"For the last 8 years, the limping, dealing with the fact that my left foot was so damaged in the accident that I only had about 60% flexibility in it. I simply came to terms and accepted it. Adapted to it."
In 2006, Dean Massa, a 45-year old father of two, was struck by a car while jogging on his way to work. The accident left him with two broken legs and bilateral ankle fractures.
He was bound to a wheelchair for 6 months.
Looking back, it doesn’t seem like he would be the most likely person to become a jump rope enthusiast. But that's what makes his story so inspiring.
Dean was fairly active while growing up. He played baseball and was in track and field in junior high. He even bowled for 10 years straight after graduating.
“I was in and out of the gym, but I never found something to stay consistent with. Then, I was in a bowling tournament and I fractured tendons in my fingers. They eventually healed, but then I had the accident.”
At the time of the accident, his insurance would only allow him to attend seven personal training sessions. He went once a week for half an hour over the course of seven weeks, but it did little in the way of restoring him to full health.
I suffered from severe back issues. That combined with my legs being broken and my ankles being fractured made me have a limp. I was hunched over. It used to take me about 10 to 12 minutes just to get out of bed in the morning.
After the accident, Dean got a puppy. It motivated him to start walking again and getting out of the house.
He named him Champ.
As Dean started getting more active, his cousin told him to try out Crossfit.
He enjoyed it at first, but it was a little too challenging as he was not fully recovered.
“I wasn’t consistent enough. Mostly because it would take me three to four days to recover from one session.”
He then attended a Fit Body Boot Camp for a year and a half but found that his work schedule got changed so frequently that it was very difficult to stay consistent.
Healing with Jump Rope Training
About five months ago, Dean came across the Jump Rope Dudes (formerly Zen Dude Fitness) on YouTube. He got intrigued and started to experiment with jump rope training.
At first, he got frustrated with his regular rope as he kept tripping up. But after discovering Crossrope and adding the heavy ropes into his training, he started to pick things up quickly.
“Using the weighted ropes was a real game changer. I was using my regular rope, but I kept tripping up. With my Crossropes, there's a margin of error.”
Along with improving his performance, incorporating jump rope training into his fitness regimen has had some health benefits for Dean. Not only has he lost nearly 45 pounds since October, a lot of the pain from his accident has subsided.
“Since I started jumping, it’s helped with my pain tremendously. My stamina while jumping has increased so much. This is gonna sound strange but it’s getting to the point where I’m jumping for so long, I feel like I have to stop. I’m just jumping for so long, it’s really something! It’s becoming very comfortable for me to jump for 40-50 seconds, where when I started I could barely jump for 10 seconds in a row. I bring my jump rope to work with me. When I have a few minutes, I get out and I jump as much as I can, and it makes a big difference.”
Dean joined the Jump Rope Fitness Community early last October. He felt he needed a place to connect with like-minded individuals so that he could improve and be motivated by others to be consistent with his training regimen.
“The positivity and motivation is so amazing in the group. I feel like I found somewhere that I truly fit in. I made a few friend that I chat with on the regular. The normal person that is intimidated to go to the gym or be around fit people, this is something they can do by themselves, and still have people to look up to.”
Tina, Dean’s cousin, who was the one who first introduced him to Crossfit is also in the jump rope fitness community. She and many other members including Vincent Clark, Bernadette Robinson, Chad Gonzales, Greg Carlson, Larry D’Andrea, and Brandy Gibson have inspired him along his fitness journey.
“One video that cemented my being here was when I saw a video of Vinny [Clark] jumping. He’s a big guy like me, so seeing him jumping like that took any doubts right out of my mind! He is just crushing those workouts. And so is Chad. He seems to be a genuinely nice person.”
He's right. Vincent is a beast and Chad is a genuinely nice person.
What You Eat Matters
The best advice that Dean would offer anyone who is struggling with their weight is to stay consistent in your training regimen and eat clean.
Dean gave up fast food back in 2003 and then noticed a huge difference in his health and weight when he switched to a keto diet in 2016.
“It had gotten to a point where my weight would stay the same. Eating this way, I got from 360 lbs to 308 lbs. At one point, I used to be 410 pounds. I was a prisoner in my own body and a slave to food.”
But his transformation has been nothing short of remarkable.
Tweaking the macros was crucial and a few months ago he started doing intermittent fasting and really enjoys it. He only has one meal a day and he doesn’t eat refined sugars and carbs.
“It has to be a gradual transition. That is the key to stopping cravings and binge eating. Certain foods are triggers. Not necessarily fast food. Sweet potatoes were a trigger for me. I have a passion for the sweet potato. I used to make sweet potato pies every day.”
Dean’s advice to stay focus is to drown out the noise.
Find what works for you and stick to it. There are plenty of helpful tips and resources, but they aren’t helpful if they only cause you harm. Listen to your body. These are the principles he used to lose over 100 pounds in the last decade.
Looking to the Future
Everyone’s journey is different. Unfortunately, Dean’s journey has been riddled with physical ailments and health struggles. Dean was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis which has forced him to take a step back from his training.
But he's not easily discouraged. His spirit is strong and he often carries on even in the midst of struggles, whether they be physical or not.
Some of us have had challenges similar to this. What separates champions like us from others is rebounding from such an occurrence. Nothing stands in the way of progress.
Dean aims to keep slimming down and to recover from his physical ailments. He enjoys walking Champ and spending time with his kids and family. He wants to live a healthy lifestyle so he can be around for a long time, for them. Even with his issues, he still jumps at least 5-7 days a week and is an active member of our community.
“Being a part of this community was the last piece of my puzzle. You have to be persistent. A community of people rallying behind you no matter what help you stay consistent. Perfect recipe for success.”
Well said, Dean. Well said.
Thank you, Dean.
Thank you for sharing your story Dean and for being a constant source of inspiration. We look forward to seeing you continuously hit your fitness goals.
Want to send Dean some love? Please leave them in the comment section below!
And if you want to join our fitness community, we've got a spot just for you. Sign up for our 30 day jump rope challenge and join over 60,000 active jumpers from around the world.