Athlete of the Month: JF

We are excited to feature long-time member, JF, as our June Athlete of the Month! Read his story below and get inspired!

1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started CrossFit in December 2013. My exercise at the time was running three loops around my neighborhood three times a week, shortly after getting home from work. I wanted to do something more dynamic, but was stymied by a heavy schedule at work, and a long commute. We’d driven by Salus dozens of times over the course of 2013.

I checked out the website sometime in the early fall, was intrigued by Gino and Angie’s passion for health and fitness, and by the enthusiasm of the athlete’s testimonials.

So I procrastinated for a few months, and finally committed just before Christmas.

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

My performance has changed in every way. For those first few months, when checking out the WOD before class, there were many times I thought: “Not sure I’ll make it through this one” or “How am I gonna to do that?” or “I hope I don’t throw up today.”

After those first few tentative months and through today, it is more “This will be fun” or “This will be a challenge” or “This is going to really suck, but I know I’ll feel great afterwards.”

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

So many. Kipping pull-ups were a real challenge when I first started, now I enjoy them. Wall climbs. I love Turkish Get-Ups, even though it took me months to perform the proper sequencing.

And, of course, the dreaded double under.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

I am very lucky. While it’s very easy for me to fall out of shape, it is hard for me to really put on a lot of weight. That said, at the end of last summer, after a 15 month CrossFit hiatus on account of a very busy time at work, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. Since that time, and with a real commitment to 3-4x times a week at the box and a better diet, I once again easily fit into all my pre-hiatus clothes.

I am much leaner around the waist and can button my dress shirts without inducing lightheadedness.

I am generally more toned; definitely not a marble statue, but better proportioned than the skinny-but-puffy marshmallow of last summer.

5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

CrossFit has had an unequivocally positive effect on my diet and my energy throughout the day.

Pre-CrossFit, my diet was heavily skewed towards carbs and sugar. I was eating a lot of cereal and pasta, but very little protein. One large light and sweet Dunkin’ Donut coffee would start my day, and I couldn’t turn out the lights without something Entenmann’s. As a result, there were significant lulls during the day, and weight gain.

Today, breakfast is eggs and vegetables. Then salmon, chicken or lean beef for lunch, and usually something similar complimented by veggies for dinner. I substitute a piece of dark chocolate for Entenmann’s (most days).

I feel so much better on a day-to-day basis.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

I usually say CrossFit is similar to the most fun times of playing team sports in high school and college.

It promotes comparable feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction that accompanies physical exertion in the pursuit of personal improvement and well-being.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

Motivated: The camaraderie and collegiality of Salus; the coaches and the athletes, the friendships.

Salus has a strong culture of support and teamwork; people care about each other, and encourage the best of each other (even, and especially, when bustin’ on each other). More broadly: I love that CrossFit is an active supporter of the military, first-responders and law enforcement.

Personally: Feeling consistently better at (almost) 50 than I did from 30 thru 45 is strong incentive.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I have no particularly favorite individual WOD. I just enjoy the constant rotation between strength and movement, core stability and aerobic conditioning.

Team WODs are always a blast, no matter with whom you are paired.

But I especially like 7:30am on Saturdays with my Team Saturday pals, Ron Duce and Bill Gettings. As long as the weights are heavy (for Bill) and there are no Burpees (for Ron), we’ll be good.

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

Make a promise to yourself that you will give CrossFit three months.

It is different than any fitness program you’ve ever tried, and it will demand more of you than anything you’ve done for “exercise” as an adult. You’ll be sore across the full landscape of your body.

However, the community is so supportive, and the encouragement from coaches and peers to succeed at developing skills, strength and stamina to your own abilities with no judgments is exceptionally rewarding.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

A long term goal is have the flexibility, strength and balance to do pistols.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

The basics: Something I’ll call “The 77”:

  • 11 Rounds:
  • 7 pull ups
  • 7 sit ups
  • 7 push ups
  • 7 24 in. box jump overs

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

The most fun is a full-day summer hang on the beach with my wife and kids and a good book, followed by a casual sunset dinner with a few glasses of good red wine.

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Healthy: Salmon, brown rice and broccoli.

Splurge: The Margherita pizza from Bistro in Red Bank; a juicy piece of Peter Luger’s Canadian bacon; the aforementioned Entenmann’s.

14. If you could be a superstar who would you be and why?

The fourth Beastie Boy. “Licensed to Ill” was released when I was a senior in high school. I just finished “The Beastie Boys Book”, their autobiography. Those guys had fun.

15. Favorite motivational/Inspirational quote?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.”

Theodore Roosevelt

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

If all the practice swings with a PVC during warm ups hasn’t given it away…I love golf!