Originally written by Trident athlete Ericka Andersen on her blog The Sweet Life.

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Mr. Johnny Thomas mid-WOD.

Trident CrossFit Athlete Johnny Thomas lost 25 pounds and lowered his blood pressure

One of the great things about writing spotlights on people at gym is that I get to know people I wouldn’t normally — and I love that!

Johnny Thomas is a retired Army Veteran that attends the 5:15am class at Trident every morning. Now, I’m early morning — but 5:15 just isn’t my jam (though occasionally, it has to be done!). That being said, I probably would never have struck up a conversation with Johnny since our classes are at different times.

Like a good number of others at Trident, Johnny’s military service has got my utmost respect and like many others in the military, CrossFit is his fitness of choice. He aims to make it a priority too, getting to the early class before heading to work at the Department of Defense to start his work day.

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Johnny’s been coming to Trident regularly since this past summer and proven that CrossFit weight loss is the real deal. He’s also discovered, like so many of us, what a wonderful community we have here. That’s why it’s important to get to know one another and learn how CrossFit as made our lives better.

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1. Have you always been athletic?
I have participated in athletics my entire life and I have never been hesitant to try different sports. From High School Athletics to intramurals in college to my Army unit teams and county teams; I have been active.

2. When did you first hear about CrossFit and why did you decide to try it?
I knew of CrossFit from the ESPN telecasts, but never considered it a possibility for me until recently. This past summer, I mentioned to my wife that I needed to get serious about exercise. The next day she handed me a Trident business card and, after some research, I noticed the schedule — especially the 5:00am classes. That is what initially brought me in but the people, atmosphere — and specifically the instruction — sold me on Trident.

3. How has CrossFit improved your health? Can you talk about the Whole Life challenge that caused you to lose weight?
CrossFit has definitely improved my health. In addition to losing 25 pounds since beginning in July, I have reduced my waist size by six inches and lowered my blood pressure. My doctor took me off the cholesterol medicine in November and I will return in February to verify that I can permanently remain off the medicine.

I began the Whole Live Challenge two months after starting CrossFit and it was an ideal compliment to my workouts. Whole Life’s nutritional chart added the food component to my health commitment by showing me that most of the things I eat are, in fact, healthy — especially the meat, poultry and fish. I did eliminate the grains, starches, corn, soy, sugars and rice. Most importantly, WLC made me prepare my weekly menu on Sunday. Finally, I continue to track what I am eating on a daily basis using the WLC point system.

**FYI: A new Whole Life Challenge begins January 17th — details here!**

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4. How have you changed since starting CrossFit?
I am working out consistently again. I retired from the Army in 2003 and that was the last time I included exercising (outside of participating in the County Softball Leagues or Coaching) as part of my daily routine.

5. What do you love about CrossFit and why is it different than other fitness activities?

  • The instruction before each class and WOD.
  • That all exercises are scalable or there is substitute.
  • The diversity of the WOD.
  • The WODs are short but intense.
  • The positive vibe in each class.

6. What is your favorite WOD? Least favorite WOD?

My favorite:  Anything with push-ups and team workouts. I like the Chelsea and the Smallpox.  I also liked the following WOD:

EMOM for 16

Minutes:

Odd Minutes:

10 Slamball, 10

Push ups

Even Minutes:

200M Erg Sprint

(175W)

I would not say least favorite — but an exercise I want to perform is the overhead squat. Along with the Snatch, it is a work in progress.

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7. What’s one major goal you’ve accomplished through CrossFit?
Simple, I have improved my health, whether measured by weight lost, inches lost or blood pressure; all of my numbers have improved.

8. What would you say to those considering trying CrossFit for the first time?
Stay with it and do not give up on yourself — especially those days when the body hurts or you are having trouble with certain exercises

9. How does staying fit contribute to your life?
One point I have not mentioned: CrossFit has helped me in other activities such as golf, running and completing my “honey do list.”

10. What kind of diet do you eat? Do you advocate any certain way of eating?
Since beginning the Whole Life Challenge in September, I have used the performance level as my dietary guide eliminating the grains, starches, corn, soy, sugars and rice.

I was surprised that I did not miss those items (except being from the south, I missed my weekend breakfast of grits or pancakes). I do not advocate any definite way of eating (everyone is different), but similar to working out something you can consistently maintain.

11. Any athletic role models? Favorite CrossFitter?
I have always been a big baseball fan and I enjoy watching those athletes. However, I like all sports and enjoy watching any World Class Athlete perform their craft.

What has impressed me the most is the dedication and the athletic ability of the people I workout with everyday at 5:15.

12. Anything else interesting you might want to add that I forgot to ask about?
I need some new clothes.

So…anyone have any suggestions for where Johnny can get some new clothes? I’ll throw mine out there — love me some Reebok CrossFit gear (of course!).

When I first started CrossFit, I thought — now I have to buy special shoes? After you’re hooked, though, the shoes are kind of just part of the drill.

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Check out out other Trident CrossFit athlete spotlights:

Got a recommendation for Member of the month? Feel free to email me at ericka.andersen@gmail.com


This blogpost was originally posted by Trident athlete Ericka Andersen on her site sweetlifeericka.com

Workout of the Day at Trident (You can see me, nose to the ground, behind the #30 box)

Been loving my crossfit workouts the past two weeks. Could it be because they have included lots of running? Probably.

Lots of shoulder work, rounds and reps of moves I really enjoy like push press, clean and jerks, toe to bars and kettle bell swings.

I feel awesome and strong when I do these things. I walk away sore and feeling accomplished.

And yet…

I am disappointed in my personal progress. I’m really trapped in the comparison game.

I read how many reps others have gotten in the Open — the crossfit bloggers I read — and I feel so weak.

One girl I know just started a few weeks ago and started OFF doing higher weights than me.

I’m not trying to be a body builder. But, I feel like it takes more effort for me to build muscle than a normal person. I’ve been back at Crossfit for three months now and I feel no real change. My arms still look completely untoned.

I couldn’t even get one rep in the Open last week (because the prescribed weight was too heavy so my reps didn’t count) — it’s very discouraging.

While I knew that I wasn’t signing up to win a thing when I entered the Open, it still puts a certain mentality in your head.

Competition. 

I also wonder — am I missing something? Am I doing something wrong? I go 4-5 times a week — should I be doing other exercises (aside from the supplemental running I already add)?

I don’t know. Maybe my body is just used to working out and is resistant to changing form. After all, I’ve been doing these for years:

And I know I shouldn’t focus on this. I do crossfit because it makes me feel awesome — I love the variety, the intensity, the fun.

Even so, I’d like to have toned arms for all the work I put into them.

This has been a real whine-fest, hasn’t it? Just a moment to share my frustrations. Many many more important things in life but for this moment, I’m venting.

Ericka
The Sweet Life