Athlete of the MonthMarch

Charles Shapiro

How old / young are you?
34

What is your occupation?
Software Engineer

When did you join Widespread CrossFit?
December 2015

Why did you decide to give CrossFit a try?
I wasn’t overly familiar with what CrossFit was, but had noticed the gym going to/from Safeway.  I looked it up online and there were lots of great reviews.  I also thought a more quaint atmosphere may be good for me and provide a little more accountability.  

What was your athletic background before starting CrossFit?
Mainly running before enlisting in the Marine Corps.  In the Marine Corps, there was lots more running, but also a heavy emphasis on strength through body resistance.  Since getting out (almost 14 years), it’s been very sporadic.  More running, a couple bouts with P90x, and lots of not working out.  Somehow I managed to get through a marathon in 2013, but this was again followed by a long period of not working out. 

What changes in your health, physique, and overall performance have you seen since starting CrossFit?
Lots….  I had terrible blood pressure in recent years, which is scary, but in just a few months, it’s now down well below the “healthy” standard.  About 6 weeks in, I started a diet to go along with the workouts, and I’m now down almost 30 lbs.  In the first workouts, I was struggling for air all the time, but now I’m keeping up and usually able to get an Rx at least once a week.

What advice would you give to someone with regards to starting CrossFit?
It’s awesome and you should do it.  Any time the discussion comes up, I mainly just talk about all of the benefits I’ve already experienced.  It sort of sells itself.  I also really like the overall atmosphere; very supportive, accountable, and encouraging.

What is your favorite and least favorite CrossFit exercises / movement?
I started really hating burpees, but feel like I’m sort of coming around to tolerate them.  Right now, I really struggle with double unders.  It’s amazing to watch some of the other folks who do them for the actual workout, seeing them struggle, but watching them get better.  It gives me some courage to go after them myself in future workouts.
In terms of favorite, I really like the rope climb; it’s very fulfilling to get to the top.  Also, I like working on pull-ups; again, very fulfilling as you watch your personal best go up.

What is your most memorable CrossFit moment so far?
I really struggled with wall-walks.  One morning, we had them for warm up, and I pushed back and was surprised to find myself upside down against the wall.

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?
Hanging out and playing with my kids.  In terms of physical activities: basketball, skiing, indoor climbing, tennis, and mountain biking.

What is your favorite “cheat” food or meal?
I really like hanging out and drinking with friends on the weekends.  I stopped drinking for the first six weeks of the diet, but have started adding the “cheat” back in once or twice a week. 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I dropped out of Columbine High School when I was 15 to top off my crazy teenage years and ended up enlisting in the Marine Corps right after I turned 17.  This decision caused me to not be present on the day of the massacre.

Who or what inspires you the most?
My family inspires me to stay alive and be healthy.  My wife has always set a great example on making fitness/health a priority and establishing a healthy balance with food.  This is something I’ve always struggled with, but she has continued to be a great anchor in this area that I can always rely on for support.

What is one goal you would like to accomplish through CrossFit?
To not die and to be around to enjoy a healthy life with my family.