The Member of the Month Interview
When did your CrossFit journey first begin?
I'd never heard of Crossfit, but stumbled on to the CM2 website whilst searching for a local gym. It looked more interesting than what I had in mind when I started looking. I did a one to one foundations course in March 2016, where I was introduced to the fundamentals by Rob and Lewis - I've been hooked pretty much from day 1.
When you first joined CM2, you struggled with an ongoing back issue. To start with, handling the training bar was a real struggle for you. When and how did this all change?
That's right, it was taking a while to straighten my back out each morning. I'd had some disc problems several years ago and put it down to that - but generally I was in physical decline as I'm no spring chicken and wasn't exercising since I gave up squash around 2008.
After I joined, Rob put me in contact with Chris Branch who looked at my back and told me to man-up. Only joking - he reassured me that working on strength and flexibility would benefit. Since day 1, it's been a continuous gradual improvement. With the help of the coaches I just scaled the exercises and concentrated on technique within the range of motion I could achieve. The other day I was back squatting with a good depth and it felt great!
What is your favourite movement?
Because my back wasn't great when I joined, I really struggled with Deadlifts and Squats. I love doing these movements now because both my strength and mobility have really improved - it gives me an extra buzz to reflect on the change.
What is your least favourite movement / workout ?
If there is a metcon with a lot of Thrusters in it, I know my heart will be pounding like crazy, so I do have a bit of dread before we start, but that just makes the high afterwards all the better!
When you are not at CM2 training with us, what are you busy doing?
I'm often running my youngest to football training and matches, doing odd jobs around the house or walking the dog. I get out for the odd beer, meal, cinema trip or live band, and like to practice guitar.
What is your favourite part of being a member of CM2?
Every time I leave the box I've had a chat with someone, learnt something new or improved on something and pushed myself harder than I would if I was on my own. The help and advice I get from the coaches and the variation of exercises and workouts keep it all really fresh and motivating. It's not just about throwing weights about - I also enjoy the gymnastic and mobility drills and I am often inspired to investigate these more in my own time. I sometimes regret I did not discover this way to exercise (and this gym) earlier in life - but I am thankful for the present, the great coaching I receive, and I am learning things to stand me in good stead for the future.
If you could give any new member a piece of advice, what would it be?
Aim for consistency. If that means taking it a bit easier or avoiding certain exercises, then so be it. I've never regretted getting into the box, even if I had some doubts that morning. I'd also say that working on your mobility should go beyond what is done in the classes, as we only get a short time for that.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself...
I could cook you a good chilli, make a Long Island Iced tea cocktail and then play you a tune on my guitar - what more would you want of an evening!
What are your training targets and goals for 2017?
Firstly, I need to fix my sore shoulder - because I have some targets on the Olympic lifts to achieve. I want to be doing all the workouts at RX - that might take me beyond 2017 though!
What did the CM2 Coaches have to say?
"I had the pleasure of coaching Gareth during some of his Foundations sessions. It's amazing to think back to how limited his range of motion was. He couldn't squat below parallel and we had to learn the Olympic lifts from the hang position because he was unable to get in a safe pick-up position from the ground. I recommended that he book an appointment to see Osteopath Chris Branch. Chris not only treated Gareth but offered guidance to help us decide how to approach Gareth's training. I believe that, in this case, Gareth's willingness to get an expert opinion and follow the guidance probably played a key role in his steady progress and eventually being able up to perform both olympic lifts from the floor using the full-squat variations. Gareth is a great student, attentive, diligent and driven to improve. Given the problems Gareth had with his back when he first started we have always emphasised that he focus on quality of movement and range of motion even at the expense of intensity. I believe this approach has served him well and will continue to do so in the future. Finally, Gareth always seems genuinely happy to be in the gym and can always be found wearing the smile you see in the picture above, this makes him a pleasure to coach."
“Gareth has come such a long way. I remember taking him through his foundations about a year ago and he honestly struggled Deadlifting an empty bar without being in real discomfort. More recently, I recall Gareth hitting a 70kg Clean and Jerk in a CM2 Social Lifting event… simply incredible! Gareth always puts in 100% but never gets carried away. He trains smart and always recognises that being patient will allow him to keep moving in the right direction. Keep up the good work Gareth - It’s always a pleasure to work with you."
"Gareth is excellent to coach. From where he was when he started, having a back injury that limited his range of motion on almost everything, to now being able to Snatch and Clean & Jerk, it's been an impressive transformation in his training. This was achieved in part by listening and taking on board the coaching advice. I know Gareth has some strength goals in mind, so I am looking forward to seeing him achieve them."