When you think of a hero, what do you think of? A police officer saving someone’s life during a robbery? A firefighter rescuing a child from a burning building? If you can wake up early enough, you can meet YCF’s own hero working hard in the 5:30am class. And he’s a very special kind of hero.

Travis McCann is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and certified athletic trainer. Yes, he does help people get healthy and change their lives, but that’s not why he’s a hero. He joined the Marine Corps in 2006, but that’s not the reason, either. The reason is quite simple: he saved an infant’s life.

Last December, Travis had surgery to donate a piece of his liver to his friend’s son, Logan, who was diagnosed with a condition called biliary atresia a few months prior. Biliary atresia is a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants and, when Travis—a universal blood donor—found out that baby Logan needed a liver transplant to survive, he stepped forward without any hesitation. Operation ‘Liver for Logan’ was a success, but then Travis had his own recovery battle to fight.

Seven days after surgery, Travis—who is married to YCF member Jennifer and has a year-and-a-half year old son, Cameron—couldn’t even get out of bed. The surgery destroyed his core strength and, since taking some time off from working out after his son was born, he wasn’t in the best of shape. Jennifer had just started at YCF a few months earlier and Travis started to look at the programming. 

“I’ve seen some gyms where they’re like ‘let’s do this as fast as we can or as heavy as we can for 20 minutes’ and you’ll see a lot of injuries that way,” says Travis. “With my exercise science and physiology background, I liked the way Brendan programmed. Since my wife was already doing it, I figured I’d give it a try.” 

When Travis joined YCF in March, he was eight weeks post surgery. Even though he was told not to lift weights for six months, he had to do something to help his body recover faster. “I knew I’d have to scale everything back and I was ok with that. I couldn’t even do knee ups on the bar,” he remembers. But Travis has made huge strides in his recovery and attributes it all to CrossFit.

“My first goal was to do a toes to bar and then I did it and needed a new goal so I figured I’d make my next goal be a 315# deadlift; I wanted to hit it by six months [post surgery],” says Travis. He just hit that goal at the end of May, a week and a half ahead of schedule. Travis can also string together five toes to bar now and lost about 2-3 inches off his waist.

Travis is also extremely thankful for the motivating atmosphere at YCF. “My wife and I are around people now that have a common goal and are so supportive,” he says. “That little community at 5:30 in the morning, I know that if I don’t go, people are going to wonder where I am. The atmosphere here is just amazing. I’ve only known everyone since March but everyone is so accepting.”

So what’s next for Travis? His next goal is to do the hero WOD Murph on his own by October, which he just completed with a partner on Memorial Day. He also wants to deadlift 405# and get a muscle up, which he’s been working on. “Going forward with my little one, I also want him to grow up living an active lifestyle; doing fun things outside together.”