where’d I go? Plus! my definitive Crossfit interview

Woah, so its been a while, only a little more than a year. After much nudging from friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, comrades, and komodos, I’m back on the blog. Quick cliffs notes on what I feel like divulging about my life. Still modeling, still acting, yes, but living in Miami and working full time as a trainer at Crossfit Miami Beach. This was actually the deciding factor when I chose to move down here. Let’s flashback to circa February 8th, 2011 give or take a day. I was in Miami for the modeling season, and having a conversation with a friend of mine about how I needed to get back to New York. He simply asked, “why are you in such a hurry? What’s up there you’re so emphatic to get back to?”

This very basic question stopped me in my tracks. I had no answer, I realized that the only thing I enjoyed about NY was my acting class, but you can’t go through life being a professional acting student. Well I guess you potentially could, but not when that class is just one day a week. So the stage was set, and I was going to stay the fuck outta dodge. But then, what would I do in Miami. I had done the whole, I model and live in Miami, enjoying a life about as active as flotsam; wasn’t going back to that. Wasn’t going back to depending on modeling period. If I book something great, but I lost the patience to jump through the hoops and play the part. For lack of a better phrase, I’m too old for that shit.

Now, I had been studying to get my personal trainers certification. Since the early summer of 2010, I had been crossfitting on my own, at the gym I belonged to in NY, often times much to the confusion of the other gym members. When I came to Miami for the season, much to my excitement Crossfit Miami Beach had opened up right next to Whole Foods on 9th and Alton. I immediately joined and loved it, even more than crossfitting on my own, its nice to be a part of a community.

As I was reading through this text book to get my CPT liscense I thought about all of those personal trainers at the gyms I’ve gone to in my life, pandering for clients to train and otherwise kinda just being there. Boom! the epiphany struck me, I crossfit, I should get certified to train crossfit, practice what I preach, it would only make sense that I espouse what I myself do.

Fast forward back to the present time, and I am gleefully training at Crossfit Miami Beach, and I still model and act when the opportunity knocks. Ironically, as I stepped away a little bit, opportunity seems to miss me, because it’s been knocking quite a bit, and I’ve enjoyed an active offseason of modeling and acting here in Miami.

You may be asking yourself, what is this mysterious Crossfit, he speaks so amorously about? As it turns out, I’ve been pretty active answering that very question. I was interviewed about crossfit after Miami Swim Week. I was extremely fortunate to be very busy and walked in more shows than any other male model, which was pretty shocking to me, and quite exciting. Exciting enough to be worthy of its own post in the near future. As you can imagine Swim Week shows don’t include a lot of clothes, “I’m a pretty big deal with no clothes on!” are the exact words I told my bookers at Wilhelmina. And so it seemed, and I garnered many questions about what I do to stay fit, which you now know is, I crossfit. Angela Giltrap, a fashion blogger for Runningwithheels.com interviewed me and below is a copy. I know I’m verbose and type small novels in my blogs, read what I written or go waste your time somewhere else. I’m not going to start writing less though. Take that sucka!!

Crossfit turns mortal humans into badass machines, like the honeybadger

1) What makes CrossFit different from other exercise programs?

What makes crossfit so different from any other exercise program, is our programming. With crossfit we combine, olympic lifting with gymnastics, plyometric, calisthenics, aerobics, and traditional cardio. We emphasize performing functional movements and combine exercises from all of these fitness modalities to create our workouts. Our workouts are almost always completed at high intensity. We usually will have a set amount of reps to complete as fast as we can, or we have set time in which we want to complete as many reps or sets as possible. By structuring our workouts this way, we end up building our strength and power while we are simultaneously improving our cardio-respiratory endurance. It really is the best of both worlds. Additionally you are working in a group setting with other members, often creating a symbiotic effect (people responding and feeding off of each other’s drive and pushing themselves further), and you are always under the supervision of certified trainers, making sure that your form is correct during these movements. Because we are going at high intensity, it is imperative that you have good form throughout the workout.

2) Can CrossFit be tailored to individual skill levels?
Crossfit can absolutely be tailored to individual skill levels. In my opinion that may be one of the greatest things about crossfit is that anyone from the professional athlete to your grandparents to a new mother, and everyone in between can participate in crossfit and see dramatic improvements in their fitness. Every move that we incorporate is scalable and therefor every client we see can do every workout because we do exactly what you asked, by tailoring the workout to the individual’s skill level. For example I may overhead squat 115 lbs 30 times, and a brand new member may just use an 8 oz pvc pipe, 30 times and we both will have an equally intense workout. This is great not only for meeting individual’s skill levels but also their goals. Where some members want to add size and muscle others might want to just burn fat lose weight and tone up. With scaling of workouts both of these goals are achievable!

3) What are some basic techniques/routines that a beginner could try?

We actually always have our new members complete three intoductory classes where we teach the air squat, front squat and overhead squat one day, the strict press, push press and push jerk the next and the deadlift, sumo deadlift high pull and med ball clean on the final day. Each day we will have members complete a scaled version of a typical crossfit workout. An example of one of these would be “Baby Cindy,” which is a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 air squats. As mentioned earlier we can scale these movements to each individual to ensure they complete an intense but achievable workout.
4) What are some exercises specifically targeted to the legs?

With crossfit we focus on total body fitness, and functional movements. Whats a more common movement than sitting down and standing up, or picking something up from the ground? These are the foundations for a squat and deadlift. We incorporate squats and deadlifts into a plethora of our workouts, using them individually or in conjunction with other movements, for example a squat clean and jerk which works almost every muscle in your body. In fact one of the most common experiences of neophytes to crossfit is that they notice an improvement in their legs.

5) What kind of diet complements the CrossFit program?

We crossfitters generally prescribe our members to follow a zone based or paleo diet, not in an attempt to specifically lose weight per se but to simply be fitter healthier people. Each individual will usually make their own tweaks and adjustments to these to cater to their individual needs but these are great diets to look at in order to bolster ones nutrition and training. The concept of “I just work off whatever I eat so I eat anything” is really a misconception because although you may not see aesthetic effects, internally if you do not eat healthy down the road you will pay the price.

6) Talk a bit about the CrossFit Games.

The Crossfit Games are a culmination of months of sectional, regional and worldwide competitions. They are truly a test of strength power, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, coordination, agility, flexibilty, balance, and accuracy, resulting in the crowning of the World’s Fittest Man, Woman and Team.

The competitors in the games were the top finishers of the month-long sectional competition — which was completed online this year, allowing for anyone who wanted to compete to do so, even brand new crossfitters. This resulted in more competitors than ever, and was then followed by 3 day regional competitions, which took place all over the globe.

The workouts in the Games were mindbogglingly challenging and the athletes are truly the cream of the crop. We crossfitters pride ourselves for being in great shape. The games competitors make regular crossfitters look like mere mortals. You will never see a fitter collection of individuals, save for maybe the olympics.

Well I hope this gave you a brief taste of what crossfit is, and hopefully will encourage you to give it a shot. Stay healthy and stay happy!

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