1. What was your life like prior to your CrossFit training and why did you want to start working with a coach?
Prior to CrossFit I was trying to live in the delusion that I was still in decent shape. After a very successful college swimming career which resulted in 9 NCAA trophies, I was as burnt out as someone could possibly be. I had been training 4-4.5 hours a day doing some of the most repetitive training imaginable. My break turned into 3 years at a desk doing homework, playing videos games and then working. I put on 14lbs, but with muscle loss that came out to a staggering 30lbs of fat.
My wake up call came when a good friend of mine invited me to climb my first 14er (Quandary), he and his running buddies got up at 5am to run it and were back before 8am. Round two was with me, they knew I would be slow and so did I, but I figured I would make it without too much trouble. Along comes 11:30am and I am still not at the top, I had to stop multiple times due to altitude sickness and my legs were at the point of failure with nearly 700ft vertical ascent to go. I simply could not make it and large storm clouds were rolling in. I accepted defeat and turned around promising myself I would be back the next season to conquer a 14er.
2. What have been your greatest challenges (physically, mentally, emotionally) since you began your CrossFit Training?
My greatest challenge after starting CrossFit came right after the Evolution course, I had only been doing regular classes for a few weeks when I slipped and fell on the ice. I feel directly backward on to both my hands, my palms split due to the pressure and shortly after my wrists turned black and blue. I was unable to put any pressure on them or perform any workouts for nearly a month. This would normally be enough to completely derail most beginners, but I had a great conversation with Shawn prior to this accident. He had provided me his contact info, made me add him on Facebook and offered to keep me accountable. He kept his word and I was back in the gym for round two almost two months after I initially walked in the door.
Mentally I never had any issues, the community and friendships I have made always keep me coming back for more. I actually hate missing Crossfit because it is my escape.
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?
I find it hard to describe how I feel, but I can sum it up into one word, WONDERFUL. I want to lay down some numbers that should speak for themselves. Prior to starting CrossFit I weighed 179lbs and was ~24% body fat. Currently I weigh 187lbs and am 9% body fat. That means I have lost a total of 25lbs of fat and gained 34lbs of muscle.
I have also improved my diet substantially in the past 6 months, this was one of the hardest challenges. Currently I eat Brandon Terry’s green smoothies for breakfast every day and overall I would say my diet has been 90% paleo for the past month. In that month alone I have seen large changes, and judging by comments, others have too.
As for that 14er… I went back and conquered it with ease along with many others. With friends from CFJ I have also gone bouldering, rode my bike 100Km and completed the Reebok Spartan Race. All things that I wouldn’t have achieved on my own.
4. How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit transferred over into any other areas of your life?
Prior to finding the community at CFJ, my social life was honestly pretty pathetic. I had some really close friends I tried seeing each week but I was lonely and longing for more. It took me a while to come out of my shell and really start talking to people at the gym, but once I started I never stopped. Now my whole social life revolves around this community and I couldn’t be happier.
5. What are the advantages of CrossFit style training compared to your previous workout styles?
As mentioned earlier I used to be a swimmer and I like numbers, so lets have some fun. I began swimming doubles at the age of 13 which resulted in 11 workouts a week for 10 years. Assuming a relatively low average of 5,000 yards a practice, this would result in swimming the length of a 25 yard pool nearly 1.2 million times or the equivalent of 16,875 miles. Now you can understand why I was burnt out.
CrossFit on the other hand is unique every day and has far more movements than there are strokes in swimming. I get to choose how I want to complete each workout, am I going to go heavy and get less rounds or go light and turn this into a cardio monster? The variety has yet to get old and I doubt it ever will. Oh, did I mention you can’t really talk while swimming? A line on the bottom of the pool and that song you have stuck in your head became your best friend.
I especially like the Oly Lifting classes offered by Andy and Zach.
6. What advice can you give to others?
The best piece of advice I have comes from my own personal experience. Find someone to be your workout partner, they just need to come to the gym the same time as you. Keep each other accountable and motivate each other to show up. Push each other out of your comfort zones and compete with each other for the largest improvements. Too sore to wod? Convince them to come in and just roll out and do something about it, chances are that once they show up they will manage to complete that days WOD as well and feel great about it. This has happened to me more times than I can count.
7. Any other details you would like to share about your experience would be great!
When I first joined CFJ my only goal was to get in shape and undo years of sitting at a desk. As I became a part of the community I started looking for ways to help it grow and improve. I ended up deciding to take on the challenge of building a new website for CFJ. It took nearly 3 months to learn everything required and get the first version live. After many iterations and small improvements, I have come up with the site you are currently on. All this time I was learning and wanting to apply my knowledge. I started making websites for friends and eventually that spread to some rather large companies. Most of this within the last few months. Eventually I started getting worried about the IRS and decided to officially start up my own company namedOverhaulics. This has begun yet another chapter in my life. I am honestly unsure where I would be without the CFJ community.