The LaLanne Fitness CrossFit family would like to recognize one of our longstanding members... BLAKE M. He has contributed to this program in every way since day one. His consistent hard work over the years have inspired many and to this day he is still the strongest guy in the rack. Let's get to know a bit more about our STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH...

What's your age and athletic background? 

I’m 29 and grew up playing football and rugby. I discovered CrossFit back in 2006 when I was searching the internet for ways to improve my conditioning for rugby. CrossFit uses a lot of the same energy systems as arugby match, and I found it infinitely more effective than the traditional hour lifting/hour running combination. Initially, I was doing it on my own and followed programming from the main site, a few of the early affiliates, and Rippetoe, going as far as to build out a gym in my garage back in Houston. I moved to San Francisco back in 2010 for both a job and a hot chick (now my wife) and have been at LaLanne ever since.

What results since starting CrossFit?

I think overall my work capacity is much higher. I might not be as strong as I was at certain times in the past or at peak conditioning levels as I would get in pre-season training cycles, but there aren’t the peaksand lows anymore. I also get injured much less frequently than I did in the past, which I would credit more to the programming at our gym than to CrossFit in general as I’ve seen some workouts online that look like a tendon tear just waiting to happen.

Any changes to your lifestyle or diet?

I wish I could say that I get 10 hours of sleep every night in a blacked out room and only eat grass-fed meat from organic Icelandic cows, but I fail to meet that bar. From a diet stand-point, I’ve cut out almost alldiary (with the exception of cheese occasionally because it’s delicious) and starches for the most part (although I will never give up burritos forever). I definitely cook my own meals much more often than in the past, which makes eating well much easier, but I’ll still go out to dinner with friends and family because who wants to be the guy eating cans of tuna alone on the couch on a Friday night.

How has your mindset changed since starting CrossFit?

I find myself becoming less competitive in terms of what other people are doing and simply try to improve onwhat I did the previous session. I probably won’t ever be able to clean & jerk 400Lbs, but, if I can add 20Lbs to my clean & jerk over the course of a year, that’s a win in my book. I also find that I couldn’t care less about aesthetics and am much more interested in moving well and quickly. Funny how when you start to move better, your clothes start to fit a lot better.

What's your favorite CrossFit movement or workout?

I hate all of them, and I mean that in the best way possible as none of them are particularly fun in the later rounds if you’re doing it right. I think I definitely prefer workouts in the 10-15 range as I feel those allow you to put in the most quality work without leaving you completely debilitated for the rest of the week. I also really like interval workouts that involve sprints (not sure why as I’m still slow as molasses). My least favorite is Linda. That workout is for small people like Chris Chan and leaves me a broken man for at least a week. 
Do you have any favorite CF gear? 

My collection of old smelly t-shirts and gym shorts stolen from former roommates. Also, I’m a huge fan of myplain black EliteFTS knee sleeves for squatting (less knee pain is a great thing).

Future athletic goals?

Near-Term: Get through all of 2014 without any major injuries. Long-Term: Successfully wrestle a bear!