We’re proud to put a red coach shirt on this guy!
Read his story below.
I didn’t have your typical childhood. I grew up in a drug infested home, homeless, and bouncing between family members’ homes. I also spent much of my time taking care of my younger brother, doing what I could when I could. I never really had the opportunity to play sports or do much that entails being a kid.
At the age of seven, I was run over by a truck that ran a red light while riding my bike on my way to school, which ended up causing seizures due to head trauma. Soon after this point, I was taken away from my mother, and forced to live with my grandparents who were able to involve me in sports such as baseball, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, and flag football. I never really had a drive to do well in any sports due to the fact that I had no athletic role models, grew up without a father, and was in no way the “athletic” kid. Up until I was a sophomore in high school, I was in and out of sports just to get away from home and during that time my weight escalated up to 250lbs.
The summer of my sophomore year I decided to make a change, I got together what money I could, and started going to the YMCA where I spent four hours a night working out. I ended up coming back to school my junior year weighing 175lbs with a confidence boost. I made varsity football both my junior and senior year and also wrestled my senior year. Competing in wrestling made me fall in love with individual competition because it’s you vs you.
During my junior year I joined the United States Marine Corps and left for boot camp one week after high school graduation. While in the Marines, I went on four different deployments, and served 8 years honorably, officially being discharged April 1st, 2016.
I spent nine years doing regular bodybuilding style workouts never really getting any stronger, just working out, until December 2012 when I did my first CrossFit workout (Hollyman). Since starting CrossFit, I have trained mostly by myself and taught myself all the movements and Olympic weightlifting movements by watching YouTube videos. Since leaving the Marines I have gotten certified in both CrossFit Level 1 and USAW Olympic Weightlifting.
I have been passionate about fitness for many years, and am excited to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and help people achieve their goals. Fitness is not just about pushing yourself physically but, is also about building mental toughness.
I’m currently going to school full time at the University of North Texas for Kinesiology, and training full time with the goal to one day make it to the CrossFit Regionals.
– Damon Ortega