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Archive for the Why I Wod Category

Well That’s Something I Never Thought I’d Do

Yesterday I did something that I never thought I’d do. In fact, it wasn’t something I’d ever thought about doing, it just kinda happened. I went to an audition for a commercial. The thought of me as a model/actor is hilarious. But hey, why not? The last year has seen me do a lot of things I never thought I’d do so why not add to the tally.

The Crossfit gym where it went down. Sprinting around those boxes was involved.

The Crossfit gym where it went down. Sprinting around those boxes was involved.

Of course everyone there looked like a fitness model except me. I looked like I was there for a Dunkin Donuts ad compared to the rest of the group. But as my friend Tina who also went said, “It doesn’t matter if I’m chosen; what matters is I walked into that gym with actors and models and still felt like a million bucks!”

While we weren’t given any details other than Reebok is looking for CrossFitters and runners, I’m sure the ad is part of their new Be More Human campaign. It’s marketing genius. Regular people, not professional athletes, working out to be better at life, not just fitness. It’s about why we grind day in and day out. Most of us will never be elite athletes but we want to be healthier, more capable, and generally better humans. Read more

So I Didn’t Completely Fail in 2014

Today is January 9th, so if you made a resolution to get fit, you may actually still be on track. If so, keep going. If not, get on it NOW! You still have 97.5% of the year left. I started about this time last year (“Why I Started Crossfit”). My first Elements class (On-Ramp, whatever your Crossfit Box calls it) was on January 7th, so Wednesday was my one year anniversary. What a year it has been. The day before, on day 365, I completed my 150th workout!

Flickr image by Runar Eilertsen

Flickr image by Runar Eilertsen

I seriously doubted my ability to stay with it. I’d tried countless times before and never made it more than six weeks. The last year was supposed to be about weight loss. In retrospect, that became the secondary theme. If I had to pick a word to describe the past year, it would be “knowledge”. Here are a few of the things I learned.

The Number One Goal

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Feature Friday: Interview with Joe Hancuff

Feature Friday: Interview with Joe Hancuff

While most of this site so far has been a chronicle of my journey, I’m not the only one out there getting results. Early on I decided that I’d like to showcase other athletes and regular people making changes to their lifestyle as well. About 7 weeks into my workout program, my coach sent me a picture from Facebook of a guy that looked just like me 10 months earlier. We had a similar build, shaved head, and goatee.


His name was Joe Hancuff and he had made one crazy transformation in that short time. His transformation picture on Facebook went viral and within a few days, the folks from Crossfit headquarters had contacted him for an interview.

He later earned an invite to try out for the new National Pro Fitness League. He has gone on to get his Crossfit Level 1 certification, was a judge for the 2014 Regionals, and is in the progress of opening his own place. Over the last 5 months, we’ve exchanged comments on social media, Facebook messages, and emails.

When I decided to profile others, Joe was the first guy that came to mind. He graciously agreed to an interview.

Welcome to Feature Friday

NSB: How about a quick personal bio?

Joe: I’m an IT guy turned CrossFit trainer based out of Columbia, Maryland focusing on getting my gym, Serenity Strength and Movement, open and running to help others do as I have done and reclaim their humanity. I’m 34 years old, married father of 3. Through CrossFit and fitness, I have found my true calling in life.

NSB: And how long has it been since you started your transformation?

Joe: As of the day of this writing, 1 year, 3 months, 23 days and counting.


NSB: You were featured on the front page of the Crossfit Games website. How did that happen?

Joe: I had looked at myself the mirror every day since I had started CrossFit and yes, I saw change. But the actual CONTRAST of that change hadn’t been made apparent to me until I’d seen some photos of myself from a local throwdown and one of my co-workers had dropped a photo of myself around 350 lbs from a conference 18 or so months past. Read more

6 Months In: Has It Been Worth It?

6 Months In: Has It Been Worth It?

It’s hard to believe time flies like it does. In some ways it feels like I’ve been working out longer than 6 months. But when I think back, it seems like just yesterday that I couldn’t finish a lap around the building. One day at a time really adds up before you know it. This journey has been a lot of hard work, and it hasn’t exactly been smooth. But has it been worth all the effort?

About 6 weeks into my workout routine. Still round.

Taken during the Open about 6 weeks into my workout routine. Still round as a medicine ball at this point.

On January 6th I weighed 277lbs (according to the scale at my office which is where I officially weigh once per week). So even though Sunday was 6 months, yesterday was the weigh in. I figure 48 hours probably doesn’t mean much in the course of 6 months. Read more



A couple of days ago I made mention of my time at the Globo Gym. Quite possibly the biggest reason that environment didn’t work for me was that I absolutely hate cardio. I tried it. I didn’t like it. We decided not to be friends. And guess what, I got Flabby And Tired (see what I did there?).

My face when I see the WOD

Flickr image by Abhisek Sarda

Flickr image by Abhisek Sarda

Cardio Hates Me. It’s Mutual

Elementary school was my peak of fitness. I played soccer and rode bikes any time I wasn’t in school. And then video game systems really became common. I wasn’t a big gamer, but I could waste hours if given the opportunity. Add in the fact that I grew to love air conditioning during Texas summers and outdoor play and exercise began to fade away. Then in high school, the Internet appeared (thanks Al Gore). Read more

Finshing Last: Why I Wod

Finshing Last: Why I Wod

Why I Started Crossfit

Why I Started Crossfit

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the reasons why I WOD. Here is the first installment:


Flickr image by Adrià Ariste Santacreu

Am I Doing This?

Before getting started I was worried about some physical problems from being so out of shape and if I’d be able to handle the workouts, but I also figured getting in shape was the only way my issues were going to get any better. So I lied, and said I wouldn’t quit. The reality is I had no idea if I’d be able to stick with it. But I was tired of being out of shape and struggling to find clothes that fit.

Day One

That is how long it took for me to get hooked. You don’t just jump into classes in Crossfit. You have to go to a couple of training sessions with a coach to learn the movements, terminology, and assess your level of fitness and skill (or lack thereof in my case). Some boxes (CF calls their gym a box) call the class On Ramp. My box calls it Elements. It’s a two-day boot camp designed to kill you, or so it seemed at the time.

I was told we’d go through movements and do a workout. I did enough air squats that I couldn’t walk right for days. Every muscle in my body hurt. And I liked it. I knew that this would get me in shape. But that isn’t what hooked me. It happened during the 400 meter run.

If you ever saw me running in the past, there was either a food truck ahead of me, or zombies behind me. In college I learned to fight because I knew there was no way I was going to run if I ever got into a bad situation. I hate it that much.

My run went well for about the first 20 meters. Then I started to suffer. I couldn’t breathe. My shins started to hurt. I was winded beyond belief. Every time a foot hit the ground I felt my fat drop like someone was throwing cement bags on me.

I think I made it 50 meters before I had to walk. Then I walked 20 meters, jogged 20 meters, walked 30, etc. I don’t think the coach really believed how out of shape I was until she saw me run. Here’s where it got interesting.

Coach to the Rescue

When she saw how much trouble I was having, my coach came out to meet me. She gave me specific distances to walk, then run. She coached me through more of that run than I ever would have thought I was capable of. When my mind said quit, she showed me that my body could do more. I was exhausted when I got back, but I knew this environment could push me past my mental barriers and self-imposed limitations.

The Fight Continues

I still fight this on a daily basis, but I’m getting better. When I want to stop I ask myself if it’s because I can’t go on or because I don’t want to. I try not to give up until I give out. I haven’t chased away all the demons, but I’m to the point where I can look them in the eye.

I still hate running. When I started, I couldn’t make a lap around the building. A couple of months in and I made all six laps during the workout. Not much longer and I completed my first 400m run without stopping. I still struggle, but I’ve made a lot of improvement. My next goal is an unbroken mile run. I just wish I wasn’t gearing up for it just as summer in Texas is about to hit us!

This Is My Happy Hour

This Is My Happy Hour


A Typical Day In The Box

Here is a great article about what it’s like to do Crossfit.