Athlete of the MonthSeptember

Mark Callahan

How old / young are you? 43

What is your occupation? I’m a marketing leader at Twitter out of the @TwitterBoulder office

When did you join Widespread CrossFit? I joined Widespread fairly soon after Matt and Kari opened their doors 4 years ago. I saw the name and logo on the signs out front and figured, “If a hippie is running this joint, it has to be a pretty chill gym… sign me up!”

Why did you decide to give CrossFit a try? I started CrossFit 5 or 6 years ago at my then-girlfriend Alayna’s suggestion. (Read: not-so-casual urging) My guess was that she didn’t want to date an out-of-shape dude you kept telling her about all the athletic things that he used to do. I fell in love with CrossFit’s mixed routines and being able to attempt movements again I’d not done since I was a kid. (Spoiler: I fell in love with the girl, too!)

What was your athletic background before starting CrossFit I’d tell you that I was a life-long athlete, but Alayna would tell you “only if he was  counting until age 25!!” I played lacrosse and soccer in High School and College and was a ski racer until I blew out my knee (repeatedly) and switched to snowboarding. I lived in Vail for a number of years running a snowboard shop and chasing the “really good kids”. I figured I must still be in decent shape if I could hold my own on the hill, but lost sight of how much weight I gained and my loss of mobility off a snowboard.

What changes in your health, physique, and overall performance have you seen since starting CrossFit? Adulting quickly caught up with me in my late 20’s and 30’s, and I focused more on career than my health and fitness. I was a start-up junkie who started a couple of small tech companies over the years, and the more I sat at a computer the more I looked like someone who sat at a computer. A lot. Somewhere along the line I managed to hit almost 270 lbs (!!!) and yet I still managed to woo Alayna with my wit and charm. Since starting Crossfit, I’ve lost 50 of those pounds and have regained a crazy amount of energy and flexibility that I never thought I’d see again. More importantly, though, I’ve gained the right kind of Dad Bod along the way… the kind that means I can keep up with Sage (2yrs) and Harlow (9 weeks) and continue to be an active and healthy father for them both.

What advice would you give to someone with regards to starting CrossFit? Find your own “Hippie Gym” where folks are super friendly and laid back and care about you as a person and your individual goals. CrossFit looks intimidating as all get out from the outside, and I’m sure some gyms purposefully foster that culture. Widespread is none of those bad things (attitude, the-wrong-kind-of-tattoos, bro brah cool guys) and all of the good things (normal people doing awesome things, loads of support, tons of laughs, a brown dog).

What is your favorite and least favorite CrossFit exercises / movement? My favorite exercise, hands-down, is rowing. It’s just my jam. The ones I don’t necessarily like but respect are the ones I’m just now finally starting to figure out. I’m looking at you, Double-Unders! My least favorite? Burpees make me barf.

What is your most memorable CrossFit moment so far Casually knocking out my first, then my second, then my 50th Double-Under after a couple of years of trying. (You see, I was born with no rhythm.) My other one is when Matt told me I just PR’d something and it actually felt like I could do it again better/faster/stronger.

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit? Snowboard, fly fish, ride bikes, go to Home Depot

What is your favorite “cheat” food or meal? Coors Light (Don’t hate, don’t judge)

What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I was THIS close to being one of the contestants on the first season of “The Apprentice”… no joke.

Who or what inspires you the most? My wife, Alayna, is hands down the most inspiring person in my life. She challenges me to be a better, fitter person every day and she makes me laugh until that Coors Light is coming out of my nose. (She also happens to be one hell of an amazing mommy!)

What is one goal you would like to accomplish through CrossFit Just to keep getting stronger, better, faster and fitter… and to be the most active dad I can be for these crazy new kiddos. Oh, and to keep having fun at CrossFit all the while!