November Athlete of the Month, Phil Jewell

1. What was life like before you became a member? I was depressed over the recent deaths of my best friend and mother in Nov 2019 and December 2019 respectively.  Not feeling really good about myself because I was overweight and not in good shape at all!! Just walking up a flight of stairs sadly caused me to breathe hard.  I’m not ashamed to say I couldn’t do one jump rope either!! My job is very stressful as well as I am a Regional Sales Manager with eight direct reports and responsible for $20 million in Sales Revenue every year.

2. At the time you enrolled, were you already exercising? What was your previous background in fitness? I used to race motorcycles and I did run and weight lifted regularly, but nowhere near the intensity that we do at KCF!! Surprisingly, I was also a pretty good distance runner in high school. I ran cross country and 800m, 1600m, and two mile run in track. I also made the mistake of running a 2400m steeplechase once.  It was very hard to do hurdles and run long distances.  I was a whopping 150 lbs in high school lol.  Raising a family and my two children caused my exercise routine to fade away like most folks. The weight gain that ensued obviously wasn’t something I enjoyed. 

I had quite a few injuries during my motorcycle racing days: torn ligaments in my right ankle and two surgeries to repair torn tricep tendons in left arm (completely out of elbow) surgery to reattach tricep tendons in left arm.  I also am an avid snowmobiler logging thousands of miles all over the Tug Hill region of NYS and the Adirondack Park in upstate NY. Having better fitness and strength helps to hold on to a 600 lb snowmobile as you ride over bumps and moguls on trails for hundreds of miles in a given day.

3. What originally prompted you to seek us out?  I saw an ad on Facebook for a new fitness program.  I sent a message and Tim replied. We had a zoom meeting and Tim briefly explained CrossFit and how KCF works. I started a few days later with at home Zoom workouts due to COVID. The very first workout I did together with Tim, Jess and other KCF athletes was “the Murph” in May 2020.  Tim opened the gym a few weeks later and I then started my CrossFit journey at KCF. I have been going every day at 4:00/5:00 ever since.

4. What was your goal when you originally signed up? 

To lose weight.  My goal is to get to 220 lbs.  I am not there yet but I have lost over 50 lbs due to KCF and the coach’s work with me. My future goals are to : 1) complete a strict pull up.  2) complete double unders successfully.  3) bar muscle up/HSPU.  4) Improving my cardio fitness so I can perform better for longer duration CrossFit WODS.  5)  deadlift 400 lbs. (I’m at 385 now) and 5) get better at Overhead Squats.

5. What have you liked best about working with us?The community of people at KCF, Tim and the coaches. I can’t say enough good things about the people I have met at KCF. Everybody has been great, very supportive and have no egos at all!!  I am friends with many of the folks and grateful to be a part of the wonderful community at KCF. Tim is by far the best coach I have ever had. It is great to have him as a coach. His knowledge of CrossFit, fitness and nutrition is impressive.  All of the coaches are great!! I also love the structure of CrossFit at KCF. No planning of workouts required. Just show up, listen and watch the coaches demonstrate the movements or lifts. Then workout till you drop!!

6. What are you most proud of achieving since you started? I would have to say finishing the Murph in 2020 as my first workout and then to do it again this past May. I completed the first mile run without stopping and improved my overall time significantly. That was a bright spot for me.  Also, during the Murph this year I wore a butterfly pendant with some of my late sister’s ashes in it as a tribute to her.  She died in December 2012 from stage 4 breast cancer and was my only sibling.

7. With everything that you have accomplished, has your view of yourself changed?  Yes, it has changed significantly.  I feel much better about myself and have lost 50lbs. I have also met a lot of very good people I am proud to call my friends.  I am not done though and my goals are to lose another 50 lbs so I can get better at CrossFit and the movements that today I can’t do.  I am very committed to KCF and CrossFit and fully intend to get even better especially with my shoulder mobility.

8. What would you say to anyone else who might be dealing with any similar struggles you did? I would say to call/email or meet Tim and let him devise a program to help you achieve your goals through CrossFit.  The people you meet at KCF will embrace you no matter what you are dealing with and will help you become better at CrossFit and life.  You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Take control of your health and fitness and work out with one of the best CrossFit coaches in NEPA with the best community of supportive people.

9. Do you have any special moments/memories? Competing in the Open and our recent Total Max Out  competition at the box.  I set new PR’s in 4 out of the 5 events. Another special moment was getting a postcard from Tim and Jess after completing my first “Murph” in May 2020.  That meant a lot to me because KCF actually cares about the fitness progress of their customers.

10. What is your favorite movement/lift? Clean and jerk because it is so complex. Getting it right is essential to be successful at heavier weights. 

I am very grateful to be a part of the KCF community and have thoroughly enjoyed my time working out with Coaches Tim, Jess and Nikki.  I also have enjoyed interacting with all of the athletes at KCF who have become my friends. I am excited to continue my fitness journey at KCF and to improve my CrossFit skills.

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