I had always been involved in sports since an early age. I played baseball, basketball, soccer, and a little tennis and enjoyed swimming and kayaking in the lake behind my house. My first recollection of actual training goes back to high school when my baseball coach would set up a gauntlet of exercises for us to storm through as quickly as we can, with a few minutes of rest in between each set. Looking back at it now, the concept was very similar to what we do in CrossFit, except the movements weren’t nearly as beneficial or functional. We certainly weren’t squatting or doing pull-ups – more like barbell curls and tricep push downs – definitely valid exercises for a 14 or 15 year old but just not the same as a CrossFit workout.
I was also a pretty slow runner and I remember one summer I found an article in Sports Illustrated that highlighted Terrell Davis (former running back for the Denver Broncos) and his off-season plyometrics program for increasing speed. I decided to give it a shot and every time I finished playing catch with my Dad or fielding ground balls, I’d go through the routine a few times. It was awesome to see my sprint times get better and better and know that the work I was putting in had been paying off. That feeling of accomplishment is certainly something that drove me to continue to try to get h3er and faster as an athlete. I was fortunate enough to be able to play baseball at the collegiate level for Trinity University, a small Division III school in San Antonio, where I was a relief pitcher and made a few starts each of my four years there. My experience as a college athlete was amazing and I certainly was exposed to all sorts of training programs during my time there. Ultimately though, it wasn’t until I was out of school and done with baseball before I really learned what fitness was when I found CrossFit.
I graduated and was a year or so out of college when a buddy of mine who told me about it. I went to Crossfit.com, looked at the workouts, and had absolutely no idea what anything meant. So I spent a few days watching just about every demo video on the site and realized just by watching those videos that it was something I could enjoy and potentially be good at. I started doing CrossFit workouts on my own in my apartment gym. I did lat pull downs instead of pull-ups, marked out 200m, 400m, and 800m turnarounds on my street and crushed push-ups, sit-ups, and single-unders on a daily basis. This went on for a couple of months before I finally realized I had to find a gym, and in June of 2009 I found Rob and CFWH.
I distinctly remember my first workout at CFWH. The WOD was 50-35-20 reps for time of wall ball shots and pull-ups. To say it was a humbling experience would be a massive understatement. I was using multiple green bands and jumping to finish my pull-ups, and I probably used a 10 pound medicine ball for the wall ball shots. I ended up finishing about 5 minutes behind the rest of the class but at the end of the workout I was extremely excited to have found something that I knew would challenge me for the next few months… fast forward almost five years now and coaching CrossFit is my full time gig. I never would’ve imagined it but I love it.
Call me a masochist, but I’d have to say it’s the burpee followed closely by the power clean. I love the burpee because it so universal and can be done anywhere at any time. It also requires and helps develop a beautiful blend of strength, conditioning, and mobility. A good, efficient burpee is a fantastic thing to watch!
I can’t say I really have a favorite movement to coach – but my favorite coaching moments are when I see the light bulb go off in someone’s head after they finally conquer a skill or movement that’s been tough for them to learn. Usually those movements tend to be the more complex Olympic lifts (snatches, cleans, or jerks) but I’ve seen it with a basic air squat or proper strict push-up and it always reminds me why I do what I do for a living.
Two things come to mind- one I’m very proud of and one not so much. For my summer job in high school and the first two years of college, I was a recreational aide for the City of Galveston’s Parks and Recreation department and my days were spent monitoring and mentoring underprivileged kids from ages 5 to 15. Part of my job description as a mentor was to just hang out with the kids throughout the day and play basketball, ping pong, and pool with them. I even got to teach swimming survival skills and swim lessons for two summers. It was definitely a kid’s dream job – I got to stay active and make an impact on people’s lives. Just like I do today.
Secondly- and this is the one I’m NOT proud of- I may or may not have recorded an entire album of original “chopped and screwed” (if you’re not from Houston you may need to look that up) music featuring hits from Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé. There also may or may not be one of those CDs still in existence, floating around somewhere.
I love coaching at CFWH because it gives me the opportunity to directly impact people’s lives on a daily basis. I view every class or private lesson I coach as not only an opportunity to help someone move a little better and get a little fitter but also as a chance to make them feel better about themselves when they head home or back to work for the day. While it’s great to see someone’s physical transformation after a few months of CrossFit, it pales in comparison to watching someone gain confidence or happiness through working out with such a great community like the one we have at CFWH. It truly is amazing and I’m blessed to be a part of it!
It was the 2011 Open’s workout number 3. I was judging Rob on the workout. The workout was a five minute AMRAP of 1 Squat Clean and 1 Jerk at 165 lbs. It was Rob’s last rep, cleaned it and then jerked it, there was one problem he didn’t squat clean it, so I no repped him. He said, “Did you just no rep me?” I said, “Yeah, you didn’t squat clean it.” He said, “I can’t believe you no repped me.” I still stand by that no rep.
I think the highlight of my reputation was when I got to no rep a past CrossFit Game champion. In the fall of 2011, there was a UFC event here in Houston with an expo. CrossFit had a two person team competition with it. I volunteered to judge. One of the events, I no repped Miko Salo, winner of the 2009 CrossFit Games.