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Athlete of the Month: Justin

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Justin is motivated, consistent, and dedicated. He’s always putting in extra work. He stays after class to mobilize or work on a skill and has improved exponentially since he started at EVF. His positive attitude is always a welcome presence in class, and he’s always open to learning new ways to improve. I look forward to seeing him in class every day!

— Coach Jenna

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit?
I’ve been doing CrossFit since the beginning of August 2018. Initially I saw the Fittest on Earth documentary with a friend and thought to myself “No way could I do that.” After some more research and falling off a traditional gym schedule for the thousandth time, I decided to google CrossFit Upper East Side. I tested EVF with a 360 class where I talked with Coach Matt and Lola about CrossFit and they assured me it truly is for everyone.

Do you remember your first workout? How was it?
After completing On-Ramp, my first CrossFit class consisted of a 4×3 squat clean and the WOD was:

24-minute EMOM
Minute 1: Squat cleans (just the bar)
Minute 2: Strict C2B pull ups (scaled to banded pull ups)
Minute 3: 40 double unders (scaled to 80 single unders)

I remember after the workout being absolutely exhausted, unsure if I would be able to make the 5-block walk home. A very fun, humbling, and tiring experience.

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
My goal when I first started were to learn how to lift correctly. I don’t have a weightlifting background so I was always worried about getting hurt in a gym by myself. Having a knowledgeable coaching staff to help has had a dramatic change in my feelings toward the gym.

My goals have since changed to get stronger and Rx more workouts when I can. More specifically I am currently working on double unders, volume gymnastics (toes to bar and chest to bar) and working toward a muscle up.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
The largest area of growth has been my mindset. CrossFit teaches you new movements and lifts all the time. This was the first time in a while I learned something completely new from scratch. I would start with just the bar, and then slowly add weight on. CrossFit has reminded me that to become good at anything you must start at the beginning.

I’ve seen a major change in my body, with a lot more muscle growth and definition. I’ve seen a change in the way I see my overall health. I now feel less guilty about cheat days, but don’t want my hard work to go to waste so I choose healthier options most of the time.

What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
There is so much to enjoy about CrossFit, but two things stand out. The first is being pushed to a limit I wasn’t sure I could get to. This was especially evident in the most recent CrossFit Open. Having another member/coach judge your scores and help motivate you was a great experience.

The second is the community that surrounds the gym. This community has kept me accountable, pushed me past my comfort zone and helped me through some tough times even if they don’t know it. What better way to make friends then by dying in a workout together and talking about how sore you are for the next 2 days. I’ve met some great people at EVF CrossFit, and I am proud to call them my friends.

Favorite lift and WOD?
My favorite lift is the snatch because of all the intricate movements involved in completing it perfectly. It was also one of the first lifts I focused on at EVF.

My favorite WOD is currently Annie as I slowly learn double unders. I also enjoyed doing Gwen and not being able to put the bar down to rest. That was a challenge I had never run into.

What about your least favorite?
My least favorite is probably Karen … I hate wall balls.

What motivates you?
The process of getting better. Once you learn a skill in CrossFit, everything changes. Before learning double unders, I dreaded them in workouts. Now when I see them I know they will be challenging — but I will get through them and it helps me get better. And once you learn a skill or break through with a weight, you move onto something else and start at square one. It’s really a humbling and rewarding process that you can take with you in other aspects of life.

Do you have any advice for new members?
Ask questions! I think most of the coaches at the UES will tell you that I had a lot of difficulty and even more questions about how to perform specifics lifts (still do). I am grateful for all the coaches at the gym for giving me confidence and helping me improve every day.

The second piece of advice is believing you can do CrossFit. So many people are intimidated by the controlled chaos of workouts, but I am here to assure you that CrossFit truly is for everyone. Scaling workouts is nothing to be ashamed about as long as you’re putting in your best effort. The coaching staff and members treat everyone the same and watching the people around you get better is such a fulfilling experience.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
In the coming year, I hope to be doing more workouts RX and take part in a competition. I am currently working on handstand walk (or trying not to fall). And my stretch goal is getting a bar muscle up.