STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – MIKE D
What’s your age and athletic background? I’m 36 years old and I feel stronger and fitter than ever before. I was very active growing up playing everything from baseball, football, basketball and tennis. By my mid 20′s, playing tennis and rec league basketball usually meant battling an assortment of injuries from sore knees and elbows to sprained ankles and forearms to the face. So I turned to other activities like P90X, Insanity and a lightly used globo-gym membership.
What results since starting CrossFit? Before my first ever LaLanne Fitness CrossFit class almost 3 years ago I was literally clueless about Olympic lifting, the CrossFit lingo (say, WOD?) and my overall level of fitness. I was hooked immediately by the humbling experience, the desire to improve and the feeling that this community would not let me give up on myself like I used to when working out solo…
A year ago I was dealing with nerve pain stemming from a long term bad back and I had to dial back my training and take time off to recover. Since then I have had a greater appreciation and love for CrossFit. I have come back stronger and more dedicated than before. I have achieved PR’s in basically every lift and workout. My happiest PR was probably my 225 pound C&J. I’ve also seen the benefits of putting in the extra practice before and after class… figuring out double-unders, getting my first bar muscle ups.
Any changes to your lifestyle or diet? About a month before starting CrossFit, I discovered the Paleo lifestyle. I had also just reached my chubby peak and needed a dramatic change if I was going to stop the gradual weight increase I had experienced over the previous 10 years. Within the first 2 months of changing my diet I lost nearly 30 pounds. Since then I cheat sometimes but I generally maintain a healthy diet and avoid many items that were staples of my old lifestyle. Another change is that I have definitely passed up many happy hours to instead head to the gym for my new favorite happy hour.
How has your mindset towards fitness changed since starting CrossFit? Fitness is now much more a central part of my life rather then something I have to do. I enjoy tracking my progress, seeing improvements and working on my weaknesses. Also, just showing up, listening to my coaches and putting in the work has really worked out for me. I can’t say enough about the benefits I’ve seen from being a part of this community. We keep each other accountable, support each other and push each other to get better.
What’s your favorite CrossFit movement or workout? I excel at jumping exercises… Kneeling jumps, max height box jumps and hurdles. But, nowadays I actually prefer workouts that target my weaknesses and these are usually longer cardio WOD’s involving Oly lifts.
What’s your proudest achievement? I laughed and appreciated my gym award for “Most Likely to Talk to Themselves” during workouts. What I also take pride in is making new friends, passing along technique tips and showing up for my daily butt whooping!