ETHAN PATERNO

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1. What was your life like prior to your CrossFit training and why did you want to start working with a coach?

Before CrossFit, I had lifted weights for more than 10 years. As you can imagine, doing more or less the same thing for 10 years, and working out alone, I started to get pretty bored. My wife suggested we try CrossFit, and I thought that might be an interesting alternative to the gym.  I asked around and heard only good things, so it seemed like a no brainer to sign up for an Evolutions class.

2. What have been your greatest challenges (physically, mentally, emotionally) since you began your CrossFit Training?

By far the biggest challenge has been mental.  The physical challenges you can overcome if you put in the time and effort, but the mental part is different and difficult to conquer. It’s about reconditioning yourself to ignore your brain when it’s telling you to stop – to push through when things start to get tough. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that the body is able to go a lot further than the brain is willing.

3. What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began? How does your body feel now compared to when you started and WHY?

My greatest successes are doing workouts that since 6 months ago I could not have attempted. A great example is 70lb kettle bell swings. 6 months ago I couldn’t do 1 swing. Last week I did a WOD with more than 50 swings. It felt great to not only do the exercise, but to do it and keep pace with everyone else.

I feel great and am in the best shape of my life. I have more energy than I’ve had since my mid-20s.  I think the biggest reason is that so much of CrossFit is moving your own body weight – as opposed to seeing what the heaviest bar you can lift is.  That means you’re building muscle that is right-sized for your body – which in my mind is a much healthier way to exercise.

4. How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit transferred over into any other areas of your life?

Besides having more energy and stamina in my day-to-day life, CrossFit has given me a newfound perspective on the challenges I face outside of the box. Doing 100 sit-ups in less than 2 minutes is challenging, and, even though it was difficult, I did it. I didn’t think I could at the time, but I did.  So when I face new challenges at work or in my personal life I think back to the situations in the box where I was faced with a challenge I didn’t think I could complete, but did, and that gives me the determination to take those challenges head on.

5. What are the advantages of CrossFit style training compared to your previous workout styles?

The fact that you’re working out with other people is a great motivator. When I lifted weights no one held me accountable if I missed a workout or slacked off. Being a part of the CrossFit Julia community we hold each other accountable to push ourselves as hard as possible and be better than yesterday. Trust me, when you’re writing WOD times on the board and you’re at the bottom of the list, there’s no better motivation to come out with maximum effort the next time.

6. What advice can you give to others?

Give it a try. CrossFit is great for all types of people. If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise, CrossFit only takes 60 minutes. If you have trouble motivating, CrossFit motivates you like no other form of exercise. It’s the reason you don’t each that cheeseburger with onion rings (you’ll feel sluggish in the WOD), drink water throughout the day (so you’re properly hydrated), and get yourself to the box even if you’re tired (you know your friends will be there even if you’re not).