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Member Spotlight: Justin T.

Name:  Justin Tyler

Age: 43

Occupation:  Firefighter/Paramedic

Q: How long have you been a member of CrossFit Northland?
A: Since May 2021

Q: What brought you into our gym?
A: I had let my health/fitness go and I needed a change.  I had talked to Coach Casey a few years before about joining, but decided I would use the gym at the fire station to workout.  I was pretty inconsistent in my workouts and diet and it was starting to catch up with me.  My weight and waistline were increasing and I was having chronic low back problems.  I was tired of it!  Another huge factor was losing my mom in July of 2020 after a short bout with Pancreatic Cancer.  During her final time with us, she told me “Justin, take care of yourself.”  She was an amazing mother, and always made her health and fitness a priority.  Mom’s loving comment to care for myself was probably the biggest deciding factor to join CFN and it keeps me coming back 4-6 days a week!

Q: Tell us a little about your fitness background?
A: I grew up in athletics, mainly playing baseball, basketball, and football in Platte City.  My first love was football.  I dreamed of strapping on pads and a helmet and getting to play for the Pirates on Friday nights!  Coach Chip Sherman, my high school head coach, introduced us to weight lifting in 8th grade.  In high school we would have summer weights and conditioning.  I loved “old school” weight lifting and always wanted to build more muscle and strength.  I went on to play football at Northwest Missouri State University where I was introduced to Olympic lifting.  I didn’t love it so much, but did it because we had to.  It was amazing to see how much weight was being moved in that weight room!  My athletics background and interest in knowing more about the human body and its movements led me to major in Corporate Wellness.  I had classes in Kinesiology, Coaching, Anatomy/Physiology, etc.  I worked briefly as a “Health/Fitness Specialist” prior to making the shift to the Fire Service.  I was introduced to CrossFit in 2011 by a good friend of mine at the fire station.  I really got into it and saw some big gains in regards to weight loss, mobility and cardio/aerobic capacity, but slowly fell out of it.  But I’m back!  I am so glad I found CrossFit again!!

Q: What are some of your favorite CrossFit movements?
A: I’d say the rower, Echo bike, SKierg (mainly because they are my strengths), oh, and I love climbing the rope!  I’m growing to enjoy the Olympic lifts (definitely my weaknesses, but I feel I am improving on those movements!)

Q: What is on your CrossFit bucket list?
A: Double unders and HSPU’s!  I’d also like to do some competitions.

Q: What is on your general bucket list?
A: I don’t necessarily have a bucket list.  I just really want to experience life with no regrets!  I love hiking and seeing the beauty of God’s creation.  Being on top of a mountain is just a magical place for me. So, I want to do more of that.   Also, giving my family memorable experiences and seeing/doing different things.

Q: What is something most people do not know about you?
A: I guess if you don’t know me very well…you wouldn’t know that I have a twin brother (fraternal), Jason.  Jason is 15 minutes older than me.  We were born at Spelman Hospital in Smithville (now St. Luke’s – Smithville).  My mom always bragged that we were the biggest twins to ever be born at Spelman!  We added up to be over 16 pounds of baby (my poor mom!)  I was a little over 8 lbs, Jason was just below 8 lbs. 

Q: How would you describe CrossFit Northland to someone?
A: One word would be “welcoming”.  It’s just such an inviting community.  The coaches are top notch, smart, and motivated to help athletes improve.  I just love receiving constructive criticism, knowing that it’s coming from a genuine love of the sport and community.  Also, getting to workout and “suffer” alongside some pretty awesome people makes those grueling workouts bearable and easier to push through to better oneself.

Q: What does “living life on your own terms” mean to you, and in what ways are you living life on your terms?
A: It means to me that I’m not going to settle and look for the easy way out.  All too often people rely way too much on medicine in order to chase health.  I’m setting myself up on the front end of aging in an effort to combat the effects that come with growing older.  I’d rather spend the money now through a gym membership and supplements and have a high quality of life now and as I get older, than spending ALOT of money in the future at the doctor/pharmacy and having a low quality of life. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about CFN?
A: I enjoy the variety of the workouts and that I don’t have to try to come up with a workout to do.  It’s already set!  You just show up, and do what the coach tells you to do!

Q: What motivates you and keeps you coming back week after week?
A: Seeing how the small changes in my skills, strength, mobility, and physique slowly turn into big changes!  It’s fun to see changes happen, and wonder “What can I do next?”  

Q: What PRs or accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: I would say I’m most proud of the increase in my mobility.  I came into CFN so stiff through most of my joints…it was so frustrating not being able to do some of the movements.  I had chalked it up to being over 40.  But with consistency and not giving in to age, I have improved so much in so many movements!  I’m proud that I can get a barbell in a front rack.  My squats have gotten so much better/stronger and my deadlift is coming along, although there’s still work to be done.  And my lower back feels the greatest it has in a very long time!

Q: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
A: To fly!

Q: What advice do you have for people just getting started with CrossFit?
A: When you begin to feel discouraged, take that feeling and use it as motivation and don’t stop!  Show up consistently, even when you’re sore!  It will be hard at times to get yourself to the gym, but I guarantee that when you finish the workout you won’t regret it!  It might have sucked, but it’s working in your favor!

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone that is considering starting CrossFit?
A: Do it!  You won’t regret it!

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