We are excited to announce Jason Pino as Athlete Of the Month! When Jason started here at Salus, we knew he had a fire inside of him. His persistence to finish each WOD at 110% (and with integrity) is just of his strengths…besides his handstand pushups. Most athletes at the box don’t just walk in the door with the level of strength and skill you see them with today, it takes time and determination to make them the athlete they have become.
Through this monthly recognition, we are showcasing those dedicated members for their hard work and accomplishments and show the community that anyone can be a CrossFitter. All you have to do is make the choice to give it a try, set goals, work hard and challenge yourself. You may be surprised at what you will accomplish! It’s not always that this person is able to RX every workout or lift the most weight. What makes an Athlete of the Month is that every time they come to the box, they try their hardest, give the workout their all, and then some. They go above and beyond by spending extra time to work on specific skills, are welcoming of others and encourage other athletes to do their best, too. They really embody what CrossFit is all about and work to make CrossFit Salus the community and family that it is. Each month we will choose a different Athlete and post some fun facts about them to help you get to know them better.
When and why did you start CrossFit?
I was getting annoyed at the daily routine at my regular gym and I wanted new challenges. I dabbled with CrossFit without formal training for a while but I didn’t take the leap to train in an actual box until a pretty rough patch a year ago when I made the leap to do something for myself. I actually hounded Coach Gino for days after my free class because I was instantly hooked and wanted to get started. I finished on-ramp at 9:30 a.m. and was back at 12:30 p.m. that same day for my first regular class.
How does CrossFit impact your performance?
Everything has changed. I played college football and right now I am the best combination of strength, speed and body composition I’ve ever been.
The lifts that would have been challenging for me years ago are now my strengths.
Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?
Double Unders. Not being able to do them took a toll on my psyche for a long time when I couldn’t do more than four or five in a row but now I consistently string together 50 and have done as many as 90 unbroken after a year of coaching and extra work from the coaches at CrossFit Salus.
How has your body physically changed?
I’m much healthier. I’m much more mobile and my positioning in squats and overhead lifts has improved greatly. I used to have chronic lower back pain from tight hamstrings but ever since I started training smarter it has gone away. I look good, I feel good and perform at a much higher level than when I walked through the door on day one.
How does CrossFit benefit you in other ways?
It has re-ignited my competitive spirit.
Being a competitive CrossFit athlete is a humbling experience but it has been an awesome ride so far.
I love the sense of community; I’ve made some awesome, like-minded friends. I feel at home in our gym and community. Whenever I put on Salus gear at a competition or even just wear it out in public, I feel like I’m wearing a football jersey again and representing my team.
How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?
They get the idea from Facebook and Instagram since it’s all I really talk about but they usually have the misconception that it’s not for everyone, which it is. Everything can be scaled to your ability level and anyone can get the desired stimulus out of the workout.
You just have to keep an open mind and get away from the traditional gym routine.
What keeps you motivated to continue?
The guys I workout with in competitors classes and my coaches. We mess with each other and don’t pull any punches when one of us slacks but it brings out the best in all of us and we hold each other accountable. We’re a right knit family. We’re competitive and we want everyone to do well but everyone checks that whiteboard with one thing in mind. We workout and get together outside of the box often, they’ve become good friends and great motivators. The coaches care about you, they take care of us in so many ways other than providing us with a gym. They do an excellent job fostering a sense of community and are excellent business/fitness professionals.
Favorite WOD, skill and/or lift?
I bet everyone thinks I’ll put Diane or handstand push ups here…my most memorable WODs and my favorite moves are the ones I stink at. That’s what keeps me coming back. That’s what teaches me the most. I don’t value my success as much as my failures, even if they upset me initially. I learn from them and always come back better, they often guide my training. My favorite WOD was appropriately named “Jason” I failed for almost forty minutes throughout my last set of muscle ups. The workout took me an hour and forty minutes, I was the only one left in the gym but I finished. To some it may look like I lost that day, but in my own mind I won because I battled through it and finished.
That’s what CrossFit is about at its core, you vs. the workout.
What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit?
Have fun. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be something that makes you feel good. Not everyone that does CrossFit needs to be a competitor, that’s just what keeps me coming back. There are plenty of people here and each of us has our own reasons. The beauty of CrossFit is you can attack it in so many different ways depending on your goal. If your goal is to compete, they have the experience, classes and the resources to help you. If your goal is to function better in life’s daily grind, there’s no better cure than CrossFit. If your goal is to get a better looking body composition, that’s the best side effect of CrossFit. Listen to your coaches…they know better than you and want what’s best for you. Share your issues or concerns but don’t let them become road blocks for you or the professionals coaching you.
Check your ego at the door and just come in ready to give it your best, you won’t be disappointed.
What is your next goal to accomplish…or goat to kill?
My short-term goal right now is to podium at a local individual competition. Right now I’m registered for the November qualifiers for the East Coast Championships. My long-term goal is to make it to Regionals before my 30th birthday, whether it’s through team or individual. I look forward to the journey, it’s been rewarding so far.