Introducing our July Member of the month: Mac!
Mac has always been a consistent presence at the gym pushing big weight and going all out in the workouts. But, his new found focus on nutrition and attacking other aspects of his fitness has led to some big gains. Doing all of this in the midst of the pandemic made his story even more inspiring. Read below to learn more about Mac.
Why did you join CrossFit 414?
I had worked out at CF Milwaukee for a few years after relocating to Milwaukee, but then it closed and I was looking for a new box. However, I ended up breaking my fibula in a softball game, so that knocked me out for a few months. Paru had joined CF414 and she really liked the community, so I joined up in the fall as soon as my leg healed up in Fall 2015.
Are you a Milwaukee local?
We’ve lived in Milwaukee since 2011 when Paru got a professorship at UWM. However, our roots are in Chicago. We’ve also lived in Houston and St. Paul.
Tell us a little bit about your fitness journey. Where have you noticed success? What milestones have you achieved since joining CrossFit 414?
I always a husky kid (this was reinforced as a kid, as I shopped for clothing in the “Huskies” section of Sears). I played team sports in junior high and high school and even though I wasn’t a starter, I loved the camaraderie of practices and road trips, and I loved competing. After college, I’d bounce from gym to gym depending on where I lived and gravitated to group classes. (I was pretty decent at Step Aerobics.) It wasn’t until 2010 when we were living in St. Paul when I got introduced to CrossFit. One of the trainers at our gym was starting a CrossFit box, and we decided to join up. Being a member of a box reminded me of being on a team again, and I loved learning about lifting and trying gymnastic moves. Probably for the first few years I was working hard and trying RX every WOD. I’d say for the last 2-3 years, I’ve doing CrossFit more to maintain rather than make new PRs.
When I had my physical in January, I learned that I was at 251 lbs. While I was going somewhat consistently to CrossFit, I was approaching my nutrition as if I was still in my 20s even though I was in my 40s. When the quarantine hit, I ended up working from home and with more time on my hands, so I decided to recommit to my fitness. CF414 got me off to a good start by providing a variety of tracks of home workouts, and lending me equipment like the Concept 2, kettlebells and barbells and weights. Running has always been my weakest skill during WODs, so I decided to drill into that as the weather was getting better and I needed to shed weight anyway. As of April 1, I was down to 247 lbs. This early success was nice, but I knew I had to ramp up the diet/nutrition aspect. Paru had done a similar journey a few years ago, so she schooled me on macros and I started using a food diary and counting calories.
As I’d drop weight, my workouts would get more productive, and then that would lead to feeling better and become a virtuous circle. By May 1, I was down to 239. June 1, I was down to 228. While working out from home was productive, CF414 reopening was a boost, cause I’m able to get back to doing barbell WODs and strength lifting 3 times a week. As of July 1, I’m at 215, and I can’t remember when I’ve weighed this much. I had made a target of 206, because that would be dropping 45 lbs at age 45. However, I’m happy to move past that number if I can keep this going.
What encourages you to keep coming back?
While hitting a number is great, I’m really looking forward to being able to do strict pullups. I’ve been doing banded pullups now, and dropping the weight has made it possible for me to do them unassisted. I’d also love to do a true handstand pushup, toes to bar, or even a muscle up. These are CF moves that I’ve always had to mod, but now that I’ve dropped the weight, I can envision myself executing them.
Plus, it’s a great group of athletes. Over the past 10 years, I’ve probably dropped in at 30 boxes across the country, and I’d put CF414 among the top because the community is so welcoming, and the coaching blends both rigor and support.
How has CF414 helped you in your line of work? What do you tell yourself before starting a challenging workout?
What I’ve learned from CrossFit is that you can find yourself in the middle of a WOD, and it can be an absolute doom space. Like it feels like there’s 20 minutes left, or that it’s only the first 2 rounds of a 10 rounder. That’s the moment where I’ve just learned to take a breath, and focus on the best rep I can do in the moment. Then, do that again. Then do that again. And then at some point, I’ll be done with the WOD. It’s almost like a Buddhist presence type thing. And, this helps me with my work in the sense that I’m charged with building and crafting ambitious initiatives, and instead of getting overwhelmed I just focus on how I can be in the best and highest use in this moment, and then just try to link as many of those micro-actions in a row. Man, I remember I had to put together one of those Ikea furniture pieces that had like 80 steps and 100 parts. I found myself in the doom-space halfway through trying to decipher the instructions, but then I just thought this is like a chipper WOD – just keep chopping wood and focus on each step.
For people who haven’t joined yet, what would you tell them?
What I love about CrossFit is not that it’s comprised of elite athletes, but rather it’s comprised of people who aspire to challenge themselves, and work hard. It’s so great just to be in that type of community. If you’re thinking about it or on the fence, odds are you’re ready for it. Hope to see you at the next WOD!