Athlete of the Month: Gerry Massell

We are HONORED to feature Gerry as our November Athlete of the Month! We’re so excited he embraced (as have many of you) the philosophy and continue to progress at the box. SO EXCITING! Now with the Paleo challenge, it has be a whole new story! So that’s why we know he was perfect to highlight for this month. Give Gerry a chalky high five next time you see him at the box. Let’s keep it up! These stories are all so inspirational and encouraging – shout it from the rooftops!

1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started CrossFit about 6 months ago. I became interested after hearing about it from friends, both old and new, who “drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid”. Finally, my daughters started doing CrossFit Teens class and began looking fit, so my wife and I joined CrossFit Salus.

2. How has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?

I have been shocked with my performance since I started at CrossFit Salus. I had been working out at a local gym and had plateaued which negatively impacted my motivation and workouts.
The CrossFit “team” mentality tends to push you to places you never thought you could go. I confidently can say that at least once a month, I set a new PR (personal record).

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

Yes, I never thought about Olympic weightlifting, but I now do it about 3 times per week.

Double under jumping rope (having the rope go under your feet twice) was something I never thought I could do, and now can do them, not consecutively, but consistently.

When I started at CrossFit Salus I couldn’t do one pull-ups without assistance, last week I did 17.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started CrossFit, since you did the paleo challenge?

Two months ago, when the gym started the Paleo challenge is when I was able to really see results. In an 8 week period, I lost over 12 pounds, and my daughters actually commented on muscle definition. It was a remarkable two months.

5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

After I started CrossFit and the Paleo Challenge, I began sleeping better and my snoring stopped (which helped my wife’s sleeping). I’m not sure if it was the paleo, or the exhaustion from the WOD (workout of the day).

Possibly the most important way CrossFit changed my life my life has changes is family life, it’s a lot of little things, playing with the kids, helping around the house. I’m actually looking forward to bringing all the Christmas decorations down from the attic, a task I used to dread. I never realized how little I actually played with my kids, as opposed to watching them play.

My blood pressure has begun to retreat so much that my doctor is considering lowering my high blood pressure medicine.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

I tell them it’s the hardest 1 hour that you will love.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

CrossFit becomes very addictive, I try to go 3 times per week, when I miss one, I actually feel guilty.

8. Favorite WOD or lift?

The one I did yesterday, because I finished it. Every time I see a WOD, I think it will kill me, thus far they haven’t, they’ve only made me stronger.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit Salus?

Just walk through the door, it’s always the hardest part of CrossFit. It appears very intimidating, but you are coached properly, you learn the proper technique and things progress normally.

The first week, learning the basic moves during on-ramp, is difficult, not from a physical standpoint, but from a mental standpoint. You relearn everything from pull ups, Olympic weight lifting to running. The coaches watch and correct your technique. This is where we start learning the language of CrossFit: Box (not a gym) WOD , PR, mobility, wall balls, etc.

After the first week of learning the fundamentals, you get to join the regular CrossFit classes, you see people of all ages with one thing in common: they are wonderful people in the best shape of their lives. They are all very supportive.

I am one of the older, more out of shape members, I am usually the slowest at completing the WOD, I have thought of stopping many times, but there is always someone who has already finished, who will run the last 200 meters with me, someone who will count out loud as I finish my last pull ups, yelling encouragement for me to finish.

No matter how long it takes, whenever I finish, I am greeted with “great job”, “well done”, high fives and fist bumps. I think the atmosphere at CrossFit Salus is what keeps me coming back for more.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Multiple double unders in a row.

11. Favorite Paleo meal?

Anything with Bacon. I love a diet that says I can have bacon.