“Killing cant” since day 1!
What is your fitness background?
I grew up playing hockey and did very little else. Ice time was how I stayed fit. I played on three or four different teams at a time and was playing Junior at the age of 19. Back then, I remember thinking people that lifted weights were ridiculous. All that grunting and vanity time in the mirror? Not for me.
Then one night out, I had the bright idea of trying to break up a fight in a club. The nine or ten or twelve massive bouncers, not quite understanding my peacekeeping gesture, did two things in their steroid-fueled rage:
One, they ensured I’d never play hockey again. I did try to return to the game I loved, but grew tired of having someone else remove my skates at game’s end because the low back injury they gave me wouldn’t allow me to unlace.
And two, they made me commit to never being in a situation where giant meatheads, who all wear the same cologne, could beat me unconscious in a cloud of Drakkar Noir.
So like every other proper guido from Staten Island looking to toughen up, I hit the gym. And on my first lift, somewhere between “I’m gonna throw this bar through the roof” and that same 135 lb. bar crashing down on my chest, I instantly fell in love with the challenge of getting bigger and stronger. For 21 years, I over trained, overindulged in some extracurricular supplements and turned into one of the bad-form-having gym rats slogging through workouts and have the rotator cuff surgery scars to prove it.
But, like anything that runs its course, so did weight training. Granted I was strong, but I was far from fit.
That’s right about the time I first heard about Crossfit.
What are your fitness goals?
Like all things, I just want to be better today than I was yesterday. Actually, the only real goal I’ve ever had was to be named Crossfit 305’s Athlete of the Month. Now that it’s happened, I don’t really know what to do. Zumba looks interesting.
Describe your experience at 305.
When I first saw all of you doing WODs at 305, it scared the shit out of me. I was intimidated by what was going on, but was equally fascinated by the way you were moving your bodies, the energy of the place. However, instead of running towards it, I ran away.
There were the naysayers. The “you’ll get hurt” guys. The “it’s a cult” fuckfaces. (Mind you, these were not physical specimens, this lethargic and tired bunch of bad-sex-having haters.)
Shit, even the Crossfit sites admit it’s not for everyone. I believed them.
But, I was also way out of shape and feeling each and every one of my 40 years. I always looked forward to the day I’d be showered in that “old man strength” I heard so much about growing up, but I never experienced mine.
I can’t really remember what it was exactly that finally got me in the door – a combination of things. A friend at work that changed his life with Crossfit, the previously mentioned gym lethargy, etc. Either way, I’m thankful I jumped in.
So there I was during the onramp class, PVC pipe in hand, getting the hard lesson of how piss poor my flexibility was and realizing there are two types of athletes: those with strict pull ups and those without. I was the latter. But, Chad was Chad. Just amazing. Patient. Not only knowledgeable, but also able to pass that knowledge along. He taught me the ropes, and rope burn. And the one word that silenced the “you can’t do this” voice echoing in my head:
Green band, red band, blue. Sometimes I’d combine them in a scaling rainbow. Low boxes. Scaled reps. Scaled run distances. Scaled WODs, many of them. Being pulled out of WODs because I wasn’t flexible enough. That fucking “woman’s bar” Pete would politely ask me to grab when my movements with the 45 lb. bar would cause him stomach distress, and me potential injury.
Sure I scaled, but I also never broke my promise. To run towards the things I cannot do in an attempt change them. Because trying things you can’t do is the only way to get to can.
I promised myself to show up and improve. To ask lots of questions. To pay close attention and learn from those stronger and faster than me. And, in the process, started doing the same for those that weren’t.
Slowly and surely, I began to taste the fruits of my labor. A few Whole 30 challenges. A thousand annoying questions so masterfully answered by Pete. Months and months of Mobility WOD videos. Lots of stretching, hip joint flossing, foam rolling, some shoulder popping and grinding and my flexibility improved. Therefore, the movements improved as well.
After 16 months of sweat, I wouldn’t quite call what I’m doing “forging elite fitness” (you’ve seen my dubs), but I am an example of what Crossfit and lots of hard work and dedication can do.
But, I didn’t go at it alone. I’ve been inspired by every single person in the gym, no matter their ability. I’m inspired by anyone who shows up, and just does the work. Whether they keep their feet moving and complete their first 500 meter run without stopping, or they’re snatching weight that makes my shoulders hurt by just watching.
I’m inspired by the friendships I’ve made and feel great knowing that each time we hit that mat, each time that clock counts down, we’re in it together. And I’m truly thankful to be in such damn fine company.