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CrossFit Novem’s Athlete of the Month: Hugh

Behind the scenes with our CrossFit Novem’s Athletes of the Month, Hugh!

What got you into CrossFit?
One of my best friends and old roommate’s girlfriend back in Vegas was an avid CrossFitter. She was always trying to get me to come with her, but I was always putting her off. At the time, I was heavily into my endurance/Ironman training and didn’t really have time to consider going with her. However, after a while of her nagging and getting burnt out on swimming, biking, and running, it was time to give CrossFit a shot: I am so happy that I did. I remember my first few classes feeling like such a weakling, unless the WOD had anything to do with running; I couldn’t even clean 125lbs. However, I loved what it was doing for my fitness and my health and I love the since of community and comradery that you just don’t get any other gyms.

Name a fitness goal that you have.
I am always trying to improve myself from where I am. I wouldn’t say I have a specific weight I want to hit, I just always want to keep improving, in all aspects. My personality is always looking to strive to be the best that I can be. Maybe one day start really training hard and improving my weakest areas, to one day make it to regionals out of the open. However, I would also say one of my biggest fitness related goals now, is getting to coach wonderful people, and help them reach their own personal goals of improving themselves! Working on the CF-LVL1 certificate course here this month, so maybe I will get that opportunity soon, and then continue to improve my self and my coaching abilities.

Tell us one thing about yourself that no one in the gym knows about you.
I have a paralyzing deathly fear of snakes. Also, I have two very embarrassing videos of me from freshman year at the Air Force Academy on youtube still. Just search AF Spasmodic or Daft AF, you’re welcome.

What is your Athletic background?

Well, up until freshman year of high school, I was a pretty nonathletic and pretty pudgy little kid. I remember they would make us run a mile once a quarter for PE at my middle school, and I HATED it. Then that summer, I hit a growth spurt, but didn’t put on any weight, and weighed about 118lbs soaking wet at about the same height I am now. I looked like a skeleton looking back at pictures. However, my freshman year of high school, I really set my goal to get accepted into the Air Force Academy. So, I knew that I would have to play some sports and eventually be good enough for the Varsity team. So, knowing that my skills of little league baseball probably won’t be enough for high school, I joined the cross-country team and track team. I had an amazing coach there that always believed in me and kept pushing me. She had me train with her my sophomore year for a half marathon on the off season. When I completed that half marathon I was hooked. I worked hard through

out high school and was the team captain for the varsity cross country team. Then in college I started looking for what is next. I completed my first full marathon freshman year at the Air Force Academy, and then competed on the Air Force Academy Marathon Team. After graduation, I started getting into triathlons, and completed my first full Ironman at Ironman Louisville in 2012. Then have done two more full Ironmans: Arizona and Chattanooga. Then I switched to CrossFit about a year and half almost two years ago now and love how it is changing me and letting go a little bit of the endurance for the strength. I also got my Master’s degree in Sports and Health Sciences as well.

Favorite Benchmark, wod, and lift.
I like anything long and nasty. It is the endurance athlete it me. Anything that is long grueling and heavy, I am going to love; throw some running in and sprints in there as well to top it off. I haven’t done all the benchmarks yet, so can’t say my favorite. If you have seen me in the gym, you know I am fan of the body building lifts on the side, you know, gotta do the curls for girls or boys 🙂

How has CrossFit impacted your life?
CrossFit has had such a positive impact on my health; making me stronger and more fit than I ever believe I was when I was training for those long endurance races. Most importantly though, it has allowed me to meet some of the most kind and selfless people. The community you get with CrossFit is unmatched to anything else. Being a part of the Air Force, I am used to that with my Air Force Family, but to have a gym family as well, it’s a very special thing. I recently moved from Vegas to Philadelphia, and finding and becoming a member of Novem, made that transition for me almost seamless. I am excited to see how else CrossFit will impact my life, as I go on not only my fitness journey but also my coaching journey.

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