John Hand

"I understood what Crossfit was all about."

What brought me to CrossFit
I was getting dressed for church one day and was down and started to complain to my wife about how frustrated I was that none of my clothes fit well. They were either too tight or to big and baggy that I just felt fat. I had tried personal training at a big gym and it worked for a while but nothing ever seemed to stick long term. I was tired of the “yo-yo” lifestyle I was living with my weight and general health. My wife suggested I give CrossFit a try because a former colleague of hers did CrossFit and he was able to completely transform his physique. So I called Matt (secretly hoping he didn’t answer the phone), set up an appointment, decided to give it a shot and haven’t looked back.

First Impression
I was nervous and scared walking through the door that first day because I only knew what I saw on TV or from a YouTube video. I was expecting everyone to be in peak physical condition, lifting heavy weights and doing dozens of pull-ups or push-ups, thinking what is this guy doing here? He can’t even do a single pull-up. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone was welcoming and encouraging and nobody cared how much weight I lifted or how many pull-ups or push-ups I could do. All anyone really cared about was that you worked hard and did your best, whatever that was, and encouraged you and pushed you to keep going.

Currently Working On & How Have Goals Changed
When I started I didn’t really have any goals other than to survival. Then it became all about the weight and how much was I lifting versus someone else or whether I set a new PR this week, etc. But that all changed when I realized none of that mattered. It was about being mentally tough. Focusing on one rep at a time and doing MY best. My long term goals are to be able to start Rx’ing some of the workouts; however, in the short term I’ve really focused on improving my mental toughness, form and technique as well as working on flexibility in my lower body (hips and hamstrings) as well as in my shoulders.

Favorite Crossfit Memory
There are really two events that stand out. The first is when I was able to do an 18” box jump for the first time. When I started out I was doing just 12” box jumps and really wanted to go up in height for the WOD but was nervous. We were warming up and Matt saw me just staring at the box, afraid to jump. All I could picture was jumping, catching my feet on the box and doing a face plant right into the top of the box. Matt told me I could do it and that it was all in my head. Well I made that 18” jump and right there I knew that I could do this and that the only thing holding me back was me. The second event was from a workout during my first month there. I was starting to feel comfortable but some of the more experienced Crossfiter’s were there so was a bit intimated. I was on my last movement, box jumps, when Allen Horsnail came over and just kept encouraging me, don’t stop, keep going, one more jump. That not only made me feel good but right then I understood what Crossfit was all about.

Successes So Far
First and foremost I think what I am most proud of has nothing to do with performance or numbers but rather it’s the mental toughness and confidence you develop simply finishing a Matt Kirkendall designed WOD which I thought was impossible. Next it’s all of the firsts – first pull up; first double under; first hand stand; first rope climb.


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