Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Occupation: Information Technology Risk and Security Manager
When did you first start CrossFitting?
I started doing community workouts in March 2011 at CrossFit 919 and then started as a member in July 2011.
What is your favorite movement? Favorite workout?
Favorite movements are deadlifts and back squats. I like workouts like Christine and Filthy Fifty that incorporate multiple movements. I also really like Helen for a short workout.
What is your least favorite movement? Least favorite workout?
My least favorite movement is clusters; least favorite workout is/was 14.5 from the CrossFit Games Open.
Tell us about your sports & fitness background:
I played a lot of sports growing up and through high school – mostly focused on baseball and football, playing basketball and roller hockey in the winter months. My dad drove a lot of my desire and supported my brother and I to get to whatever level we thought we could get to. We spent a lot of time training and doing skill drills without really any off days during the seasons.
I decided in the end to focus on my college degree and not go into sports so I could focus on my career. This was the beginning of the most sedentary years of my life. After college, I traveled 100% for two years and then started to realize I had let myself slip deciding to get myself back into shape.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Do you remember your first WOD? How did it go?
My buddy wouldn’t shut up about CrossFit. I wanted to smack him every time he would begin to talk about it. But, I was training by myself in my corporate gym and hit a plateau for a solid 3 months. I was between trying CrossFit and getting a personal trainer. I wanted to have the competitive aspect which is when my buddy talked me into trying it.
My first workout was not a WOD, but a community workout. It was 4 rounds of:
1 min KB swings (I think I was at 35#/40#)
1 min box jumps (24″)
1 min sit ups
1 min burpees
1 min rest
It did not go well. I enjoyed it but had not really done workouts like that since high school football 2-a-days. Being shamed by people who finished the class before and were doing this as a cool down was enough to keep me going. Not necessarily to compete with them per se, but to get better at something I was not good at.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CrossFit? (before/after)
My body weight has not changed. However, my % of body fat is down almost 12% and when I go back and look at the first 10-20 pages of my journal I’ve almost doubled every lift and movement I can do. There are differences in how I look, feel, and even in my posture.
I have also taken a more varied approach to my training, using more cardio training with my wife and bike rides to supplement the lifting and skills I do at CFD. I know I’ll never be the best at any one thing, but if I can do everything well I’m ahead of 90% of the people out there.
What is your favorite CrossFit/CFD moment?
There’s a lot of moments that stick out in my mind – but I would have to say my favorite moments are the first 5-10 minutes of any of the 6:15/7:15am classes I am in. It’s just a good group of people and the Coaches really do a fantastic job introducing us to what the day is going to look like.
Best CFD moment was obviously a movement/skill moment. It was my first (and only) muscle up… since then the movement continues to elude me but I really haven’t put the time into getting better at it so I can accept the fact I won’t get better at them until I do that. It’s my Everest/Unicorn at the moment…
What is your advice for people just getting started or thinking about starting CrossFit?
Try it and keep an open mind. If you go in with a preconception, the prophecy will fulfill itself. Also, make sure you find a location that you feel comfortable with and a coach that you trust. These are the most important things when trying out any coached sport; the coach can ruin the experience or elevate it depending on what works best for you. Definitely check out the Community Workout. As you begin, just be smart and focus on form and listen to your body – when it says stop… it’s probably best to listen until you get comfortable with the movements and workouts and know how far you can push.
What are your hobbies, interests, and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Probably the thing I’m most passionate about in terms of my free time is cooking. We make it a part of our lives and it is a way for me to escape at the end of a day while also having great food 3x per day. When you are doing the work yourself take out all the guessing as to what is going into it and whether or not you would eat it which typically happens in restaurants and processed food. We don’t follow the Paleo diet but try to stick to whole foods and locally sourced when possible.
We also like to try the locally owned and operated restaurants and bars in the area when not cooking for ourselves. It’s kind of our date-night thing and finding the new places that are great are really what we like to do with our groups of friends. We usually only do this 1 time per week on average though.
Outside of CrossFit from a fitness perspective my wife and I are pretty active. I like to think we drive each other and force each other out of our comfort zones. We play co-ed softball, run with the Bull City Running group on the American Tobacco Trail, go hiking with the dog, and ride our road bikes around Durham versus driving on the weekends. She got me into endurance sports and coached me as I trained for my 2 half marathons and I still enjoy them as a change of pace to my daily and weekly CrossFit routines. I also don’t golf as much as I would like to, but I get out when I can.
I’m still very much into video games and enjoy playing with my friends from Pittsburgh, college, and those who are no longer near me locally. We try to play a few times a week and it’s a very social activity for me.