The Environment Inside Railroad

By Coach Shawn

From 2006 until 2010 I served in the Air Force.

While serving, I was part of a close knit team that was composed of about a dozen men.

The small team was inside a unit that would train and prepare to deploy at a moment’s notice to open a base and (my team) provide security for that specific location. 

Every single day for four years, I spent the bulk of my day and time with these individuals. 

We ate together.

Performed countless training exercises in the field together. 

Trained lots of physical fitness (most by choice, some by not 🙂

We traveled across the United States for different mock training exercises. 

Went to training schools together (ie: SWAT School, Air Assault School, Sniper School, Raven School.) 

Lived together and eventually deployed overseas together. 

Through all our shared experiences, good, challenging or indifferent we had a bond and connection. 

We helped each other physically and mentally. 

When I decided to leave the military in 2010, I lost that sense of shared camaraderie, community and belonging.

In 2012 I would find it again this time in a different form.

Enter Railroad

This would be found when I began my journey at Railroad CrossFit.

I have always been able to see clearly that beginning a journey with exercise is /or can be a very vulnerable journey. 

And luckily, when I began my journey at 17 years old, I had someone take me under his wing and meet me with loving kindness. 

He taught me how to train, how to eat healthier and met me where I was at. 

No question was a dumb question. 

No judgment or criticism.  

Just a sense of an outstretched hand as if to say, let me help you find your way. 

He taught me, pushed me when I needed to and held me accountable.

We are still very close friends to this day.


When I took over as the owner of Railroad in 2014, I began to think of what sort of environment and culture I wanted to create.

And would go on to fine tune it over the years. 

Environment wise, I always wanted to create a place of acceptance. 

A place where you can belong.

Where you are not judged by how you look, how you perform, your age, your background or your fitness level.

A place where you can be seen, felt, heard and appreciated for who you are. 

A place where you can allow yourself to be vulnerable and build your self trust and not be judged but be supported. 

Where effort is recognized and appreciated. 

Where you can work alongside all sorts of individuals and be motivated and inspired by them.

Whether they just had a baby 10 weeks ago, they’re in their 60s and are defying the aging process, they’re a busy parent who prioritizes their own self-care, or for one hour a day this is the one hour they are devoting to themselves. 

I always wanted to create a space where people could learn to love training. 

To love the physical and mental growth that comes from it.

To feel supported not only by their coaches, but by their peers.

To create an environment where you can do things you never thought you would do. 

From strength feats to self confidence feats like wearing shorts, or a tank top or cut off shirt. Or feeling comfortable enough to workout with your shirt off. 

All of which because the built confidence in self and who you are. 

Knowing the environment helps us all get better at loving ourselves. 

And that environment that is created helps us all do that. 

The environment helps us better ourselves via strength training or at times get through challenging workouts like MURPH together.

At the end of the day recognizing the shared effort around the room with a sweaty smile. 

This is the environment that has been created, has been a part of the vision, and that we uphold that helps keep Railroad so special.

Want to be supported and thrive in an uplifting environment and better yourself alongside like minded individuals?

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