Wednesday Wins: Ian R


Today we celebrate one of our hardest working and most dedicated athletes, Ian R.. Today, he’s one of those guys that shows up regularly, puts in the work and uses CrossFit to live life to the fullest. But wow, how his perspective has changed since he came in the door!

He grew up here in Columbia and grew up fairly athletic. “This area is conducive to healthy living and I enjoyed running and swimming and then did triathlons for many years. I did them mostly for fun. I didn’t have competitive aspirations, I just really liked the variety.”

Ten years ago I moved away from the area and it wasn’t at all what I was used to. I didn’t have inspiring places to run. I didn’t have easy access to a pool. And for the next five or six years, my fitness fell off. Then came family and kids. All of this made it easy to find excuses and it was hard to find the time.”

 “Then life pivoted again and he found himself back in Columbia. “When I moved back here I started to run again. But age was catching up with me. I didn’t enjoy it like I did before. So for the last three years, I went to a ‘regular’ gym.   I go in the doors with programming in my head for that day, but that didn’t mean I’d actually DO the programming. Some days I worked hard, some days I didn’t. I wasn’t getting anywhere.

 It seemed that every day there were more people there and less I could do. I remember clearly that it was a Monday. I walked in and literally couldn’t do anything I wanted. I spent 20 minutes waiting for each piece of equipment and it was so frustrating I just left.

 I was driving home and saw the sign for the Cove. I had no idea what CrossFit was really about. I occasionally saw the games on ESPN and was fascinated. It was entertaining for sure, so it caught my attention. It was so different than anything I’d seen. I couldn’t figure out what they were doing. But I saw the sign, turned in the lot and walked in the door. I distinctly recall walking in and watching a group of people do fireman’s carries. I saw people doing back squats and then realized that these people weren’t just working out on their own, there was a coach and it was a class!

 Julie showed me around and I stuck around to see some more. I then remember the clock counting down, the music getting loud and people were doing box jumps and sit-up and I watched for six minutes.   At the end of it everyone was done and lying on the ground and I was like ‘what the heck just happened?! There’s got to be something to this!’”

Instead of running out the door, he jumped in with an open mind and a desire to learn. Ian is pretty much a coach’s dream. He listens, he adjusts and he works on his weaknesses. But that wasn’t always the case.

“In the past, if something was difficult I didn’t do it. But after doing wall balls my first class, I couldn’t move and I was actually mad at myself. I had avoided leg workouts in my former life and now I was kicking myself. That’s one of the things I like most about CrossFit — it makes do things I normally wouldn’t do. I don’t decide. You decide for me. I never avoid a workout or movement and I’m actually enjoying the things that are hard. It makes me more well-rounded.”

You’ll see Ian before class and during Open Gym constantly working on things that are challenges for him. And his victories didn’t all come easily, but he never loses focus. “I really wanted to do kipping pull ups. I thought to myself, however long it will take me, I’ll come in before class until I get more proficient at it.”. So he did. And his pull-ups look great! “I do Turkish get ups b/c Coach Chris told me it’s a great total body workout and works accessory muscles to make my shoulders healthy”.

And it all continues to pay off. “I never thought I’d be able to do a handstand push up. It took me two months of practicing different progressions and building shoulder strength. Or toes to bar! I used to swing around on that bar but I took my coach’s cues. I asked a lot of questions. I even got advice from other members. And even though the Internet can be dangerous, there are some great YouTube videos”.

We asked him about getting more competitive with CrossFit or even doing triathlons again. “I don’t really have an interest in competitions. CrossFit is one of the few things I do for myself. I respect those that do compete, but I’m only here to make myself better and healthier.”

“Plus I have a VERY long list of things I want to work on. So many that they wouldn’t fit on the goal board! I don’t think I’ll get back into triathlons in the near term. I used to love them because there are such a variety of movements, but now I look back and laugh because it was only THREE.  CrossFit has a hundred. And you always have a new wrinkle to add in terms of more weight and moving faster that the variations are infinite.”

“CrossFit and the Cove have completely changed my perspective on exercise. I never snatched or cleaned in my life . I haven’t jumped rope since middle school. Even after a busy day, I never regret coming. Overall I have a lot more energy. I’m a lot happier. Being fit is a big booster for my confidence. And as my son gets older I want him to be active. I see kids that just sit on the couch – but I want him to be active and fit. He doesn’t’ have to do a sport… I just want him to do something he loves. “

Amazing advice from an exceptional athlete: Be fit and do what you love.