As two operations experts by day (her at the Hudson Mills MetroPark and him at FedEx Office) and self-described “outdoorsey” lovers of hiking, golf and beaches, Paul and Katie Decker have been been on a health journey that has improved their lives immeasurably.

They’ve been married nearly 30 years, are parents to two adult men in their twenties and joined CrossFit Brighton three years ago this November. But what is the secret to their success? What results have they seen?

What got you interested in CrossFit in the first place?
Katie: We just got bored with the Planet Fitness-type gyms where it just felt too monotonous. We were ready for a change.Paul: Yeah, I’d say I was also looking for a challenge and wanted an atmosphere of accountability.

What did you think about CrossFit when you first started? What’s kept you here?
Katie: I knew right away that this was a great group of people and clearly a community of support. We had a coach tell us that it’s just about competing against yourself, not others. Just show up and take your first step. That was incredibly helpful!

Paul: Since we joined, we’ve visited other boxes while we traveled and I love that at CFB there’s a higher level of discipline but but not guilt. I took an almost 7-week hiatus and I was a bit nervous to come back, but no one made me feel that way. It was all very positive from the members and the coaches. They just said they were glad I was back. It was such a helpful, positive tone and attitude and I’m so thankful for that!

In the last few months you also participated in the Brighton Nutrition program. What got you interested in that? What were your results?

Katie: I was diagnosed with cancer last September and I’m taking a hormone pill that’s making it difficult to lose weight, even with working out. I knew I had to do something different with my eating to improve my health overall. It’s great to find this balance between the workouts and nutrition. I’m able to lose weight again but most importantly, my joints don’t hurt as much!

Paul: I’m a big believer of quality in equals quality out. I don’t care how much I workout, I can’t eat like junk. I knew if but if I was leaner, mentally and physically, I’d perform better. Through the nutrition program I not only lost more than 8 lbs. And 2 inches, but my general health has improved. I don’t have to take blood pressure medicine anymore!

What keeps you coming back?
Katie: For me it’s not only the community – I love chatting with my friends here – but also being more fit and balanced with CrossFit allows us to do more in life. We recently had no problem doing a tough two-mile hike through a park with steep hills and 80-foot inclines. It was difficult, but I wasn’t out of breath like I used to be.

Paul: CFB is one of those “happy” places I value in my life. I never knew what I was getting into when we joined, however looking back over a couple of years I truly value and appreciate the coaches and members in making me feel good about what I am doing for health/quality of life.

What else would be helpful for someone to know who is new to CrossFit and anxious about getting started?
Katie: Just try it, get yourself here, try it, no pressure, you’ll find out once you succeed you’ll be fine. Get yourself here and you’ll stay. The first obstacle is just getting through the door!

Paul: There are so many good things that CFB is doing that can make significant life changes for the good, if we stay focused and only compete against ourselves and for ourselves. I’d also say to really trust and listen to the coaches. I’ve avoided injuries because the coaches are honest with me and guide me well on what to focus on.

I can’t believe all that CFB has done to improve our lives in these nearly 3 years here. I can’t wait to see what the next 3 years will bring!