September Athlete of the Month, Mike!

  1. What was life like before you became a member?

Over the past 13 years or so I’ve been someone who has prioritized my fitness and health.  I spent many years prior to that not taking the best care of myself and making poor decisions that placed me in some tough spots.  By God’s grace He saved me and transformed my life.  Without Him none of it would be possible. During these 13 years I’ve become very drawn to discipline and learning to love the struggle if that makes sense.  If something gets harder or more difficult then I like the challenge of meeting the situation.  I’ve known what it’s like to hide from problems, avoid reality, struggle with self-confidence, and have doubt.  These things rear their ugly heads still today.  It’s about putting them in their place. Those things kept me stuck for quite some time and I’m very grateful to be on the other side in many ways.  I met my beautiful wife in 2011, we were married in 2014 and have two children who are absolute gifts.  My family means everything to me.  They are my motivation.  I try hard to take care of myself because I want to be there for them.

2. At the time you enrolled, were you already exercising? What was your previous background in fitness?

    When I enrolled, I was previously exercising for some time.  I’ve gone to a gym since 2012.  I actually was attending a CrossFit gym throughout 2019 up until Covid when the place I was going to shut down.  At the same time our second child was born so it was difficult to get to afternoon classes, so I joined a local 24-hour gym that attended early in the morning right up until joining here.  I grew up playing sports, mainly baseball.  In 2013 I started getting into running.  I liked the mental challenge of it.  I completed two half marathons and the full Steamtown Marathon in 2017.  It was brutal but that experience really taught me how much disciplining yourself in such a way can be so rewarding.

    3. What originally prompted you to seek us out?

      I missed the experience of attending CrossFit since I stopped going in 2020. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to get back to it.  Just going to the gym everyday wasn’t as rewarding and I did not seem to be progressing in strength areas.  I was consistent with it however I would find myself looking for a routine to follow and then find that routine monotonous.  My wife was the one that actually steered me to Keystone CrossFit.  She is in a group with Allison and in the course of speaking with her, we found out about Keystone CrossFit.  Allison then said that there’s a 5:30am class and that’s all I needed to hear! There’s no other CrossFit in our area that offers this early of a class and it works perfect for my family life and work.   

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

        My goal is to just be stronger and be functional in my fitness.  I want to be healthy. I want to be able to play with my kids as they continue to get older and how I take care of myself will allow me to do that.  I also want to give them a run for their money for a period of time too! And of course my one goal coming into this is to get a muscle up. I will get one of them!  

        5. What have you liked best about working with us?

          By far the coaching and the community.  The coaches here are committed and serious about you improving your capabilities.  They care.  They strike a good balance between knowing when to push while also maintaining your safety.  They don’t let you quit either.  Early on in returning here my lower back would seize up a bit and I had to take some time off.  I was thinking that I was maybe too old or not able to do this type of exercise anymore.  Tim did not have any of that.  He worked with me on corrective measures and got me set straight.  I’m really grateful for that support. 

          The people I get to work out with every day throughout the week are absolutely amazing.  There’s a camaraderie that can only be developed through a shared experience of getting through these brutal workouts together.  It’s an awesome thing. 

          I also like how there is an emphasis on strength training and skill development.  The structure of our classes are very well thought out and executed.  And I like the timeframe of the Metcons. The programming we follow has a progression to it where you can see how each day builds upon the previous and fits into the overall month.  It’s very effective and definitely produces results.  

          6. What are you most proud of achieving since you started?  

            I’m really happy with my Grace time.  That was the first time I ever did that workout and I felt pretty good throughout it.  I’ve become better at my strict pull ups where I’m able to string together close to 10 in a row and that’s something I never thought I would be able to do. I’ve gotten better on my deadlifts too. Also, I did my first full rope climb about a week ago that I was pretty thrilled about.  

            7. With everything that you have accomplished, has your view of yourself changed?  

            I’m capable of doing the things that I would convince myself to not even try.  I often would tell myself that  I’m not able to do something but now I’m gaining in my confidence.

            8. What would you say to anyone else who might be dealing with any similar struggles you did?

            Learn to embrace the struggle. Find contentment in it.  No good reward has ever come without the struggle.  Life can be hard at times and things will become difficult, but it takes strength and courage to try to be better than you were yesterday.  That’s why I love our workouts.  They’re a perfect example of it.  Some of them you know going in how terrible they’re going to be but the result and feeling you get from making it through to the other side always ends up being worth it.  They create in you a resilience that you can then carry into many other parts of your life.  

            9. Do you have any special moments/memories?

            We did a workout back in July. It was one of the CrossFit tests from 2009 I believe. It was three rounds of wall balls and snatches.  I remember going in thinking that this might be something I can complete pretty well.  Halfway through the first round everything fell apart and the wheels came completely off.  I barely got to the third round before the time cap.  I was pretty dejected by it and a couple others in the class who struggled seemed a bit frustrated too. At the end of the workout Tim talked about how the emphasis isn’t on whether you can Rx the weight or complete reps in the time frame.  It’s about the quality of your effort and sticking to the journey.  It really put things into perspective and placed the focus where it needed to be.  It was pretty cool.

            I also loved doing Murph earlier this year with everyone from the gym.  That was a really good time. I like how you get to see people from the other classes.  

            10. What is your favorite movement/lift?

            Power cleans have been my favorite lately.  Deadlifts and thrusters have been good too. I know this will sound crazy but I’ve also liked wall walks too recently.  I need to get my shoulders stronger! I want to get those handstand walks at some point. And I love to hate overhead squats and double unders.  For the life of me I don’t think I’ll ever get those double unders but I’ll keep trying! 

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