TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
I moved to Houston about six years ago for graduate school at the University of St. Thomas and am now finishing a doctorate in philosophy. Most of my family is in Michigan, but I spent my childhood in California. I am an aficionado of coffee and cocktails and love cooking (predominantly paleo, but I do make the occasional pasta dish). Before coming to Live Oak, I had never belonged to a gym and had never even touched a barbell or kettlebell.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING CROSSFIT AND WHAT TIMES DO YOU ATTEND? WHAT MADE YOU START?
I started CrossFit in January, 2018. My good friends Randy and Tamara Smith have been members of CrossFit Live Oak for several years and had invited me to join them but, having never enjoyed exercise, I did not. When stress levels with work and school kept rising, though, I realized that I needed a healthy outlet, so I started to re-consider my old “I am just not a gym person” excuse. They helped dispel some hang ups that I had and pointed out that the goal is to become healthier and stronger. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “stronger is good. Maybe this WOULDN’T be the worst thing ever.” In this rather pessimistic but nonetheless determined mindset, I walked into the box. While I could barely walk after the first class, I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it and was relieved that no one else seemed to care that I was slower and using light weights. Since then, I have come 4-5 times a week, usually at 5:30pm or 6:30pm and 9:00am on Saturdays. I am thrilled with the progress I have made and excited to continue… for the first time in my life, I look forward to working out!
WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? (one short-term goal, one long-term goal)
Short-Term Goal: Handstand Hold.
Long-term Goal: Pull-Up.
WHAT IMPACT HAS CROSSFIT AND LIVE OAK HAD ON YOUR LIFE IN AND OUT OF THE GYM? WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR OVERALL HEALTH AND FITNESS LEVEL SINCE STARTING?
First, I spend most days reading and writing about medieval philosophical physics, which is mentally demanding but physically sedentary. Working out helps me balance this and has been a huge help in dealing with the stress of graduate school. Weightlifting, I have found, also sharpens my mental focus.
Second, I have had type 1 diabetes for 20 years. While I managed to achieve good control, this required high levels of insulin. Since starting CrossFit, my daily insulin totals have dropped by over 50% and I have even better overall control.
Third, since starting CrossFit I have more energy, sleep better, and crave healthy food rather than processed junk. On a recent trip to Greece I noticed a marked difference from previous travel—on the go all day, but not tired! Climb down an ancient cistern? Hike up a hill? No problem! It was awesome.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CROSSFIT WORKOUT/MOVEMENTS?
I like most weightlifting moves but my favorites are deadlifts, back squats, and push presses. I actually enjoy rowing, too.
WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE CROSSFIT WORKOUT/MOVEMENTS?
Running and jump rope. I have a love/hate relationship with burpees: I love the first one or two and hate the rest.
WHAT IS ONE FUN THING OR TALENT ABOUT YOU THAT WE MAY NOT KNOW YET?
I’m a polyglot! Currently learning my eighth language.
LASTLY… WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO THOSE JUST STARTING OUT IN CROSSFIT?
Compete against yourself, listen to your body (both “ok, that’s enough!” and “come on, you can do more!”), and ask questions when you’re confused. CrossFit in theory can be intimidating, but in practice it is accessible and has an incredible community of support, offering a challenge for every level of athletic ability.
Many thanks to Brian, the coaching staff, and the athletes of CrossFit Live Oak for their patience AND pushing; y’all have made every hour here a good hour.