Member Of The Month: March 2018
How long have you been doing CrossFit?
Up until I had actually joined Climate, I had been maintaining their website and doing some of their photography and marketing work, so I was seeing CrossFit quite a bit. My brother also owns a CF gym back in Carroll, IA so I have been around the environment for a few years. I officially pulled on the knee sleeves and drank the Kool-Aid (aka KillCliff) in December 2016 and have been hooked ever since.
Were you scared to start CrossFit? If so, what motivated you to start?
Nervous about starting? Absolutely! Having previous workout experience since high school definitely helped me in getting started and alleviated some fear, but I was a little overwhelmed in the beginning. I wasn’t used to a group setting for workouts. I also didn’t have a lot of experience with Olympic style lifts and gymnastics movements so being a “newbie” was definitely intimidating. What I quickly realized is that this is a group of like-minded people who are looking to improve themselves, not compete to see who can outdo each other.
I do have a startup story. My very first official class I decided to show up to was a 6:30 on a Wednesday night. I just happened to be the only one who showed up for that class time that night, and the workout was “Karen” (150 wall balls for time). As Coach Tony said as he started the clock, “the only thing worse than doing Karen, is doing Karen by yourself.” Welcome to CrossFit.
Did you have an athletic background before starting CrossFit?
I did swimming, flag football, biking, skateboarding, and snowboarding as a younger kid, but I was overweight throughout most of it. In fact, a cousin of mine decided my nickname was "chub chub". If I ever run into him again.... LOL. In middle school I didn’t really do any organized sports, then my sophomore year I started playing football again and doing track. Most people don't know I was a lineman in high school. I was around 190 lbs when I started lifting weights and by my senior year year was around 215 lbs. I fell in love with the weight room and I’ve pretty much been in the gym since then. I still enjoy jumping on the skateboard though!
What has been your biggest accomplishment since beginning CrossFit?
Geez I can’t just pick one! Doing Murph was a big one. Getting a bar muscle-up way sooner than I thought I would was huge. It’s one of those intimidating movements that I thought would take forever. Less than 4 months later I did one! Accomplishing that allowed me to compete in my first ever competition RXd which had muscle-ups in it.
But I think the biggest is just overall fitness improvement and feeling great. I thought I had a somewhat decent level of fitness when I started but I feel way better now than I did a year ago. There’s so much of a stigma that once you hit 40 everything goes downhill. That is such BS. #ResetThePreset
What has been the most challenging thing for you?
Mobility. Hands down. Previous injuries had hindered me for the longest time. I herniated 2 discs in my back doing squats in high school. Cortizone injections seemed to fix everything for a few years. Playing football in college my freshman year, I went in for a hit and my left leg went numb. I ended up having 2 disc herniation surgeries after that. I was was told by doctors I never should have, nor will I be able to, do squats again. My hip mobility has suffered from that so it’s been a huge focus for me. I’m happy to say I am squatting as much now as I did in high-school and I don’t shy away from any movements. I also broke my neck 8 years ago and had a C3-C4 fusion. Through rehab and just being smart overall in movements, I have no limitations. I want to be proof that no matter your age or previous limitations you can still make progress in physical abilities.
What time do you usually take classes?
I jump into all class times depending on when I have my kids, but 11:30 is by far my favorite time to go. I love how it breaks up the day and refreshes my mind mid-day. There are days where I am in a creative funk at work and the mental break can often free up my mind and I’ll go back to work with a new idea.
How has CrossFit benefited you outside of the gym physically and/or mentally?
Like I said in the previous question, that mid-day workout just helps break up the day, especially when I’m in a creative funk. It also just feels good to move. Unfortunately most of us work desk jobs which is so unhealthy, so CF gives me a renewed focus, gets my mind and body moving and keeps the mental fatigue lower.
I love to mountain bike so the strength along with the cardio side of CrossFit has definitely helped. Especially since the mountain biking environment is ever changing with quick burst of energy mixed with long grinding climbs.
The greatest benefit for me though is being able to enjoy life activities. I have three daughters that are all in various activities so I want to be able to practice with them whenever needed. The last thing I ever want is for them to ask me to do something and I am not physically capable. 2 of my kids also love to go to a gymnastics gym so when they are there the staff lets me work on my handstand walks. That not only goes with helping them practice for a sport, but taking them some place like an amusement park and being able be on my feet all day long with no issue.
Give us three words that describe you.
Giving, Outgoing, Loving.
What’s something we may not know about you?
I’m not sure why this is such a difficult one to answer. I’m pretty open. Um, I used be a singer and played drums in a rock band.
What is your favorite activity outside of the gym?
Well, I’m kind of a gym rat! I’m very close with my family so visiting them is always a good time. Whenever we get together we will do family WODs at my brothers gym. My kids activities of course. Mountain biking for sure.
What is your favorite healthy meal?
Grilled chicken (w Plowboys Fin and Feather Seasoning) or ribeye steak with a side of grilled red onions, asparagus, mushrooms, red peppers and garlic, and a sweet potato.
What is your favorite “cheat” meal
Such a toss up between a good burger or hot wings!
If you could master one skill in the gym that you currently don't have, what would it be?
Currently it’s ring muscle-ups. They are frustrating the hell out of me.
What's your favorite movement?
Gotta go with bar muscle ups. It’s a movement everyone strives for and once you have them they are so satisfying.
What's your least favorite movement?
I have such a love/hate relationship with snatch. And burpees and wall balls will always suck.
**UPDATE** 03/09/17 CrossFit Open 18.2. First and second ring MU accomplished!
What would you tell someone who is on the fence about trying CrossFit?
One of the things I love about Climate is that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do to get a great workout, which can often times be half the battle in a gym and cause major frustration. Every time you step in the gym, there is a workout ready for you to tackle. The programming is done, and your work is done in an hour or less.
Let go of any worry. Everything we do in the gym can be adjusted to fit your skill level, no matter where you are at. Some people need to tone down movements or weights that are prescribed. Some people need to push harder than what is prescribed. The beauty of CrossFit is everything can be accommodated to fit your needs and how you feel that day.
There is also an amazing community of coaches and members ready to support you when you need it and celebrate you when you hit your goals. You are never tackling anything alone. I’ve made so many new friends in this community. It’s absolutely amazing.