Tell us something about your life outside of CrossFit (career, family, hobbies, etc).
I live in Holland with my wife, Shari, and 2 boys; Anderson (9) and Maxwell (7). Shari and I met as undergrads at Drexel University. My parents are originally from Portugal and it is a place we travel to frequently. As for work… I have a hard time focusing on one thing; I manage a rehab business with my father, we work mostly on abandoned properties in Philly through a HUD program, I have a young wine importing business, we also manage a few rental properties and I am a part time super hero to my kids. I love being a dad! As a family we love the beach and traveling together, most recently to Punta Cana.
My favorite book or movie:
I love movies that get your brain all twisted in knots; Inception, Interstellar… And for laughs anything with Adam Sandler.
My favorite local restaurant:
When we have a nice day and nothing to do, we go to Lambertville Station, it’s become a ritual of sorts. We park in New Hope, walk across the bridge and get a table outside at Lambertville Station. It’s a great place to people watch and damn the Bloody Mary’s are on point! Then we walk to La Chocolate Box only a few blocks away, an amazing little boutique candy shop. Eventually we make our way back to our car, always a magical day.
Tell us something that we don’t know or would be surprised to learn about you:
In a past life I was 50 lbs heavier than I am now and I wasn’t a power lifter or in the WWE. I wasn’t doing any training of any kind, so it was all bad weight. I had always been chubby growing up, leaning out a bit in high school as I got taller, then going off the rails at the end and after college. When I see pictures of myself then, I don’t even recognize that dude! I’m ashamed that I got to that point but it serves as inspiration for me now, and taught me some hard lessons.
In a way I am glad I went through that because now nutrition and fitness have become priorities in my life and I am able to teach those things to my kids.
How I was introduced to CrossFit:
For about 1 year before I joined, I started watching videos on Youtube. I had been getting really good results with weight training but was getting bored and the Olympic lifts seemed like a fun next step. Then when I saw the intense complexes people where doing in Crossfit, I thought, wow, I want to do that! Took me a while to send that frst email though.
My fitness routine before CrossFit:
Most recently a few years of weight training with progressive overload. Not a lot of cardio (which I am paying for now) and an unfortunate neglect of squatting and deadlifting (which I am also paying for now).
My thoughts after my first CrossFit workout:
I remember being on the ground panting like a dog, looking at Matt and he said to me, “The workouts usually aren’t this hard!” I thought, this guy is full of sh#@! But I looked around the room at the other athletes and just wanted to do what they were doing and knew it would take a lot of work & time! Matt is really good about reminding me how much progress I have made since that day. Anyway, I couldn’t wait for the next class; I was hooked from the first day.
My proudest CrossFit accomplishment is:
During one of my trial workouts, rope climbs were in the workout. As a kid I had never been able to do a single one; not in grade school, middle school or high school. A couple of the members showed me the technique and off I went, up the rope for the first time. It wasn’t easy, and I didn’t do the full number in the workout, but when I got home the first thing I said to my wife was, “I climbed a rope today!” I got a nasty rope burn on my shin from coming down, but I will cherish that scar forever.
My favorite WOD is:
I love the wods that are sprints with forced rest in between. Watching people in the room start and finish at different times is so cool. Once the times stagger it’s like watching the inside of a clock, all the pieces rotating and bouncing around, except with barbells.
My Favorite Lift is:
Cleans of any kind.
My next goal is:
Double unders, I’m knocking on your door!!! Also, I’m trying to focus on breathing properly and pacing. I’d like to get through a workout without getting to the “panic breathing” mode.
How has CrossFit affected your life outside of the gym?
I just feel like a badass! When you continually push yourself beyond your limits, your limits keep expanding. My body feels functional and strong. I hate the mindset some of my friends have that “we’re not in our 20’s anymore.” I feel better than I have ever felt at any age, and I don’t plan on plateauing any time soon. I want to challenge my kids at every sport we play for at least 10 more years.
What I love most about CrossFit Newtown:
I come in, phone goes in the bag and for about an hour I feel like I am in a bubble. It’s an escape for me, and I always feel great when I leave; mentally and physically. The coaches are thoughtful and super knowledgeable and the members are all rock stars themselves. I can’t count how many times another member has helped me push through something I had been stuck on by relaying their own experiences. I feel inspired every day by the people at CFN.
Can I just also say it feels damn good to finally complete a movement that months ago was seemingly impossible. You watch people doing double unders or pistols or muscle ups and you practice, listen to tips, get a little stronger a little more coordinated and BAM! One day it comes together and you’re doing it! It’s a great feeling and a lesson that carries over to everything else in life.
What advice I would give to someone just joining CrossFit Newtown:
You may feel intimidated and maybe discouraged by the level of performance you see around you. Choose to be inspired instead and push to reach that level. It will take time, there is so much to learn but in a few months you will be shocked how many skills you have collected. Also, ask questions, and make sure you listen to the answers. The coaches and members want to see you get better and they are more than willing to share their knowledge with you.
Do you have any diet/nutritional advice?
Eat real food; there is a lot of stuff out there that is barely fit for human consumption. Also, if you struggle with weight, use a calorie/macro tracker like My Fitness Pal & a food scale, at least for a little while. Most people have no idea what 1 serving of something looks like, I sure didn’t.