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Athlete of the Month: Jose

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Congrats to our Columbus Circle athlete of the month, Jose Santana (aka “Jr.”). Jr. is our third most tenured CC member — he took his first class on Oct. 6, 2014 — and one of the most well-known members of our community. He’s welcoming, works hard and is an integral part of our CC family.

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit?
I got involved with CrossFit in summer 2012 right after graduating college. At the time, I weighed 350 pounds and desperately needed a change in my life. My dad (same name as me, hence the “Jr.”) was CrossFitting at the time and even though I was in the worst shape of my life, I decided to try it out. In that first year, I lost approximately 100 pounds. Since then I’ve just kept up with it. I joined EVF when moved to NYC in 2014 … The rest is history.

Do you remember your first workout? How was it?
Yeah, my first workout involved squats, kettlebells, and running. I got completely lapped by my own father, a man 30 years my elder (quite embarrassing). It was one of those “near death” experiences. But hey, I stuck with it … I still hate running though.

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
Well, my first goal was simply to survive; I guess that’s an ongoing goal. I really just wanted to feel in control of my life, and I think fitness was a huge part of that. While particular PR goals have evolved, I really think my core goals have remained the same. I just want to be healthy, fit in decently in my clothes … and lift more than our resident front desk man, Colin Gray.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
To be honest I think I lost more than “grew,” at least physically. On a more serious note, CrossFit has definitely built up my confidence over the years. I think I’m in a much better place both physically and mentally now than I ever was before I started.

What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
The best part of CrossFit for me is definitely the community. The people you meet here not only motivate me but have become some of my closest friends. For me, CrossFit is more than just a fun way to work out — it’s about knowing you have a whole group supporting you and pushing you to be better.

Favorite lift and WOD?
Deadlift. For WOD, anything with heavy lifting, quick bursts, and NO running.

What about your least favorite?
Running. That and basically any WOD that involves: HSPU, pistols, muscle-ups, lunges, front-rack anything, cardio, gymnastics, (movement in general), etc.

What motivates you?
Beating our good friend Colin Gray … just in general.

Do you have any advice for new members?
Don’t be intimidated. I can promise you that practically everyone feels they are going to pass out after their first WOD. I can also promise you even the most seasoned CrossFitters are far from perfect.

Whatever reason you do CrossFit, there is a place for you here in the community. If you are already an athlete, this can be a really fun way just to stay in shape and maybe improve on other aspects of fitness. If you are like me and are starting CrossFit just because you want to get healthy, accept that this whole fitness process is a journey.

CrossFit may seem hardcore to some, but it really is just teaching your body to move in ways it already does, but better. Don’t be scared and reach out to people here. We have a really chill box and most people would love to help you with whatever your goals are, and who knows, may just become your next best friend.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
I really want to focus on tapping into my full potential this year. I have been good at what I do, but between work and life in general I often let excuses win. If I’ve learned anything in my time with CrossFit it’s this: “If it really matters to you, you will find a way, but if it doesn’t, you will find an excuse.” My goal this year is to be a no-excuse kind of guy. Still working on it so don’t be afraid to remind me if you see me.