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It can be dangerous to generalise, but as a coach you do tend to see certain types of people come through the door. The majority (coaches included) all very much into the average athlete category. They love to train and work hard. They also tend to make progress, but will never be considered top performers.
From time to time we see people come in who are very talented. They are naturally strong and within days can learn movements that take other people months to master. However, often we find that those people, for various reasons, don’t take training too seriously. Maybe they are not that interested or maybe because things come easily to them, they don’t tend to work as hard. As a result, they don’t tend to make much progress.
The next category is people who are very limited in their movement. They might be quite tight and inflexible, or just not very aware of their bodies. It’s very difficult for these people to make progress and they have to work twice as hard as everyone else for the same results.
However, as a coach there is absolutely nothing more rewarding than watching a less talented athlete make progress. Maybe they don’t end up at the same level as the naturally talented athlete who does not put in the work, but in terms of overall progress they are far, far more impressive.
Our athlete of the month for January falls very much into this category. Carlos came to us without a big training history (as you see from the interview below) and possibly the tightest shoulders in the western hemisphere!
Inflexible shoulders or hips really hamper performance and this was the case for Carlos. He found that overhead movements were really difficult as was weightlifting. Despite these limitations, Carlos worked extremely diligently to improve his shoulder mobility. You can find him in the gym 20 minutes before every session, working on getting better.
He recently posted on our Facebook page with a report of a 30kg overhead squat. Considering that it took Carlos months to simply overhead squat with a stick, this is a massive achievement. Very few people are willing to put their egos aside, work on weaknesses and reap the long term rewards. Carlos is one of those people and there is nothing at CrossFit GVA we like to see more.
Congrats Carlos on a very thoroughly deserved Athlete of the Month!
Where are you from?
I was born in Colombia
How did you discover CrossFit?
I had read about CrossFit in different news publications and through some friends.
I decided to give it a try one year ago since I was looking for a dynamic environment and a sport in which I could grow in a multitude of disciplines (CrossFit clearly excels at this).
What sort of fitness/sports were you doing before?
I have played tennis for many years and I was an irregular gym visitor.
Do you remember your first CrossFit workout? How was it?
My first workout took place during winter last year, a good friend invited me to join him.
The WOD involved pull-ups, rowing, lots of squatting and obviously…burpees.
I could not get my head around the exercises, neither my body could adapt to the movements, I did not finish the WOD (reps for time).
I went home impressed by people doing butterfly pull ups, squating heavy weights and then managing to perform an incessant amount of burpees; I was hooked and I thought that I needed to get that good.
What is your favourite workout?
I enjoy the painful Bear Complex. It encompasses most of the movement I would like to improve at heavy reps.
What is your favourite exercise?
The clean. It needs strength, flow and precision. I have a lot to work on.
What weaknesses are you working on right now?
My mobility, specially upper body. I am focusing on my tight shoulders.
What are your goals for 2016?
To accomplish a well executed overhead squat at 50kg.
What achievement are you most proud of?
One year ago I could not do a single overhead squat with the wood stick. My back rounded, my shoulders leaned forward and my hips did not allow me to go deep.
Last week I managed to perform five overhead squats at 30kg, it was an exhilarating moment.
What are your PRs in the following:
Back squat 115kg
CrossFit has made me stronger and faster but it has also positive influenced my mind and personality: I feel more determined, resilient and mentally fortified; the long WODs and challenging weights enhance such skills.
I am grateful to the coaches and the community at Crossfit GVA, I have met incredible people and I continue to learn from each one of them…thank you coaches, thank you athetles, gracias amigos