Tell us something about your life outside of CrossFit (career, family, hobbies, etc).
I consider myself a seasoned athlete. I am married with 4 children (2 girls, 2 boys). I have worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 28 years and counting. I have had roles in finance and marketing but currently work in business development looking to find and bring in the next wave of oncology drugs to cure cancers. For fun I enjoy playing golf, travelling, cooking, watching sports of all kinds and catching up with friends both old and new. Our favorite place to vacation is the Outerbanks – Nags Head.
My favorite book or movie:
Books: Strengthfinder 2.0 from Gallup – this book is a validated assessment tool by Gallop (the survey people) it helps find your individual strengths so you can leverage them in your personal and professional life. If you haven’t picked this one up and taken the online assessment it is well worth the money (I wish I had been exposed to this book in my 20s). For fun I like to read books on history, biographies and historical fiction. Movies: Let It Ride, Better Off Dead, Caddyshack, Animal House, Stripes, Jaws, Godfather I and II, James Bond movies.
My favorite local restaurant:
I tend to gravitate towards Lambertville NJ: Bell’s Tavern – good simple pasta dishes, Deanna’s – Italian and good cocktails, Hamilton’s Grill Room for special occasions. I am always open to suggestions!
Tell us something that we don’t know or would be surprised to learn about you:
My middle name is Michael (my mother liked the song “Michael Row your Boat Ashore” which came out around the time I was born – look it up it is catchy). I went to high school in Belgium at the International School of Brussels where I played American football, ran track and I was the co-founder of the rugby team which still plays today. I continued to play rugby through college and with men’s clubs for 17 years. Then after a little time off I ran 13 full marathons in 10 years. My undergraduate degree is in civil engineering. I designed roadways, bridges, railroads and parks for 5 years before I earned my MBA and switched over to the pharmaceutical business.
How I was introduced to CrossFit:
I credit Dr. Tom. He and I would cross paths once a year starting about 10 years ago at my club’s annual 3-day member/guest golf outing. He and his partner would show up looking very fit while my partner and I were annually descending into flab-o-lanch territory. Tom explained it was CrossFit that helped him stay in good shape. So after 6 years of the same story I gave Dr. Tom my number and told him if he doesn’t hear from me in 3 weeks to join CFN then start sending me harassing text messages until I showed up. August is now my 4-year anniversary at CFN!
My fitness routine before CrossFit:
Mostly running about 20 miles a week (carryover from my marathon training days) and lifting weights at my company’s gym. I never felt like I was making much progress. I was just maintaining everything I had accumulated with my various athletic endeavors over the years.
My thoughts after my first CrossFit workout:
I liked the variety and mixing in weight training. It wasn’t until one of the longer WODs that I realized the high level of pain that was possible in a relatively short amount of time. It used to take me 3 hours of marathon running to get to the same pain threshold as some of the longer CrossFit workouts.
My proudest CrossFit accomplishment is:
(1) showing up for 4 years (2) continually making progress in many of the lifts (3) really listening to the coaches and scaling as appropriate especially for my surgically repaired should that limits my mobility/flexibility. (4) improving my functional cardiovascular fitness. Hopefully this list will continue to grow!
My favorite WOD is:
I don’t really have a favorite… maybe Fight Gone Bad. But I have been known to avoid the WODs with burpees. I think the coaches are on to me…
My Favorite Lift is:
Old school – Bench Press although I never really did squats in my life. I enjoy the Back Squat now. Who knew?
My next goal is:
Master Rx movements I currently scale.
How has CrossFit affected your life outside of the gym?
Before joining CFN I was noticing a decline in my general strength – especially core as well as cardio. Everyday movements such as moving a case of wine up the stairs would wear me out. CFN has completely reversed that. I have more energy and strength that allows me to do a lot more than I was doing before without getting tired. I am also a CrossFit evangelist. People run from me at cocktail parties when the fitness conversation is brought up.
What I love most about CrossFit Newtown:
There are soooo many things I could say. I will pick two. Friends I have made in the classes (6am, 9:30am, 11am, 4:30pm, 5:30pm – I don’t get to 6:30pm very often) and during the Open (Swole Patrol). The coaches have made my experience beyond enjoyable. They push, correct, demonstrate, cajole, encourage, advise, teach (you get the idea) and provide a safe environment to achieve my goals. THANK YOU COACHES!!!
What advice I would give to someone just joining CrossFit Newtown:
In my opinion the members, coaches and the collective community is the core strength of CFN. Take advantage of your membership and leverage all of those elements. Get to know as many members as you can or feel comfortable doing. The coaches are there to help – reach out to them. Enjoy the full benefits of the community: like the member support you get during and after workouts, the many different perspectives from the diverse membership, fun activities besides CrossFit… picnics, hikes, happy hours, and more. Also attend classes at different times. Each class in the different timeslots has a core group with a unique, cool vibe.
Do you have any diet/nutritional advice?
You do not want D/N advice from me. Come to me if you want to discuss wine (I make my own), beer (I used to make my own) or grilling techniques (I love to cook and perfect recipes on the grill). However, I will share my favorite fitness advice from Dr. Tom “if you are over age 40 you shouldn’t sprint above 70% unless you are running for your life”.