Nate Thorell

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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?  

Prior to starting CrossFit I was running, hiking and swimming some, but it was hard see improvement.  I heard from a co-worker about CrossFit, and having never lifted weights before thought it sounded like something worth trying out.  I wanted to ensure I learned to do everything correctly, so my first month of CrossFit was personal training sessions with Shawn.

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

For me, one of the biggest challenges with CrossFit is knowing my limits.  When I see others RXing a workout, not doing the same is a mental struggle at times.  Physically I had to overcome a hand/wrist injury which was the result of going beyond my limits.  I learned that if you know what you are capable of, and don’t try to go too far beyond that, then you can still get a great workout in and continue to make noticeable improvements without the risk of setbacks due to an injury.

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’ve seen a number of successes since starting CrossFit.  A great example is my half marathon time.  Prior to starting at CFJ, I trained and ran my 2nd half and set a new PR.  Jump ahead 1 year and I did the exact same half marathon, however I didn’t do the standard long/slow distance running to train for it.  I mostly just did CrossFit.  I beat my previous years’ time by over 5 minutes.

It’s funny to say this about working out, but I actually have more energy before/during/after workouts than I ever did in my pre-CrossFit life.  I have more strength, balance, speed, flexibility and mobility as well.

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

I primarily wanted to use CrossFit as a way to stay in shape for my various outdoor hobbies of backpacking, skiing and mountaineering.  I used to hike a lot around the Flatirons to train for bigger trips.  Since I found CrossFit I mostly use it as my means of training now.  This past year I was fortunate to go on expeditions to Alaska, Rainier and the Olympics.  On each one I was noticeably stronger and better trained without the need to put in so many miles hiking the same local trails repeatedly.  Next month I’m planning to go on another expedition, this time to Mexico to climb a couple volcanoes.  I know that my CrossFit training will be a huge help in allowing me to stay fit and to be prepared for any physical challenges that I have out there.

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

Motivation.  In the beginning I was very hesitant about the group workout session concept.  I’m used to working out alone (swimming, running, P90X, etc) however, I’ve found that to be one of the greatest aspects of CrossFit.  I push myself further and show up more consistently that I ever could have on my own.

It’s also an amazing full-body workout compared to what I used to do.  Swimming is great if you want to be a swimmer.  Running is great if you just want to be a runner.  But if you want to be able to tackle anything physical that might happen in real life, I’ve found that this is the type of workout to do.

6. What advice can you give to others?

If you haven’t tried CrossFit, try it.  If you have, but aren’t sure if it really works, stick with it and have a way to measure the results.  The benchmark WODs are a great example.  A year ago my “Helen” time was around 13 minutes.  This year I did it in 9 minutes.  Also, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.  If you only continue to do your strengths, you will be good at those things.  But I’ve found that by sticking with CrossFit, you can see improvements in both the strengths and the weaknesses.