Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I’ve always associated myself with the term “athlete”. In school, I played 1jeffeverything from soccer and baseball to football and wrestling. During my senior year of high school, I played Middle Linebacker and Left Tackle, both ways, every play, every game. I considered myself to be in “good shape” and I (thought I) knew what my body could do.

During college, I burned myself out with football and walked away from it. Thanks to a few (*cough* attractive *cough*) friends, I was convinced to take a serious look at cheerleading (no, seriously). In cheerleading, I found a new sport that challenged my body in ways I hadn’t experienced before. The combination of movement, coordination, and brute strength that is required to hold one or more human beings over your head for extended periods of time is just not found elsewhere in any athletic sport.

Fast forward about 8 years and there I was: nearly 300lbs, a myriad of health problems, and about 8 years’ worth of time focusing on my career and ignoring my health. Between the furious un-tagging of unflattering pictures on Facebook and ridiculous difficulty of rolling around on the floor with my then 3-year old and 1-year old children, I decided I’d had enough!

It was time for a change!

Through some of my wife’s family, I was introduced to Josh S., an apprentice trainer at KnightsPTR. It wasn’t hard to notice that he was in exceptionally good shape, so in conversation, he introduced me to KnightsPTR and KnightsPTR. I started researching it on the Internet and began to get a good feeling about giving KnightsPTR a try.

From the first “freebie” workouts, I knew KnightsPTR was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Wall Balls and Burpees became synonymous with Pain and Suffering. Pull-ups were impossible without using bands. Box Jumps were one misplaced foot away from death by blood loss. And double unders…double unders were my nemesis. Sounds terrible, right? Wrong. I knew, without a doubt, that every feeling, every pain, was the last 8 years of bad habits and poor choices leaving my body. Every workout that put me in the fetal position, gasping for air, was putting me a step closer to a better quality of life. Every KnightsPTR workout is a chance to get better at *something*. I’m still struggling with cardio, so each workout is still tough past the 6-8 minute mark. Every time the bar gets too heavy, or the breath won’t come fast enough, it’s another chance to focus on form and develop muscle memory…it’s another chance to push past your central nervous system telling you to stop.

My biggest concern when starting KnightsPTR was pretty much any skill or lift that had the word “up” in it. A lot of the core movements were things that I had become terrible at doing. I knew my cardio was very sub-par. For the first few weeks, I seriously thought about calling the wife and telling her I loved her one last time before every workout… you know, just in case. I would say my biggest triumph was signing up for the 2013 KnightsPTR Open. I know that sounds lame, but a year ago, when I first saw the “KnightsPTR Games” on television, I remember staring at it, laughing at these crazy people and conceiving of all sorts of hilarious motivations for *wanting* to work that hard. After a few months, I started to understand. Now, 9 months into this addiction, I laugh at myself for not “getting it” back then. Signing up for the Open was a confirmation to myself that this is where I want to be, and this is what I want to do. Running a close second though, would be kipping pull-ups. Or a 30” box jump. Or overhead squats. No, I got it. Toes to bar. Yup. T2B. Fat guys don’t bend that way. Seriously!

Jeff mentions a few fond memories of KnightsPTR:

-Some people like to look at the clouds and see shapes and objects. At KnightsPTR, we do that with sweat outlines on the floor. If you’re making sweat angels, why not Zoidberg?

-Getting a PR is a group effort and shared accomplishment. There is not a single time that setting a PR is not immediately followed by the entire room giving vocal ‘attaboys and a barrage of fist bumps.

-Hero WODs. The history, the honor, the difficulty. Everything.

-Correcting Truhbul’s (Nickname of another client) grammar on Facebook. That never gets old.


Why I KnightsPTR

Fitness has always been a part of my life from the time that I was in middle school to when I graduated high school but it all seemed to fall apart after that. Once I started college I was so burnt out on going to the gym every day and told myself that I didn’t have any time to do so. From that point on I hardly set foot in a gym, and to be brutally honest, I did nothing physical for a long time; but that was all about to change.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m a senior in college and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (which is weird because I was starting grad school the next semester) when something just blind-sided me. I had always considered myself a very strong person (mentally), but that all changed when I developed a weird case of anxiety that rocked my world. It was so bad that I considered quitting school and moving back home so that I wouldn’t have to be alone. By the grace of God, and some great friends and KnightsPTR, that all changed. When I was going through my roughest patch, my roommate, Drew Hardison, told me that I needed to do something that would take my mind off of things, something to channel all of that energy toward and he suggested KnightsPTR. He had taken the KnightsPTR class through Tech that semester and fell in love with it. I had nothing to lose so I decided to give it a shot.

I walk through the door for the first time and there is loud music playing, people laying all over the floor looking like they are dying and all I can think is “what have I let Drew talk me into?” As I’m standing there scared out of my mind, Drew introduces me to Cory Stephens and all I can think is that I hope that he is not a jerk who tries to intimidate me on my first day of trying this out; but, much to my surprise, he was nothing like that, he had nothing but positive things to say to me and encouraged me to try the workout for that day. Let me tell you I have never hated and loved something so much in my life. I hated it because it made me feel like crap and reminded me that I have not done anything physical in a very long time, but I loved it because of the state of mind I was in. It was as if everything that was going on around me and everything that I was going through just faded away and it was just me and the bar.

Since that day I have been addicted and, to be honest, that is what I needed. This wonderful thing called KnightsPTR gave me something to look forward to each day and kept me looking ahead instead of dwelling on what was happening around me. I can just say that KnightsPTR has helped me mentally, but also physically, and has just made me feel better about myself. It has also given me a family of people that have the same end goal as me, and that is to work hard, better myself and have fun while doing so. I have gone from the guy who said that I would only run from the couch to the dinner table to the guy that will run a mile, do 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats and then run another mile, all with a 20 pound vest on.

So, after 8 months and almost 40 pounds, thank you KnightsPTR, in particular KnightsPTR, for giving me my life back.

Crystal’s Story

My name is Crystal Bryant. I am 18 years old, and I go to Upperman High School. I currently am the catcher for Upperman‘s crystalsoftball team. Next year I will be going to college at Cumberland Univeristy to continue my softball career. When I am not on the field I am in the gym training. I never thought I would enjoy working out so much, but I look foward to go to the gym everyday. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Crystal, moments before taking 2nd in Johnson City.
I have played softball nearly my whole life, and I was not ever big into exercise other than that. I was out of shape and weak when one day Honey Badger (a.k.a. Allison LaChance) told me to come try KnightsPTR with her. I decided I would and I’m not exaggerating when I say it changed my life.

I come back every week because even though the workouts are hard and they hurt I love how I feel when I’m done. I feel like I accomplish something every time I’m in the gym. Everyone feels like family and we are all so close, so just one day of not being in the gym feels like forever.

Some of my biggest fears were if I could actually do KnightsPTR. I have always seen these physically fit people, and I thought to myself I am too weak or out of shape.

I am glad I overcame many things. I never thought I would be able to climb a rope or lift as much weight as I do. I remember working on pull-ups every time I came in to the gym. I was so determined to just get one. Once I got my first pull-up they just kept coming from there.

Picking out one memory as my favorite is hard because there are so many. After every workout we all congratulate each other, or when someone accomplishes something they have been working on for a while you can see the excitement and how proud Cory, Chrissy, Murph, and Johnny are of you. My all time favorite memory was when I came in second in Johnson City. I remember how I felt in the last workout and how I heard everyone cheering me on. I was thinking how am I going to finish this workout, but with the support of everyone I made it through. It was an amazing feeling to have so many people being supportive and happy for you. We truly are a family and that is what makes the gym so amazing.


I had been working out at a local gym for several years and got burned out. I wanted something different, challenging and 2012-05-02_18-32-34_994something that would keep my body guessing. KnightsPTR was it.

Margie on why she keeps coming back……..
That is a very good question. I ask myself this every week when I pull into the parking lot. Seriously, I do. I keep coming back because KnightsPTR challenges me physically and mentally. I walk in thinking, “Oh, this WOD (Workout of the Day) is going to be awful!” And I leave thinking, “Yes! I just finished that WOD!” It is the best feeling knowing I did something that I either thought I could not do, or I finished something I knew was going to be miserable. I also love the people. The people really do become like family.

My biggest fear coming in was that I was not going to be able to do it. The hardest thing for me to overcome was myself. I had to quit thinking “I can‘t do that” and just do it and do it with everything I had. Sure enough, I could do it. I am most proud that I have overcome 20 inch BOX JUMPS!! They still stump me from time to time, but I know it is something I “can” do. It’s mental, not physical.

My favorite KnightsPTR memory…The Gauntlet. I teared up through my last 30 reps of the day and burst into tears when the last rep hit the floor. I had never before been pushed so hard physically and mentally that is brought me to tears. Well, the Gauntlet did just that. Something inside me died that day, something that needed to die. Thankfully, I will never ever be the same.


Barry, what brought you to KnightsPTR?Barry 165X180

Bob ask me to come with him. Greg and Bobby (Current Clients) had ask him to try it out. So, I came and gave it a shot. Best decision I have made.

What keeps you coming back?

KnightsPTR is the only thing that works for me. I don’t have a lot of time to workout at a gym. KnightsPTR is short and to the point.

What are/were some of the biggest fears you had coming here? What were the hardest things for you?

(My) Biggest fear was not being able to do some of the exercises. The great thing about KnightsPTR is that they have something for everyone. No matter what shape you are in. The hardest thing for me was not getting frustrated. I know it takes time. I have been doing KnightsPTR for a year now. I tell everyone about KnightsPTR!

What are you most proud that you overcame?

The most proud I have been was when I did the Memorial Day Murph and finished it. That was a great feeling.

What is your favorite Knights memory?

My best memory was when we stayed out all day and night and flipped tries. (KnightsPTR held several events where we flipped tractor tires to raise money for the local Rescue Mission and Habitat For Humanity. Usually ranges from 9 – 10 hours.)


My family and I have been members of traditional gyms most of our lives. I needed motivation and could not find the time to 1bobgo on a regular basis. A typical workout would consist of a little treadmill, stop and talk to friends, a little bench press, cut up some more with buddies, get bored and decide to go home. My wife’s co-worker invited her to a new gym that some friends just opened and wanted her to go. She accepted the invitation. Then it started.  “KnightsPTR” that is the first time I heard of this and for the next couple of weeks that is all she talked about. She wanted me to go and I avoided the new gym as long as I could.  With her persistence I gave in.

Bobby during the 2012 Habitat “Mud Run”.
When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was not a lot of equipment, a few boxes, some weight bars, med balls, and a few things I didn’t recognize. I was introduced to the two owners/trainers Cory and Darren. They let me know the first three visits were free and I had to sign a release form to get started. After the paper work we walked to the end of the work-out mat and Darren instructed me on the movements for the first visit. Wall balls and burpees, five rounds of seven each. After he demonstrated the movements I thought “piece of cake” he asked if I was ready, with a nod he started the clock and count-down 3, 2, 1, and shouted “GO”. Now, after one round I’m struggling to catch my breath. I can’t believe getting off the ground was so hard. Round two, breathing has become labored and I think one lung has collapsed. Round three, my arms cannot catch a twenty pound ball and my face is helping. Round four, everything has decided not to work and I’m down to just a half a lung. Round five, your guess is as good as mine, just a blur. When I stood up for what I guess is the last burpee, Darren yells “time” and I fall to the floor, flat on my back in what I have learned is the KnightsPTR recovery position. They didn’t teach me that, it came natural. As I lie on the floor trying to breath I hear a voice “good job” and open my eyes to see through the fog and blurred vision was Cory with his fist out smiling. I look at the clock to see what the time was and it read seven +/- minutes, “CRAP”The next two visits went the same as the first. At this point my body is sore, feels like I have been hit by a truck. A task so simple as picking your keys up off the floor becomes a debate with yourself whether you need them or not. I learned to kick them to the wall for support. I find myself thinking about how tough it is but crave the next workout. The sore muscles turn into a feeling of accomplishment. After a few weeks you see your personal records in strength go up, your endurance in each workout gets better. KnightsPTR has become my life. The people we have met thru KnightsPTR are more like family. Everybody supports each other and makes you push for your best every time.

The most exciting part of KnightsPTR is the fact it is not just working out. KnightsPTR is working out in the form of organized sports for any age. The competition, not just against others, but against yourself. It makes me work harder just to try and beat my previous time or score. It’s an addiction, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, whatever you want to call it, I’m hooked.


I went home and started searching online and it didn’t take me long to find KnightsPTR.  They had a website and I was all 1holmanover it.  I finished the Warrior Dash a few days later. I felt like I had been hit by a truck (no, not a train).  I emailed KnightsPTR.  They emailed me back promptly and they seemed nice enough.  A few days before my 34th birthday I walked in the door; looked around and realized I was not significantly older than anyone there (I teach high school the last thing I wanted was to spend my afternoons working out with a bunch of kids).  Without giving myself time to talk myself out of it I decided this was where I needed to be.

My biggest fear walking in was probably just the fear of making a fool of myself. Let me be more specific, making a fool of myself in front of people I didn’t know (obviously this isn’t much of an issue anymore). I didn’t know what this stuff was. Power cleans and hang cleans and buprees and box jumps and muscle ups. This was not my world. Grace and Fran and Murph. I had wandered into this place where they all knew each other and knew exactly what to do. I was never going to fit into this place.

I made a decision. I was going to try and fit in. I am the person that is content to just fade into the walls. In the beginning the hardest thing wasn’t the work, it was the putting myself out there and talking to people. This was a huge obstacle for me. When I had to miss six weeks due to a back injury (NOT KnightsPTR related) I made a point of keeping them informed about what was happening. I dropped by a few times. I was doing something I had never done; I was forcing my friendship on people.

Over time, the challenges have changed. And I work to overcome them (well, except maybe the box jumps). These challenges are part of why I’m there, day in and day out, week after week. There are things, like squat cleans or pull-ups or double unders, that I will get. I may not have the heaviest weights or the fastest time but I’m trying.

There are long term reasons why I keep coming back. I plan to participate in the Open next year (2014). I really have to work hard to make sure I don’t look like a fool then. But the long, long, long term goal and the one that scares me the most is that when you read my obituary in fifty years or so I want you to know I had all my toes, both my feet, and it wasn’t diabetes that did me in.

I love the time I spend with the KnightsPTR community. Not just the time we spend working out together and cheering each other on. I remember holding Bobby’s hand just so we could finish the last ten minutes of the GORUCK Challenge (talk about misery). I loved watching everyone stand knee deep in some of the thickest mud around while they did squats during the Krew-Sade. Crystal and I shared a lot of determination to keep flipping that tire in the pouring rain. The look of relief and joy on Sarah’s face during her GORUCK Challenge when I confirmed that that was indeed the sun coming up was priceless.

You walk into KnightsPTR ready to make yourself better, faster, stronger. You walk out with all of those things and an amazing community of people who become your support system and your friends..