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Athlete of the Month

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Darren is consistent, dedicated, and eager to learn. He’s extremely coachable and is constantly looking for ways to improve, whether that’s doing accessory work after class or dialing back the weight so he can better his technique. It’s always a pleasure to have him in class and see his smiling face. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood, even at 5am!

— Coach Jenna

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit?
I’m 48 and have been training in some form or another since I was about 12 years. It used to be basic strength movements for football, eventually to body-building style workouts, then to more HIIT training as I got older. One day I was looking for an exercise class on my Mindbody app. Luckily I found one available at EVF Columbus Circle. Little did I know my world was about to get rocked. All I knew of working out and training was about to be changed for the rest of my life.

Do you remember your first workout? How was it?
I sure do. I took an EVF 360 class with Guthrie at Columbus Circle in August 2016. It had my heart pounding in a way that almost gave me this wild flush of endorphins, similar to a runners high. This is a high I’ve experienced training for and running 25 marathons since 2006. Once you get this high, you always try to recapture it, but it hard to find again. You are basically a health junky. After this 360 class, I finally found my euphoric high again. I enjoyed it so much I asked to stay for the CrossFit class. I was hooked from there.

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
Originally it was to stay in shape and be part of a workout program where all I had to do was follow the plan. Things have changed now, because CrossFit is the closet thing you can get to being on a team in a gym setting. Growing up, I played football and wrestled in high school and played intramural flag football in college. The team spirit and camaraderie is like having another family.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
I’ve become more fit over the past 2 years. I’ve also realized in my profession as a chiropractor, many of my patients live the CrossFit lifestyle. Becoming a CrossFitter is like learning a new language. When you go on vacation to any part of the world, you can walk in to CrossFit box and you instantly are part of an extended family speaking the same lingo.

What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
I love how everyone — no matter the age or fitness level — always pulls for you. We are all in it together. Even though many of us have a competitive nature, I never feel a cutthroat mentality from anyone. All I feel is how we get stronger and better together. We rally behind one another with kind words of encouragement and fist bumps in class, a fist bump on SugarWOD, and even if we see each other on the street, in the train, and so on.

Favorite lift and WOD?
My favorite lift is the squat snatch. It’s so technique and form oriented. There’s a lot of detail that takes a long time to perfect. Recently I hit a huge overhead squat PR that is going to help my snatch down the line. So many movements we do tie into the snatch. My favorite WOD is 100% Murph. My big passion for this one is thinking about how many people across the country are taking on this WOD on the same day. Even non CrossFitters are doing it, and they can see what our special world is about.

What about your least favorite?
Burpees. I sometimes wear a shirt that says “Buck Furpees.”

What motivates you?
To improve my many weaknesses. I’ve yet to master double unders, muscle-ups (ring or bar), and handstand walks.

Do you have any advice for new members?
Take On-Ramp. Give yourself time to progress. Anything that is worth it in life takes time. Take things slow and steady, and don’t rush through the motions. Be a good listener and allow yourself to be coachable. Even Michael Jordan had coaches and mentors that he had to answer to.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
Continue to improve my level of fitness, and maybe make some noise in the 50-54 category when I hit that milestone in 2020. I’ve got a lot of work to do.