When did you first start CrossFitting?:
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
When did you first start training at CF 818?:
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
Tell us about your sports and fitness background:
My fitness background from the day I could wield a bat and glove through the end of high school consisted of baseball practice and weight/cardio training. My athletic build has always tended toward the lean side due to a quick metabolism. This has afforded me the ability to be quick and agile but has made it challenging increase my strength through putting on weight.
After hanging up my spikes I continued to work out – generally, I would follow the strength programs used by my friends who were playing collegiate baseball. I did the workouts on my own while completely ramped up on NO-Xplode. In retrospect I realize that I had no clue how to do a proper squat and I spent way too much time with the curl bar.
My fitness took a turn for the worse while working on a 6-month campaign two summers ago. The work was fun, challenging and fulfilling, but was a drag on my health – we ate the same rotation of pizza, fast food, etc. every day. The campaign was successful and resulted in my current job. This was the first time I was employed full time and, around the same time, I also began an accelerated online bachelor’s degree program. This combination did not offer much free time and I found myself sitting at work or sitting at home studying more than I would like to admit. The sedentary lifestyle that I adopted did not lend itself to staying fit and I became quite lazy.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD...what was it, and how did it feel?
Initially, I heard about CrossFit through Zareh about two years ago. When I learned that he planned on opening a box in Glendale I decided to give it a shot because I was not satisfied with my current level of fitness.
On May 2nd, 2011 I sent Z a text asking him if I could swing by and check things out and he told me to come in at 6:30 PM. The workout that day was Cindy and I was not adequately prepared, mentally or physically, for the 20 minute metcon that lay ahead. I completed 8 rounds and change – I used 2 red bands for the pull-ups, push-ups were done from my knees after the third round and squats were performed at a snail’s pace amidst strained breathing.
It took me something like thirty minutes to get my breathing and heart rate under control after the workout. There is a certain feeling that I (and I imagine everyone else) get after a challenging, strenuous workout – it is somewhat painful, slightly euphoric and wholly satisfying, a feeling as though you have fought and conquered something. I would liken that workout to being hit by a bus. It was an eye opener. I was happy with the way I felt and I wanted more.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)?:
When I began CrossFitting I was not out of shape per se, rather I was not fully engaged in staying fit in order to look good while maintaining a high level of health. Shortly after beginning my shoulders (especially the traps and lats) became more defined. This gave my upper body something a “V” shape which has continued to develop over the last 6 months. My abs have tightened up a bit, but there is still a lot of work to do in that region. My legs, however, have experienced the biggest muscular transformation on my body. I have seen a significant increase in muscle definition and have noticed that there are a few more “gears” than I previously had that can I shift into when running or sprinting. Overall, I have found that my work capacity has increased a great deal and I look forward to further improvements as I become more fit.
Outside of the aesthetic/strength realm I have noticed improvements in my overall health due, in large part, to the amount of education offered at CrossFit 818. The Paleo Challenge has helped me understand why certain foods are good or bad. Over the course of the challenge I have gained six pounds and now weigh in pretty consistently at 161 pounds. What I find most encouraging about this is that I have done this with healthy food rather than junk. In addition to this I do not experience lulls my energy level like I used to after meals. Dieting, like working out, is geared toward refining one’s health – I feel pretty good about the steps I have taken to reign in some of my negative eating habits but acknowledge that there is always room to do better.
What sort of change in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected?
I have come to learn, through CrossFit, that I can achieve any goal and conquer any obstacle. There are some days that I will look at the whiteboard and think to myself, “Now how am I going to get through this?” The workload may seem insurmountable on its face, but through strategy and a sustained, measured effort you can complete the task. This mentality knows no boundaries and I have been able to apply it to any number of situations in the last six months.
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CF 818 moments:
A few of my favorite moments at Crossfit 818 were:
Fight Gone Bad 6 - This event in Culver City was a very, very cool experience. I had a blast competing alongside my CrossFit peers while raising money of some of the best causes out there. Also, I felt pretty good putting up a score of 302 because it showed that all the FGB variations we did on Fridays paid off.
21-15-9 Deadlifts (225#), 400m run – I’m pretty sure this workout was programmed in June, so I was still pretty new to CrossFit at that point. I chose to go Rx knowing that the deadlifts were probably too heavy. I trudged through the workout finishing dead last. There were two takeaways from that workout, the first being that I accomplished something I did not think I could do, the second was the fact that the 9 other CrossFitters (who didn’t really know me) and Z were there to offer support and encouragement during that final set of 9 deadlifts and the 400m run. It was at that moment that I realized this place was much more than a gym – it was, and is, a community of people who are committed to helping me get through the tough spots to achieve my goals. This experience was a big turning point because it reminded me of playing baseball and how important it is to pick up your teammates. All in all, it was pretty humbling and pretty life-changing.
Any advice for people just getting started?
I would expand on the cliché “stick with it” phrase by advising them to acknowledge that the goals they set will only be realized through time and dedication. CrossFit, though challenging, is no magic bullet and results are correlated with effort. In six months I have seen some pretty incredible changes in my body and mentality but they are merely waypoints on a much larger journey. Everyone has their own set of goals but only they can achieve them through their own efforts. Also, the folks at CrossFit 818 are down to earth and very helpful. I, along with many others, are happy to lend a helping hand or an open ear if someone has questions or gets stuck in a rut.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I have been a baseball fan ever since I was a kid and though I do not play competitively anymore I get my fix on a weekly basis in a slow-pitch softball league. I enjoy reading just about anything ranging from the classics to autobiographies of current world and business leaders. I am captivated by foreign culture and the languages/cuisines that they offer, so I spend some of my free time exploring the nooks and crannies of LA looking for strange food and stranger tongues. By extension, I travel when I can and would like to do a lot more of it in the future. I try to go hiking as often as possible. I find the mountains to be a peaceful respite from the frenetic pace of our world and I like wandering around the (now torched) Angeles National Forest – I would go everyday if I could. I am fascinated by airports, airplanes (namely the Boeing 777) and flying. I have a thirst for knowledge and like understanding why things work – Anthony Bourdain said it best: “If I have one virtue it’s curiosity.”
A: 3RM Front Squat
B: Max Sit-ups 2 minutes
C: Death By Thruster (95/65)
Posted by Zareh.