The Member Spotlight showcases those who demonstrate the characteristics necessary for success, both in and out of the gym. Chris has been a regular at the noon class and sometimes 5:30am, and even though a recent hamstring injury (not CrossFit-related), he’s managed to consistently show up and continues to make progress month after month. We asked him some questions about his journey at the gym so far:
- What led you to CrossFit? Describe your experience.
I have been running since I was 12 years old and eventually progressed to running marathons. I was looking for a new challenge and found obstacle course racing. The races were much more interesting, but also much more challenging than road races, since I had zero upper body strength. I ran my first Spartan race a few years ago and quickly realized that I had to train differently. I went looking for a gym near work and found Infinite Strength CrossFit about 5 minutes away. Initially I was rather intimidated, having never done any weight lifting and could barely eek out one pull-up, but everyone was so welcoming and helpful that I jumped in “feet first.” The community support was great, and the daily challenge and competition pushed me to work as hard as my body and mind would allow. I fell in love with CrossFit. I am now a CrossFit athlete who also happens to run, well, sort of.
- What have been the most significant changes you’ve noticed? These could be lifestyle, body composition, or performance.
First, is the significant increase in upper body strength. I very quickly went from barely being able to do one pull-up to having good results in workouts with kipping and chest-to-bar pull-ups. Still working on muscle-ups. Second, and most importantly, is an increase in mental toughness. Much of this is a result of our great coaches and my noontime (“Nooners”) team pushing and encouraging me. It is great to have lots of “rabbits” to chase.
- What’s your favorite (or least favorite) exercise? If you could program a workout, what would it be?
To be quite honest with you, I dislike them all. Other than the running (and there is a backstory here) none of this comes naturally to me. I am about 145 pounds soaking wet and have arms, well, like a runner. Add a very competitive nature to this and you end up with someone who cannot help but to push as hard as he can on every exercise every day; thus, the dislike of each and every routine. There is no easy day.
- Tell us something we don’t know about you! Something not fitness related.
I am rather boring. My wife and I are Canadians. We have been married for 35 years and have two adult sons and two granddaughters. I am an in-house lawyer for a direct selling company that sells dietary supplements and food, so I actually know a bit about nutrition. I don’t always follow my own advice, especially if red wine is involved. I ran Boston and found that Heartbreak Hill is not much of a hill having run the trails in and around Phoenix. I love hiking, but get heckled by my family because I am not one for stopping and “smelling the roses.” My objective is to get to the top of the mountain as fast as humanly possible, which does not fit with their idea of fun.
- What’s next? Have you set any goals for the future?
My goal is to get back to full time running and CrossFit training. Last February about ¼ of a mile into a Spartan race I injured my hamstring. What I thought was just another pull turned out to be tearing the tendons partially from the bone. Like a real Spartan (aka Stupid Spartan) I finished the race. That was “interesting.” I was running with a team from work so I could not let them down. In spite of this, I have been able to be really positive about the situation. This is because of our coaches and the encouragement of the Nooners. The coaches have been great in tailoring workouts for me by changing equipment, weights and routines, allowing me to still get a good workout without reinjuring the leg. The orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors and physical therapists (excluding Moses and Jordan) give me that “are you an idiot?” look but lying on the couch and whining is just not an option.