January 2015 Spotlight Athlete: Steve Blakley
What made you decide to start CrossFit?
Joe Meyer, a fellow employee from Minnesota, told me I had to check out some CrossFit videos on YouTube. I started watching them and was immediately hooked. My plan was to join a box after we moved to Florida and I retired. This motivated me to lose 35 pounds and get in the best shape of my life so I would be ready for whatever CrossFit threw at me. Of course, early on, I found out you are never really prepared for CrossFit until you start doing the WODs. As a side note I visited 6 CrossFit boxes and Strongpoint was an easy choice because I could tell coach Ryan was very passionate about CrossFit. I know I made a great choice.
What results have you seen or goals have you achieved?
I’ve seen steady improvement in my strength and mobility. I think my gymnastic and weight lifting movements have improved.
What do you like best about the gym?
I really like going to the gym and finding out what’s going on with everyone. My CrossFit friends have taken the place of my coworkers since I retired. Everyone at the 9:00 class gives each other crap so it’s just a fun place to be. Being a CrossFit geek I like talking about everyone’s injuries, mobility issues and finding out what jump rope, weight lifting shoes and knee caps to buy. I want to get better so I like learning from coach Ryan how to do the various movements. He is a stickler for details and is always working with us on ways to improve. Coach does his home work.
What is your favorite exercise or WOD?
I like pull ups because they are a strength of mine and thrusters because it’s such a total body exercise. Sounds like Fran to me. Double unders and running are also a favorite.
What is your least favorite exercise or WOD?
Due to mobility issues, the overhead squat leads the list of my least favorite exercises.
What motivates you to show up day after day?
I’m addicted to exercise so I don’t have a choice. I need the exercise drug or I go through withdrawals. Even as a kid I remember going for runs in the country. This was before running was popular. Then my dad bought a weight set for me when I was in 7th grade so I started lifting at an early age.
What negative thoughts hold you back from being your best?
I tend to doubt my capabilities. Sometimes I feel like I’m not ready for something unless I over prepare. I need to just jump in and trust myself.
What has been your most memorable moment at Strongpoint CrossFit?
My first workout of the 2014 CrossFit open was very exciting. The workout was an AMRAP of double unders and floor to overhead. I just got my double unders 2 weeks before the workout and was coming off a shoulder injury so I didn’t think I’d do very well but I ended up 1st in the region and 42nd in the world.
What has been your least favorite moment at Strongpoint CrossFit?
For some reason Monday of my second week at Strongpoint stands out. The first week I did pretty good so I started to get a big head. Then I ran into my first chest to bar workout. They just crushed me and I remember leaving the gym not wanting to come back. Now I’m a chest to bar champ. The lesson being ‘keep trying and you’ll get better’. I’ve had a couple injuries to my shoulder and back that were really frustrating. Now I do a much better job at warming up (30 minutes before I leave for the gym) and I’ve been working on my core so I should have less injuries in the future.
What’s one thing that no one at the gym knows about you?
I’ve run 3 marathons with a best time of 3:10. I was never fast but pretty good at holding on to a pace no matter how bad I felt.
What is your favorite quote from Strongpoint CrossFit?
I always have to laugh when Ryan says “just do whatever you want”. “Leave your ego at the door” is also a good one. I enjoy my workout much better when I concentrate on improving myself instead of worrying about beating someone next to me.
What do you want to accomplish with your training in the next year?
I’d be happy with increasing my strength and overall endurance. One of these years I’ll just be happy with maintaining my strength but I don’t think that time has come yet.
What advice would you give to someone who just started out?
Warm up properly, work on your mobility, start out with light weights until you can perfect the movement and leave your ego at the door.
What advice would give to someone who was on the fence about starting?
If you’re looking for a workout that will kick you in the ass and you can be proud of then you’ve come to the right place, if not then I’d recommend water aerobics at LA Fitness.
Coach’s Comments: Put simply, “Mr. Steve” is an absolute workhorse! He came into the gym with a great fitness base built on a lifetime of physical activity and just keeps adding to it. He meticulously works on his weaknesses and can routinely be found in the back of the gym before and after classes practicing his “goats.” Steve was the first “home grown” member of Strongpoint to qualify for the second stage of the CrossFit Games when he was selected for the 2014 Masters’ Qualifier, which is similar to Regional competition for Masters’ athletes, and was featured in the local magazine 904 Fitness the same month. Steve also recently earned his Jacksonville Running Company Elite ranking through regular participation in group runs. And if you didn’t figure it out from reading his answers above, he has a really great sense of humor too! It is for these reasons and more that Steve has become a real ambassador for the program and a standout member of our morning classes. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the future and seeing him make some noise in the Masters’ in 2015!