Member Testimonials: Walton Shares His Story

The Ark is a gym that strives to shape its members into the best version of themselves. We focus deeply on the individual goals of each of our members and develop their skills and abilities beyond their imagination.

Aside from a gym, The Ark is a welcoming community composed of eclectic members, all of which have made impressive developments. 

Walton Dale is one of our valued members and below he shares his experience at The Ark.


1. How long have you been training at The Ark?

Going on 2 years, shoot to make it 4 days a week.


2. What were your goals when you started and has The Ark helped you achieve them?

I didn't have distinct goals other than to remain active. I first started working out at [a Crossfit gym nearby] for about three months before joining at The Ark. Previously, my exercise of choice was soccer, but with the opportunity to play regularly dwindling, the Crossfit gym I used to attend and later The Ark, provided the opportunity to stay fit.

I didn’t foresee the huge transformation that The Ark would provide.

At [my former gym], while everyone was very friendly and there seemed to be a great community, I didn't like the coaching and the random approach to the programming. At The Ark I found more of "my people" and Michael’s more focused and progression-based training appealed to me and I found myself diving into the Olympic movements, having slightly detested it at [my former gym] due to lack of quality coaching in the classes regarding the Olympic lifts.

Michael's nutrition counseling is great too. My arrival at The Ark coincided with my starting to pay much more attention to my own diet and its effects on my health. So, while I didn't have specific goals, I have seen myself work towards increasing skills and abilities within the gym.

Michael once posted a quote that has been a favorite of mine since: “the reward for doing the work is the ability to do more and harder work.” Though paraphrased, it is a philosophy that endears me to the work we do at The Ark, helping me appreciate the process more than any specific benchmarks. 

3. What do you like most about our gym?

The community within. It's a very humble and accepting crowd, egos are checked at the door, not by policy or enforcement, but because that's the crowd that's attracted. Not in many places would you see a Miss Patty or Sylvia along side the rest of the athletes.

Michael’s approach is so personal, and I always feel like he knows the ins and outs of my training both day to day and long term.

I love that he's available for text conversations about training or just bullshitting back and forth about common interests. I also like the slightly barebones approach, even as crossfit gyms add more toys, I appreciate working with what we've got at The Ark. Also the fact that my body shows the results of all the time spent at The Ark is a plus too 😬. I really appreciate the ways that my strength helps my daily life, lifting my biggest cast iron skillet with my left hand without problem and still throwing my kids around even though they're 10 and 6. I love the gymnastics work we do too as it's something my daughter, a budding gymnast, and I can bond over. I love that my kids can come with me to The Ark on Saturdays to play around and Michael even gives them stuff to do if they want, though mostly they just climb around outside.

4. What would you say to convince someone who’s thinking about joining?

I try and convince anybody who shows the slightest interest in exercise to come to The Ark for a trial. I can't really put into words how much Michael is the reason why I continue at The Ark. He's a great motivator and coach. 

Outside of that, I tell people that it doesn’t matter what you have going in, strength, endurance, etc., The Ark works with everybody and helps them to be a better physical version of themselves.