This week's spotlight athlete is Tom! Tom is a night class attendee! Read on to learn more about Tom's inspiring story!
When/Why did you first start doing CrossFit?
I started at CrossFit Beyond in June of 2013. Several friends in Westchester had been doing CrossFit since 2009, and posted regularly about their WODs, Spartan race scores, and new found six packs. I've been intrigued by CrossFit for years, but was too intimidated to try it, mistakenly thinking that I needed to get into shape before even attempting it. Since moving to Albany two years ago, I put on more weight (despite starting a lifting regimen at the local Y) and felt I was on target to develop diabetes if I didn't make a serious change. CrossFit has felt like a life saver for me.
What fitness activities were you doing before?
In high school I was on the Cross Country team, and did several flavors of Karate and Aikido into my early twenties. Since then, my main exercise was walking about a mile to work each day, peppered with Tae Bo when I got frustrated with my weight. For the three years before starting CrossFit, I wasn't exercising at all.
What results have you seen since you joined CrossFit Beyond?
I am much healthier -- I have dropped over 50 pounds and have maintained my goal weight for nearly a year; plus no longer have cardiometabolic syndrome (a precursor to diabetes). I am also stronger, and more flexible (at least vis-a-vis squats). Ironically, CrossFit is also the only thing that reliably eliminates my chronic back pain - at least for the duration of the WOD.
What do you like most about CrossFit Beyond?
I love the coaching quality, camaraderie, and peer support. Without them, I wouldn't have come back my first week as I repeatedly failed to squat snatch a 15 pound bar or complete more than a couple burpees per minute. The coaches let me scale weights, but wouldn't let me cut reps or give up; and I've learned to internalize that attitude. CrossFit is also a great stress reliever -- no matter how tough the day, I can work out in the evening and put those worries aside for an hour to focus entirely on the WOD. Lastly, there is always another goal to strive for, and the variety to keep the workouts fresh and interesting.
What is your favorite CF exercise?
I don't think I have a favorite. There are some things that are surprisingly easy since I've always pictured myself as having a weak core (like planks, skin-the-cat, pull-overs, GHD sit ups, and strict pull-ups); but I think my favorites are the challenging ones where I feel I've got the right technique and am getting better.
Your least favorite?
Thrusters; anything where I have to be fast under the bar (like squat cleans or snatches), and movements that require proper use of hamstrings and hip flexors. I'm still striving for the needed speed, agility, flexibility, and proper form. Oh, and kipping -- my shoulders are resisting getting that motion right.
What CF accomplishment are you currently most proud of?
Bar muscle ups off the low bar (but I jump into it a bit); and knowing that I've finally cleaned a bar correctly a few times (using proper leg and hip technique).
What CF goal are you working towards?
Getting properly inverted (instead of walking my feet up the wall) so that I can attempt proper HSPU.