I had a chance to catch up with Clay after he and Kristen moved out to Texas this summer. Clay and Kristen joined our gym about 2 years ago and were very active members in our small community here in Charlottesville. Like Clay and Kristen, many people are here for a short while due to school, training, or other commitments, so when that stint is up we often have to say farewell. We create lasting bonds with people in the gym, and we are excited for them when they start the next chapter of their life although it’s not easy to see them go. It was rewarding to see the progress Clay and Kristen made during their time at CrossFit Charlottesville, and it was even better to get to know them as people. I wanted to thank Clay for imparting some words of wisdom and finding the time during the move (and Kristen being close to having a baby!) to answer my questions below. Best of luck to you both, and come visit us in Charlottesville soon!
Where did you move?
Ft. Hood, TX
What takes you to your new home?
Army, back to work. No more goofing off at school.
What is your favorite memory of the gym?
I’m not sure if I could pin down a single favorite memory. Certainly there were some pretty tough WODs that felt great to get to the other side of. I really enjoyed helping out at the SuperFit games and seeing people of all ages who could bang out some reps in some pretty tough events. I am not sure, but I also feel like that was around the time when I started feeling like a part of the community and not just a member. That transition happened gradually, starting from the beginning, but certainly by a few months in, we weren’t just faces coming and going. Folks knew us, trainers didn’t worry if we knew what we were doing, and if we missed a week people asked after us.
Worst workout experience?
Again, hard to say. I never judged a bad workout on how difficult it was; if I thought it was bad, it was usually because I had eaten badly or was sick/hurt, and I was suffering from my own issue. That said, I do tend to hate anything with high rep burpees. All the up and down just spikes my heart-rate.
Best workout experience?
Kristen and I both remember one of the first Burn workouts we did last summer when it just started pouring at the start of a long series of hill runs and dumbbell things. Other than that I would say anytime I progressed to doing a particular movement/WOD Rx from scaled I was pretty happy. That happened a lot over the first year, even if I didn’t record the particular milestones.
Biggest accomplishment since starting CF?
Two (they’re related): first, I’d say my short-lived ability to do an actual muscle up. Second, the weight loss/body comp improvements that came with being healthier overall in that fall of 2012, and again leading up to our wedding the next spring. I got down to the 200lbs mark for the first time in years, and I could really tell how much difference it made, especially on bodyweight exercises–like dropping a 25lbs plate.
What are your fitness goals when you leave Charlottesville?
Definitely regain the health/body comp focus we had before. Life got stressful and busy with the final school semester, moving, and everything else, and we went from habitual good choices to sporadically good choices in diet.
Anything you’d like to say to your fellow crossfitters?
We will sorely miss everyone we have gotten to know these past two years. I’m very sorry to anyone who we didn’t get to say goodbye to. You know, this seems to have been a tough year for C-ville in major competitions (except for Elizabeth, of course!), but I would absolutely rather workout alongside of everyone there than any of the professional CrossFit elite on TV. Remember the first rule–it’s what make the community in C-ville so strong.
Any advice or thoughts you’d like to impart on a new person considering trying CrossFit?
Along those same lines–CrossFit as a brand has been evolving at least in the several years since I found out about it. There is the international multi-million dollar competitive enterprise that the brand has become known for on TV, sporting goods stores, and countless blogs either touting or bashing it. Then there is the actual experience you have in the gym with trainers who were in your shoes not long ago themselves, and other members who all share the simple goal of fitness. Don’t be intimidated, come and learn. Don’t skip essentials. Learn the movements correctly, and scale appropriately at first. Don’t try to win the Games next year, just try to hit your next small goal, and catch that guy running a little faster than you up the hill. You will improve, quickly.
Anything else you’d like to say?
The bottom line though is that I think you’re doing it right at CFC. I’m bummed that the national brand is turning into a competitive professional sport, NOT focused on functional fitness for everyday people, but that doesn’t seem to have affected the focus locally. That’s good.