except that thing you’re doing at that time. For an hour you don’t have to think about life, family, nothing. You can just clear your mind and hit reset. Having that chance to reset four or five times a week is so important to your state of mind.”
In a way, Anderson says, he has almost dying on the side of a mountain in Idaho to thank for the place his life is at today.
“Things in life happen for a reason, and there’s always going to be those bumps in the road,” Anderson said. “But for some reason things happen at the right time and just when you need them the most. And Crossfit came around at the time that I needed it.”