Member Spotlight: Mike D.

Friday, 9/6
September 5, 2019
Saturday, 9/7
September 6, 2019

How long have I been doing crossfit (what inspired me), how long have I been at Crossfit DC, why did I choose?About 5 or 6 years now, started about 32 or 33 years old so definitely a late starter.  I had been an athlete for most of my life with football, boxing and MMA but at 33 when those things were in the rear view mirror I was looking for an outlet that was fun, challenging, had a community and would push me.  Crossfit became pretty hand-in-glove.  I’ve been at CrossfitDC that entire time, having first been introduced to it and Tom by a colleague.  I went through elements and was so mad (in a good way) about how unfit I’d really become so felt it a challenge to stay, and did.  I remember looking at Dan Samarov thinking, “man, I hope I’m that fit when I’m 50, just like Dan.”  (Kidding Dan) . Crossfit DC was super welcoming and I could tell from the jump the community was great and the coaching was the best I’d experienced.  Plus, Tom was a trip – really could tell he and the other coaches cared a great deal about what they’d built and that appealed to me.

Favorite and least favorite movements: I always prefer the Oly lifts.  Cleans are probably my favorite, I love jerks too.  Joking around with some of my peers, you know – the heavy, tall guys – I tend to prefer the few that favor me like wall balls, rowing etc.  I did have a former workout-buddy, affectionately referred to as “big tyler” (sorry Tyler) that really liked to take his least favorite workouts and drill them until they didn’t matter.  For me, those are always thrusters and burpees.  After 5 years, still a work in progress.
What do I do when I’m not lifting:The rest of life right?!  Kidding.  I run a tech startup in healthcare so that occupies a ton of my time, but I really try and spend as much time unplugging with my wife and 2 dogs as I can.  We have a farm out in Western VA, so its nice to just head out there with them and leave all the concrete behind.  Hike, etc.  We don’t get far from the gym though, we have a barn with some weights in it from the old 14th street gym.  Keeping CFDC alive out in the mountains!
Goal I’m working toward in the gym and beyond.In the gym, I’m working to get back to a sustainable, healthy place.  Life has changed a lot since I started.  5 years ago with more time it was 2 workouts a day and comp team.  Now with work, family, a recent run for office – time is hard to come by so I’m looking for something sustainable.  Beyond the gym, I’m really looking for balance.  I want to improve my community around me, be a good husband and lead a (hopefully long), healthy and productive life.

What do I know now about Crossfit that I wish I knew when i started: Oh man – a ton.  If I knew I’d meet my wife here I might have paid more attention to my appearance in the gym :).  Kidding.  One big one would be in the words of Nike to “just do it.”  I hear a-lot that you need to work out somewhere else first, to get in shape FOR crossift.  I wish I had just jumped in younger.  Another is “go slow to go fast.”  What I mean is, since I’d always played sports I overestimated weights and movements I was comfortable with and wish I started slower, and lighter, and really nailed perfect form so I didn’t have to correct things years later along the way.  That, and have fun!  I know a lot of us take this stuff seriously, I’m very competitive as we all are…but at the end of the day, its just exercise.  So just to remember that its fun, you choose to be there, and its for self betterment so enjoy it.
What inspires me? People.  I love being around people trying to constantly better themselves and those around them by extension.  There are so many opportunities for it, and physical/health betterment is just one of those things.  In a world increasingly devoid of community involvement I think thats a really powerful aspect of Crossfit.  Everyone is there to help themselves and other people in the gym and in the community around the gym.  Sounds small, but its inspiring and its something I take away into other aspects of life whether family, work, or my community.
Something that might surprise most people?Hmm, interesting question.  I’ve been a Division 1 athlete, fought MMA/Boxing amateur and semi-pro and I still get nervous right before each and every workout!  No kidding, I always have to run and nervous pee right before hand.  Weird.  Makes no sense.  Another I’ll bring up since Crossfit influenced it, but I ran for Congress in 2018.  Was kind of crazy and scary, but very rewarding.  Crossfit got be very comfortable operating outside my comfort zone so without it I’m not sure I would have taken the leap.  I lost, but I’ll be back.

Coaching cue that helped the most? Many.  I’ve been to Crossfit boxes all over the world and have never landed in a spot with better coaching.  I’ll share a few memorable ones:  Coach Lance always seems to be my “oly whisperer.”  All his cues have really helped my lifting.  One in particular that stuck with me is a “dynamic setup.”  I was having trouble in the initial clean pull starting from a pause at the bottom, so he que’d me to actually “start” when I grab the bar and to move down into setup and up in one dynamic motion.  That one stuck with me.  Another, funny enough, is my now wife – Coach Leah, who que’d me on pulling under the bar…don’t be scared, just pick a lighter weight and drive under it 10,000 times before you add more weight.  My favorite two came from Tom though.  One productive one, was that “I can always just do 1 more rep.”  That is something in my head for every workout, really helps me just chip away rather than standing there panting.  Another, less helpful, was after I’d failed in a heavy squat PR and fell over and Tom yelled out…”great depth!”  Thanks Tom, super helpful.  In general though, a cue from the gym that always sticks with me in life is “just keep moving.”  Sounds silly, but if you apply that to almost every life situation you’re one step closer to coming out on top.  Just keep moving.

Thanks CFDC!  For the friends, the community, the fitness and helping me find a better me!

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