How I Went from “Chubby” to “Man Hunk” – A Slightly Ego-Driven Biography from Ryan McElhaney

Written by: Ryan McElhaney

I was lifting and lifting big.

I spent years inside Globo-gyms, doing the traditional routine: chest and biceps on Monday, back and triceps on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, etc. Sure, I was benching 300-lbs and banging out 135-lb bicep curls for reps.

Taking my shirt off at the beach, though…that wasn’t a pleasant experience.

I kept telling myself that I needed more abdominal workouts, more cardio and heavier lifts. The muscle definition never came, though.

“You should have a little more to show for as much time as you spend in the gym.”

That’s what a co-worker “affectionately” told me. It hurt to hear, but he was right.

Immediately, I began researching high-intensity training (HIT) and jumped into P90X with both feet. P90X combined weight-lifting with aerobic exercise. It was tough. It was very tough. After a few months, though, the movements became easier and was able to complete all the required work.

I liked the change of pace. More importantly, the results were starting the show.

There was always the option of going heavier or moving faster to increase intensity and difficulty, but, eventually, the movements became redundant. “You can do anything for thirty seconds!” Tony Horton would say. That got annoying quick. He’s an amazing trainer, but there’s only so many times I can hear “Perfect, Pam!” I tried muting the TV and following along. That worked for a little while, then I tried doing the movements by myself. That too got old. Right around P360X (almost a year of P90X), I decided it was time for new exercises. It was time to move on to the next chapter of my fitness. That’s when a long-time friend convinced me to give CrossFit a try. provides free, daily programming and I could learn any movement from YouTube. It was a good combination. I started around the middle of February, which happened to be the start of The CrossFit Open and the most challenging workouts of the year.

One of the first workouts consisted of deadlifts and toes-to-bar. I concocting a warm-up, thinking about the muscle groups that would be targeted, how to warm them up and how to attack the workout. I thought I had it all planned out.

I was very, very wrong.

The workout kicked my ass. Nothing went according to plan.

The next day, programmed ‘Grace’, a workout consisting of thirty 135-lb Clean-and-Jerks for time. After getting over the forearm pain from my lack of proper warm-up the day prior, I set out to do the Clean-and-Jerks. I thought 135 pounds wasn’t all that heavy. I mean, heck, I could bench double that quite a bit.

I was…humbled…to say the least.

It was incredibly hard, and my time was terrible. Shortly after that, I discovered ‘scaling’ – the ability to increase or decrease weight, reps or time to maximize the effectiveness of the workout. What a concept! I could scale the workout and get the best results possible for me. It’s one of the beautiful aspects of CrossFit. Each workout is designed to fit a specific goal and time frame, which then optimizes the time spent and the gym – to great results!

Eight months later, a friend finally convinced me to join an actual CrossFit ‘Box’ (gym). It took a lot of convincing. After all, why should I pay over $100 a month for something I’m getting for free.

As history showed me, I was – again – wrong.

The programming, the community and the motivation that came from joining a Box was second to none. I drank the proverbial Kool-Aid and I was addicted.

The workouts were constantly varied, there were better athletes to compete against and the coaching was FAR better than being self-taught on YouTube. There was no way I could go back to traditional gym workouts.

Eventually, CrossFit convinced me to focus on my nutrition. That’s when the real results started. That combination of full-body movements, weight-training, cardio, constantly varied programming, competitions, nutrition and inspiring members completed the puzzle pieces I had been missing.

I’m 35-years-young now and, unquestionably, in the best shape of my life. Each day, I’m inspired to share my success with other members of my gym.

Best of all? Taking my shirt off at the beach is no longer an unpleasant experience.

CrossFit ABF is home to many people looking to find their own inner “hunk.” To find out if CrossFit is right for you or to join our family, email us directly at #AlwaysBeFlexing


Simply fill out the form below and then schedule Your FREE intro session on the next page.

Shortly after we will be in touch with you to confirm your intro session. We are excited to meet you!

Cara Ruscin


A transplant from Arkansas, Cara played every sport she could growing up. After a small stint as a personal trainer at a globo gym, she was introduced to CrossFit in 2017 through another personal trainer. Her very first week of CrossFit was the first week of the 2017 Open and she’s been hooked ever since. She obtained her level 1 certificate in 2020 and coached at a gym in Arkansas for two years before moving here last year. Cara got into coaching because she loves to help and encourage people to reach their goals, whatever they may be!wing two coaches to our coaches page.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification

Tony Jurado


Tony is a highly-regarded CrossFit coach, known for his unwavering commitment to promoting fitness and wellness. Over his 11-year tenure in the CrossFit community and a decade of coaching, he has refined his approach to training, expertly blending rigorous physical conditioning with mindful perseverance.

His personal journey into fitness was initiated in adolescence, kindled by a passion for soccer that he nurtured well into his adult years. His tenure in the military further honed his discipline and mental resilience, vital attributes he instills in his athletes today.

Tony’s portfolio of qualifications is expansive, covering a broad range of CrossFit certifications, including Level 1, Anatomy, Coaching the Aging Athlete, Dumbbells, Running, Programming, Lesson Planning, Scaling, Spot the Flaw, and Coaching the Aging Athlete. These credentials equip him to create individualized and comprehensive training plans, catering to the unique fitness objectives and needs of each athlete.

In addition to his expertise in physical training, Tony brings a deep understanding of nutrition and supplements into his coaching approach. This knowledge was garnered during his time at the Vitamin Shoppe, and recognizing the pivotal role of nutrition in achieving fitness goals, he seamlessly integrates this into his holistic coaching strategy.

Tony’s coaching expertise extends far beyond his local community. He has demonstrated his effectiveness and adaptability on an international platform, engaging with a diverse array of athletes. His inclusive approach ensures that individuals of all ages and fitness levels have the opportunity to benefit from his coaching.

Embodying his mantra, “Only you can make it happen, so make it happen,” Tony encourages his athletes to seize control of their fitness journey. His coaching style marries challenge with support, fostering an environment that empowers athletes to push their limits.

Regardless of where you stand in your fitness journey, Tony’s comprehensive approach to CrossFit, backed by a wealth of knowledge and a firm belief in personal determination, is poised to inspire and guide you toward achieving your full potential.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Amy Bell has always been into sports and fitness all her life, starting soccer at a very young age, playing competitively through high school. Once she started college, being an athlete and staying fit wasn’t really important to her at the time but quickly realized she needed to do something to get her fitness back in check. Her sister participated in CrossFit for over a year before she finally talked Amy into trying it. Once Amy did, she was hooked. She started CrossFit in Georgia as she finished her bachelor’s degree and then moved to Florida. Shortly after her move to Clearwater, planning on testing different gyms in the area, she bought a Groupon for ABF as her first one and stayed, never trying anywhere else.

Amy enjoys the community, the programming and the overall atmosphere of ABF. She been with ABF for four years now, making huge improvements to her fitness and dialing in on her nutrition. CrossFit has become a passion and a lifestyle for Amy. Working in the medical field, she realized how important fitness and nutrition are and if more people could make this kind of lifestyle change, even just a small change, there could be less people with illnesses and more living healthier lives. CrossFit has also given Amy the competitiveness she’s always loved playing sports, competing against other athletes at ABF as well as competing in local competitions and the CrossFit Open.

She has been a large part of how we’ve kept the gym clean the last three years. She has been planning to coach for some time now and finally completed her CrossFit Trainer O-L1 course in September 2021 to become an official coach at ABF. She is excited to be able to share her passion with others, to encourage and help fellow athletes reach their fitness goals.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Brandi fell in love with all things barbell after watching the CrossFit games in 2012. She hadn’t been into sports or fitness in her younger years, but had been looking for ways to improve her strength and conditioning between a desk job and being a mom. After failing to make much headway in a standard globo-gym, she bought a Groupon for a local CrossFit box and immediately realized there was no turning back. The supportive community and infinite scalability of CrossFit has kept her engaged and coming back for more. Years later, Brandi continues to grow into a well-rounded athlete.

Her passion and dedication has lead fellow athletes to look to her for guidance on their lifts, so when Brandi was offered the chance to coach she jumped at it. Brandi earned her ABF L1.5 in 2020 and runs our foundations program. If you’re new to CrossFit, she will likely be your first coach.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Fitness has always been a piece of her life, but things didn’t change until she found a Groupon for CrossFit ABF. Andrea gave ABF a chance after years of attending a regular gym that left her wanting more out of fitness. This was the best choice she made as it combines her love of being social with new and old friends and a newfound love of lifting weights and pushing herself to the limits. CrossFit ABF has shown her what a FitFam really means as she looks forward to working out with them every week.

Andrea is an inspiring mother to her daughter Layla and her giant fur babies, Storm and Thunder. You can catch Andrea killing a workout, rollerblading down the causeway, or enjoying a night out line dancing (yes, she loves her country music!). She enjoys the adventures of life and encourages others to strive towards their goals. Andrea continues to take her skills to the next level and wants to be there to help you do the same.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Amber Krumn, lovingly referred to as “Krumncake,” joined CrossFit ABF (and the overall discipline of CrossFit) in 2017 after she grew tired and bored of the “typical” gym atmosphere. Different from anything she’d done before, she grew to enjoy CrossFit due to its varied workout types. Every day’s workout finally became exciting! An avid runner, Krumncake also fell in love with the sporting aspect of CrossFit. Recently, she’s become more interested in the nutritional aspects of functional fitness and you’ll often find her trying to improve the sport’s various skills, which, in turn, make the sport all the more challenging.



CrossFit Level 1 Trainer



Ryan McElhaney is a CrossFit Level II Trainer, USAW Level II Coach, CrossFit Gymnastics, and CrossFit Movement and Mobility Certified. He has been an athlete for as long as he can remember. His father built box jumps and agility courses in the backyard rather, than sending him to summer camps. He’s participated in soccer, track & field, cycling, golf, basketball, paddle boarding, 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and extreme napping.

In February of 2012, he realized that he needed more than what the standard Globo-Gym could offer, so he finally took the advice of a good friend and gave CrossFit a try. He was hooked somewhere between 3-2-1 Go! and the gut-wrenching feeling of never having conquered a workout like this before. Continuously-varied challenging workouts, strong community support, constant improvement, and a proper diet are what fueled his passion to coach and inspire others to share in his success. Two years later he completed the CrossFit Level I Trainer course followed by CrossFit Movement & Mobility.

“I love to coach, it’s the highlight of my day when one of my athletes becomes proficient in a lift or movement and I’m extremely passionate about helping others improve their fitness. I’m also a big fan of any career that promotes flip flops and t-shirts as the standard work uniform… coaching!”

Ryan is married to Linda and they have an adorable puppy named Bella.


CrossFit Level II Trainer


Month-to-Month Membership Agreements and Annual Membership Agreements: You may place your Membership on hold two (2) times per calendar year up to three (3) consecutive months each time. Advanced notice of at least ten (10) days is required. The hold must be in 30 day increments, but you can return to class at anytime. Upon expiration of the term of the hold, your account will automatically become active and payments will resume. Should you choose to return prior to the end of their hold period, the hold will be released and payments will resume.​


All membership agreements require 30-days written notice to cancel your membership. This form will serve as your 30-days written cancellation notice. Note that if you have a scheduled renewal payment within 30-days of your invoice billing date, the payment will be processed as scheduled. Your membership will be canceled at the end of your final paid month. All payments are non-refundable. All grandfathered membership rates will also be forfeited and returning members will be subject to current rates.


Please fill out the form below and one of our team members will review your request. Warning. The submission of this form does not cancel your membership. We will review your request, then reach out to confirm.


We Would Love To Meet You!

Simply fill out the form below
& one of our amazing
coaches will be in touch asap! We are excited to meet you!


We Would Love To Meet You!
Class Sizes Are Limited.

If you would like to reserve a spot... Simply fill out the form below letting us know what day you might come by & one of our amazing coaches will reach out to you to reserve your class.


$20 Per Class

OUR Information:


18538 US Hwy 19 N Clearwater FL 33764


We Want To Offer You
The PERFECT Membership For YouR NEEDS.

Simply fill out the form below
& one of our amazing coaches
will send you our current
membership information.