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Member Spotlight: Nick A.

How long have you been a member of CrossFit Northland?

I think it has been for 7 years now, crazy it’s been that long. 

What brought you into CFN?

I tried a bunch of things running, work out DVDs, gym memberships but nothing gave me the results I was looking for.  I heard about Crossfit – it was described to me as a no BS approach to fitness, the workouts were hard, always different, and generally short.  They didn’t say it was easy or results would come overnight – it seemed honest to me and not some fitness gimmick.  A friend told me about CFN and that it was in my neighborhood, I had no idea there was a Crossfit gym near by.  I walked in, spoke to a coach/owner turns out it was Brian and he’s my neighbor!  The thing I had been looking for all this time was right under my nose!  Then, it turns our the next owner, David, lived in our exact same neighborhood, too. 

Tell us about your fitness/health background?

I played high school football and baseball in a small town.  I was good enough to make the team where we barely had enough players to even field a team – so I was starter by default.  Our football strength and conditioning coach, coach Ferri, was particularly good at creating these fun and challenging workouts.  In high school we had this super small, crummy gym where all the equipment was either decades old or made by one of the students in shop class.  No treadmills or ellipticals, none of that “GloboGym” equipment.  Coach really cared about form and pushing us out of our comfort zone.  That taught me you don’t need some flashy gym to get fit.  I believe my background is what initially made Crossfit sound so appealing to me. 

What are some changes you’ve noticed in yourself during your time here at CFN? (Physically, mentally, capabilities, daily life, etc.)

Physically – Shoulders and trapezius muscles.  I try on old jackets and blazers and they are snug in that area. I will notice someone at the supermarket or wherever and if they have good traps, I always check to see if they have crossfit shoes on.  
Mentally – was an unexpected change.  The mental challenges I have overcome are some of my proudest achievements at CFN.  The thought that I would have to put my self out there, preform a workout I knew I wouldn’t do well in, with a judge next to me and in front of a crowd of my peers would have scared the crap out of me before joining CFN.  Now I do it every year with the Open. If I work hard, I will get a ton of love and support and it is such an amazing high.  This mental break through has spilled over into my personal and professional life.  

What kinds of things can you do now, that you were not able to do when you first started CrossFit? (inside or outside of the gym)

Inside: Gymnastics! Muscle ups and handstand walks.  Before Crossfit, I thought those things were just stupid party tricks.  They are more than stupid party tricks and take a lot of work and discipline.  I have actually done those things by setting a goal and putting in extra work, who am I?  This was not the person that started at CFN, but it’s the person they have created.  – please note I am not good at either, but I have done them and have video footage to prove it. 
Outside: Move a ton of mulch then practice soccer with my daughter, no problem.  Charity 5K or bike ride, sign me up. Walk across Athens in the 90+ degree heat up and down the hills of Santorini with loads of luggage on my back like a mule, no sweat.  I’ve had many sucky workouts at CFN under my belt that it makes real world tasks doable and even enjoyable.

In your opinion, what is the most valuable aspect of CrossFit Northland?

Coaching.  Many people, including myself, start with the best intentions when we begin a job or a task, but we get sloppy and our good habits fade. That has never happened with the coaching staff at CFN.  I feel like our coaches come in everyday like it’s their first day of work, full of enthusiasm and passion. I love getting redirected on my improper movements and encouraged when I nail proper form.  Coaches have pulled weights off when they saw me struggling, not because they want to be hard asses, but because they want me to do the work right and not get injured. They have told me I am not getting full depth or lockout and applauded me when I did the movements right. I think (Can’t prove this) they may have even UnChecked RX when I showed lots of no-reps in a workout 🙂 They don’t let me get sloppy and they encourage me to do my best in every workout. I travel and drop into a lot of gyms across the U.S., the type of coaching we receive at CFN isn’t the norm.  Many other gyms don’t go through a breakdown of the warmup, lifting, and WOD.  Many other coaches are basically babysitters that do little more than start the clock.  Our coaches care and respect each and every one of us.  Notice how they always know everyone’s name?  I could go on and on about our coaches, but I don’t want their head to get too big:)

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone that is starting their own fitness journey?

Just show up.  Don’t worry about comparing yourself to other members.  I used to get too wrapped up in that and it caused me a lot of stress.  One member gave me some great advice during an Open WOD when he caught me peaking at other another athlete’s rower – He said “Don’t bother with the others, run your own race”. I know I am not the fittest in the gym, that’s not my goal, but I am fitter than I was yesterday and that works for me.  

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Easy – I want that power that Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell had, where he could say “Time Out” and everyone in the scene would freeze.  I need that while setting up my equipment and weights before the WOD.  Taylor once told me, and she is sooo right, that I am always the slowest in getting set up.  I always have to get my towel, bracelets (wrist wraps), water, etc. ready.  I just need to hit a quick Zack Morris Bayside Time Out every once in while.

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