At the end of each year, the Coaches take a break from nominating the Athlete of the Month. We reach out to each Athlete of the Month for that year and ask for nominations for the Athlete of the Year. The Athlete of the Year must be an Athlete of the Month from that year and is the person who most exemplifies what we start for at IA. This is a person who is humble, tries to prioritize a healthy lifestyle, acts with integrity, and faces challenges head on.
This year’s race to the top was a close one. However, we did have a winner. The Athlete of the Year for 2022 is:
- What does it mean to you to be selected as Athlete of the Year? This is the most difficult question to answer. It’s astonishing and humbling. I’ve never been considered athletic. I’m that classic story of the kid getting picked last in school for a team. Now, I’m being seen for the work that I’m doing. I only hope that I’m giving out to this community as much as I’m receiving from them.
- What is one goal you have achieved in 2022? I achieved a few goals. I think my biggest accomplishment was completing Murph. To be clear, 1/2 Murph. Even with the ribbing I received from mapping out my strategy on a spreadsheet. My goal was to finish. Not only did I finish, but I did it in under 35 minutes. Other goals I’ve achieved are doing banded pull ups and consistently increasing the weight on my lifts. I’m coming for you Jared.
- What is the #1 thing that contributed to you accomplishing that goal? It’s impossible to name one thing because my growth is an orchestra. The coaching I receive from Leslie in my privates along with Matt, Jen, Rich and Kaela in classes. The coaching inspires me to have a great attitude about consistently challenging myself even when I have multiple distractions. Finally, all of the other members who I’m in class with each time are nothing but inspiring.
- What is the main aspect of CrossFit that keeps you coming back for more? I think I say this a lot about what Matt (the owner) and his team have built at IA. What keeps me coming back for more is not just the health benefits that I’m receiving, but the connections I’ve made here. Matt has not only built a CrossFit gym, but also he’s built a place of belonging. I’ve been to other gyms, and this is the first gym where I’ve had such a level of connection. I know Matt is promoting CrossFit, but achievements are due to IA.
- What is 1 thing you have changed in your life recently that has led to more success in the gym? As an adult adoptee who has done a lot of work discovering my natural origins, I’ve learned that I’ve always been a people pleaser by always putting others needs before my own. I’ve changed this behavior. I’ve learned to put me first. This has changed my life. I can put myself first and continue to give to others more authentically.
- What is the best piece of advice you can give to a current CrossFitter that you think will help with longevity in CrossFit? I use what I learn in CrossFit in my personal and professional life. Come for the lessons. I’ve learned subtle techniques that help me motivate the team I manage at work. When I talk to other members before the class starts, I’m often an open book. Someone always shares a similar story. I sit with those stories the remainder of the day. I come for the exercise, but I leave each class with more knowledge. My aggregation of marginal gains grows with every visit.
- What is the best piece of advice you can give someone new looking to try CrossFit? CrossFit is like adoption. It is defined by narratives. Some good some bad. Call bullshit on the narratives and come see for yourself. Don’t marginalize yourself from what you’ve heard about CrossFit. It’s not only for young, elite athletes. Is it hard? Yes! However, anything that’s worth it is hard. Take joy in the fact that it keeps getting harder because you keep getting stronger. Eventually, you find yourself surrounded by younger, elite athletes. You then realize that you’re doing what they are doing at your own level often getting cheered on by them to push you through your hard days.
- What is the #1 way CrossFit has changed your life? It’s given me a spirit to truly teach me how worth it I am. 2022 has been a year filled with distraction for me. CrossFit has helped me lean into distractions better. More importantly, I think CrossFit is slowly bringing me out of my introvert shell. What has changed my life the most is how young I feel in mind, body and spirit. I love to tease myself about being an old guy, but I actually feel so young inside that it proves this community is a true community of my peers. (Also, it gives me pride to see someone roll their eyes when I tell them that I do CrossFit)