Keep Calm, WOD on, & Good-Bye

Let me just get to the point and get the big huge news out of the way…

Hallye, Harper, and I will be moving to Lubbock, TX in a few months. Primarily to rejoin Experience Life Church. It was where i was saved and it is my spiritual “home”. 

Mark Garza and his family will be the new owners of CrossFit FMS. 

I know, i have so much explaining to do so let me try…

Second only to my responsibilities as a Christian, father, and a husband, owning this box has been THE honor of my life.

Our story: 

In December of 2010 there we were… Engaged with bachelor’s degrees from Texas Tech University. Not long after, on January 29th, 2011 Hallye and I got married. 


We were young, and we loved Jesus and each other. Nothing else mattered much in comparison. Things haven’t changed much.

We bought a house and moved to Hallye’s hometown of Midland, TX. Not long after, i dropped a HUGE BOMB on Hallye and basically told her that i wouldn’t be happy or satisfied with doing a “normal job” until i took a stab at opening a gym! She had her doubts (to say the least) but supported me anyway because she is the most amazing woman on the planet.

The next couple of months were a whirlwind. I didn’t even know that i was going to open a CrossFit affiliate. Just a gym and maybe i would use some CrossFit stuff here and there. I had done ONE CrossFit workout at Capstone CrossFit in Lubbock then followed that up by doing a handful of workouts on my own with my brother Josiah while i was still in college. I got my level 1 certification after Jason, the owner of Capstone CF told me it was worth the money.

My life changed forever that weekend. But one moment in particular pulled at my heart

I was blessed to have Matt Chan on my seminar staff. I talked to him on the second day one-on-one for maybe three minutes. I told him i was considering opening a box. I told him i didn’t have hardly any money to put into it, i didn’t know much about CrossFit, but I just wanted to be part of this whole CrossFit thing.

He said, “There are no guarantees in anything but you just have to care about people more than anyone else and work really, really hard. Take care of them and look them in the eyes when you do it. Everything will workout however it is supposed to. The clients who come won’t stay because of the equipment you have or don’t have. Treat people right and everything else will fall into place.” 

From there we dove in head first. I took Matt’s advice. I worked hard. I thought i knew what hard work was. I didn’t.

We signed a lease, got a very small business loan, got affiliated, ordered some equipment and we were off and running. CrossFit For My Savior was born and we literally didn’t even have bumper plates. 

I did it all with my own two hands. Family and friends helped me a lot with some of the more major projects.

All the while i had another full time job. I would wake up, coach the 6:00 am class, do my own workout from 7-8, coach the 8:00 am, get ready for work, go to work from 9-5, coach the 5:30 and 6:30 classes, usually coach elements from 7:30-8:30, go home, go to bed, then do it again.

I did this for about 6 months. It was brutal. I was grinding.

Most importantly, i was building something i believed in. People were telling me that I was making their lives better. That’s all i have ever wanted. I loved it. When it got hard and i felt tired my mantra was…

This is still easier than “Fran”. 

At around 6 months of being open, a man started training with us at CrossFit FMS. He looked straight up gangster. Full sleeved tattoos, quick to go shirtless, always rockin’ a flat billed hat, shades, the whole shebang…

Calm down ladies, he’s married.

I have always hung out with, made friends with, and felt comfortable around people of every class, religion, race, etc with no effort at all. Adaptability has always been one of God’s greatest blessings to me. So when i met Mark, i never judged him. But i quickly grew to respect him.

This doesn’t come easily from me. Let me explain it this way… I love everyone. I genuinely do. I don’t like a lot of people and I respect even less people than i like. I’m the most social, anti-social person i know.

I honestly believe you can learn as much as you need to know about a man by watching him do a met-con because…

For me, it was easy to like Mark after just a few workouts. I got to know him well over the next two years. His wife, his sons, his co-workers. Three things became clear to me the more i got to know him. 

  • Mark works hard no matter what he is doing.
  • Everyone in Mark’s life respects and loves him.
  • The people and things surrounding Mark are growing, improving, evolving.

Mark is a good man that i respect. 

After some time Mark started coaching at the box. I honestly don’t even know how we started talking about getting him involved as a partner. I guess the evolution of our relationship only made sense. We agreed about everything. We had the same vision for what mattered and where things should go inside and outside of the box. But for a very long time it was just a discussion… just an idea floating around…

We were growing. Fast. One day i just couldn’t do it anymore. There simply wasn’t enough time in the day. I had to quit my job. Months later, Hallye had to quit her job to help me. This monstrous, beautiful, immeasurable thing was growing. People were telling me these crazy things…

That this thing we had all created together had changed their life, that it had saved their marriage! I knew the truth though. “I” wasn’t doing anything. God was. God was using me and I was using CrossFit. I boast in nothing but HIM and what HE has done. 

Anyone who gives me any credit at all for any change they experienced just know it was his love living in me that made that possible. He did that. He showed you the door, you put in the work to walk through it.

This place was special and the box’s members were breaking the first rule of Fight Club. They were talking about Fight Club.

We were quite literally busting at the seams. We had ten people workout in the breezeway, barbells were flying though the wall, glass was flying everywhere, and the police were called on more than one occasion! No, i’m not exxagerating. It was a straight up rodeo/circus/quinceañera.



We had to expand. Getting the new box set-up for us at more than double the size almost broke me. I was literally brought to tears from exhaustion on several occasions. Even with so much love, help, and support from you guys and my family I barely made it through. Oh yeah, and Hallye? She was 7-9 months pregnant through this process. Never complained once. She carried heaps of trash, cleaned out paint guns, busted down walls with a sledge hammer like a fucking hoss! Never complained once. Just got annoyed when i got too tired and needed a break. What a ride that was…

As the clocked clicked over to midnight, Hallye (with child) and I started 2013 in our new box putting the final touches on our new location for opening day.

Just a couple of weeks later, the most amazing thing to date happened… Hallye gave birth to our beautiful daughter Harper Quinn Barnett.

Induced with no epidural, the love of my life gave me the greatest gift of my life and she quietly said, That was still easier than Fran.” (Which of course is entirely untrue).

Everything changed. I changed. The box continued to grow and we hired coaches. I will always consider all of them my good friends. Tony, Chad, John, & Mark’s son, Sebastian…

This box isn’t David’s box. It’s CrossFit FMS.

  • It is Randy Rose getting made fun of for carrying his shoes into the box so they won’t get dirty.
  • It is Jeff Limbacher getting his first toes-to-bar
  • It is Cassidy Golden going to CrossFit during Spring Break while all of her friends are sleeping in.
  • It is Chad Hoban getting fit enough to become a fire fighter after failing the first time.

Chad b and a

  • It is Chris Butler and Kayla Butler getting married and starting a business.

  • It is Tony and Alyx getting engaged

  • It is watching Sebastian Garza becoming a man
  • It is Greg Bick losing 50lbs and coming back from the dead
  • It is everyone hootin’, whistlin’ and hollerin’ every time someone takes their shirt off mid-WOD.
  • It is April Harris working out with one arm for 6 months

  • It is Alex Munoz doing our workouts in Afghanistan

  • It is a roasted pig in the park after three WODs in one day

  • It is doing burpees in the middle of a 5K covered in corn starch

  • It is texting Heidi Porter to ask if ___ is “Paleo”
  • It is Jamy Akins putting our logo on his bike.

  • It is re-thinking everything you post of Facebook because of how your FMS family might respond.
  • It is Trinity Golden holding a squat bottom for 5 minutes and asking, “Is this supposed to be hard?

  • It is Chris Beckett asking dumb questions
  • It is Lexi Altinger not knowing how to count even though she is a teacher
  • It is Martin Phiffer laying on the floor for literally 30 minutes efter every metcon
  • It is Jimmy Brooks making fun of Martin for everything he does.
  • It is having serious conversations about the possibility of Benny Sosa being Batman and Tara Sosa being Catwoman.
  • It is Mitch Aufdengarten moving and feeling like someone died.
  • It is Kay Therwhanger doing more strict pull-ups than all the guys in class.
  • It is Miranda Cockerell bringing costumes to class for everyone for absolutely no reason at all

  • It is doctors, marines, and grandmas all in the same class (literally).
  • It is JoAnna Low’s daugther doing burpees when her mom does burpees.
  • It is watching our humming birds grow up and fly away.

  • It is Julie Golden telling me she, “Looks bulky”

  • It is Greg Golden sweating all over everyone.
  • It is running in the snow!

  • It is going from a few stall mats laying on the floor…

To this…

It is so many other special people, special moments, and special things that make this box as great as it is. There is too much to list. I could go on FOREVER! If you’re mad at me for forgetting something, then post it in the Facebook comments! You expect me to type it all!? Geez, get off my back!

This box is you! It every single one of you working your ASS off and making it the best hour of your day for the past 2 & 1/2 years.

Like i said earlier, when Harper was born, everything changed for me. I began to rethink everything. Everything.

I started to think about everything differently. When i laid down at night and saw her there sleeping with her tiny chest moving up and down and her sweet face all i could think about is keeping her loved… keeping her happy… no matter what. It is all that really mattered in life.

There are two truths that my heart tells me will keep her loved and happy.

  1. Focusing on my relationship with Jesus.
  2. Focusing on my relationship with her mother.

Of course both of these things are completely possible when owning a small business but I simply haven’t been doing either to my fullest potential. The box and CrossFit have been the hardest and most rewarding venture of my entire life but Harper’s arrival showed me that it was time to focus even more passionately on God and my family because in the end, that’s all that really matters. After months of reflection, and prayer with my wife, we decided going back to E-Life in Lubbock was the best way to do that.

When i proposed the idea of the Garza Family taking over the box, they didn’t hesitate a moment except for their concerns about if it was what i really and truly wanted.

For those of you who don’t know, Mark has always coached for free. He has done so much for the FMS family over the past two years and never asked for anything in return. Ever.

He lead fundraisers, organized competitions, built us equipment, and has done countless favors for myself and so many of you. 100% for free. They love what we do and have never ever told me, “No, i can’t do that for you.” All of which proved time and time again that he loves CrossFit FMS. I have absolutely no doubt that Coach Garza and his family will take all of you onward and upward! He is the highest quality of man there is and the only person who loves this family as much as i do.

I blinked, and now, in a sense, it is over for me. It is not good bye. I am still a part of this family and I will always be a part of this box. But it is goodbye to me as your head coach and owner. I hope you all understand my decision and ask that you pray for us as we continue our next adventure! 

Keep calm, WOD on, and God bless!

-Coach Barnett

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3 Responses to Keep Calm, WOD on, & Good-Bye

  1. Pat Bostick says:

    Good Luck and God speed to you and your beautiful family.

  2. Kay Therwhanger says:

    I love your story and am honored to be a small part of it. The box has changed my workouts in a big way and I love it! Mark Garza and family is a perfect choice to carry on the box. Best of luck to you and your family. God bless you and family in future plans. We will miss you….

  3. mary robledo says:

    very heart moving, all the right choice for the right reasons, may you keep progressing forward for whatever reasons keep you going straight ahead , always keeping God and family first, love you Tia M!

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