October 2018

Crossfit Bytown is proud to have Andrew Spencer as the member of the month for October  Andrew is a regular to the evening classes and his favourite movement is box jumps  

1.  I chose Crossfit many years ago (2004), mostly due to me being a lemming and following my gym buddy into it, but also because I'm a masochist at heart and it struck me as a well rounded program that had a positive effect on my physical preparedness for my job and would make me feel like at the I was paying for my poor nutritional choices.  While I got away from Crossfit for almost ten years, I came back to the community for that primary reason - the community.  I find tremendous value in a program that is directed, well rounded and where you are able to participate in a class environment with like minded individuals who encourage and push you to continuously improve.
2.  I chose Bytown due to a couple of key aspects:  programing, coaches, class structure and location.  I'm a big fan of the structure of Bytown's classes, having a considered warm up, skill/strength work followed by a conditioning WOD of some kind.  I found that in the past Crossfit's key weaknesses came from a mentality that seemed to disregard the requirement to prepare your body to do intense work, especially if you aim to consistently push yourself, and I find Bytown's approach to be very well considered and implemented.  That and somebody told me there would be free pizza, which I'm starting to think is not true...
3.  I have a variety of goals - key amongst them is ensuring I can build and maintain the fitness required to perform at my job, and my sports/hobbies of choice.  This means consistently improving my conditioning, explosive power from my legs/core and improve my overall strength.  Secondary goals include developing Crossfit specific movements (double unders, handstand movements, Olympic and Power lifting movement technique) and developing my overhead mobility and strength.  Having more than one ab would be nice, but hey, one thing at a time!  I suppose with the lack of free pizza I'll be closer to this goal in the end.
4.  I'm an Army Officer (Infantry), and I serve the Queen diligently!  Mostly in a cubicle farm at the moment, but hey, having a roof over head and heating/cooling are luxuries that I'll gladly take over some of the more austere work environments I've had to put up with over the years.
5.  I have lots and lots of hobbies!  My winters are consumed with downhill Skiing - particularly downhill Ski Racing.  I coach it, I race it, I spend most of my money on it, I accessorize and customize.  I nerd out pretty hard on it.  I also play soccer, usually once or twice a week.  I've recently taken up curling (needed some more intensity in my life), I also play touch football, golf occasionally, swim a lot, run when I can, and get suckered into taking people's race bibs for triathlons.  I also veg hard too, NETFLIX, video games, music (mostly piano these days) and reading.  I also love pizza parties, not to mention crushing McDonald's cheeseburgers (no big deal but I recently ate 20 cheeseburgers for time with some friends).
6.  Since joining Bytown, and dragging my butt to the gym regularly (I shoot for about 4-5 times a week), I've noticed a variety of great changes.  My butt is really firm now, I can't stop smacking it to be honest, like a GMC truck it's like a rock!  I'm likely going to need to talk to a harassment counsellor about my hand, it's out of control, so much slapping!.  I'm also finding my balance and power in soccer has much improved, I'm far less prone to injury (unless I'm around a wooden box), and my general conditioning is much better.  WODs feel far less strenuous then they did eight months ago, and my strength and confidence with overhead movements has improved drastically.  I'm really looking forward to the ski season to see what other benefits will roll over into my sport of passion.  I'm also carrying around a fair amount less fat, so maybe pluralising my ab may not be so out of reach after all...
7.  I get really cranky when I don't work out.  That is my prime motivator - I just feel like hot garbage when I'm not expending energy regularly.  I also hate not performing at a high level of effort during my sports and hobbies.  Being healthy, living a long life, not being some debilitated cripple in my 40s and 50s because I failed to do basic body maintenance is also a driving factor.  Considering that for only 1/24th of any given day I can make a tremendous impact on my health, physique and physical capacity, I would feel absolutely stupid if I didn't re-capitalize some of my cat-video watching time towards making myself a little less of a burden on society.  Also being a good example for the kids I coach, my family, my co-workers yada yada, that kinda stuff too I guess.
8.  My favourite WOD... probably Murph.  It sucks, it's long, it doesn't involve skipping, or gymnastics, or hand stand dancing, or box jumps.  Just pure, gut wrenching work.  Really beats the lazy out of me.  It also completely eliminates any guilt from crushing a large pizza afterwards.  Last but no least, it is also a great tribute to a human being that sacrificed everything so people like me could continue to enjoy the freedoms and friendships that we continue to enjoy and cultivate daily (Murica!).
9.  Advice - firstly, I've screwed a lot of things up in my life, so my first advice would probably to go ask some of the really fit people at the gym how they do what they do - however - if you're still keen to hear my musings on life and fitness I'd say the following:  Be consistent and be patient.  While intensity is important, it is more important to show up as often as possible, ramp up and down the intensity and weight as is safe and manageable, and build fitness into your daily routine.  It should be as important as sleep and food.  Find a way to build a lifestyle around getting to the gym, and instead of skipping days, drop reps every now and then if you need to.  Good things take time, the typical training effect from a conditioning program doesn't really manifest until about 6 months of solid, consistent effort.  Focus less on the results, and dig into finding ways to enjoy the process - hence the beauty of Crossfit.  Friends who suffer together, motivate each other and ultimately make it one more part of the tapestry that makes up another day in your life.  Find a way to develop an inherent joy of being in the gym, spending time with the people, and enjoying class.  We only have 24 hours in a day, and those are the hours within which we live, so make them count!  And finally, pineapple was NOT meant to go on Pizza.  And if it's something you like, then go get help.  Please.

Crossfit Bytown