Justin joined Recursive this summer and works hard during every single class!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Baltimore and moved to Madison for a job opportunity about 7 years ago. I picked up CrossFit after finishing IronMan because I’d lost a ton of mass and strength training for the triathlon. I love adventure sports (backcountry skiing, SCUBA diving, mountain biking, wilderness backpacking/canoeing, and next I’m going to try my hand at mountaineering) and finding events or fitness feats that make me think ‘I wonder if I can do that’…and then doing it (my first triathlon was a full IronMan).

Why did you choose Recursive?
My fiance recommended it and the location (super close by my apartment) plus the approach to keeping workouts as safe as possible during COVID.

What is your favorite thing about working out at Recursive?
At the moment, being able to get to a real gym and get a real workout in, and feeling safe doing it. I imagine as I’m there longer…getting my name on more spots on the Milestones Whiteboard.

What was the biggest struggle you’ve had the last few months?
After having to take a few months off of CrossFit/lifting this summer due to COVID, I’m finding a lot of my muscle memory and form for some of the moments has really declined. I’m having to lower weight and focus on form a lot more than I used to, which isn’t a bad thing in itself to get back on track, but is a little mentally demoralizing when your 1RM drops that much and you can feel you have the strength, but not the form to do it well/safely. Also, having energy to clean all the plates and stuff after a WOD. it’s like a secret second workout nobody tells you about.

What is your biggest accomplishment since starting your commitment to a lifestyle change?
Since starting CrossFit a few years ago at another gym: Getting in good enough shape to not really have to train for big events or activities – After a year or so of CrossFit (and some cardio/endurance work outside of the gym), I completed a half IronMan with a decent time without changing my training habits.
Since starting CrossFit at Recursive: My Fran time – I was able to Rx it with good form in 6:34. Would never have been able to do that before the pandemic, so it’s nice to see some improvements like that now that I’m back at it.

How has Recursive changed your life?
I think most notably is working fitness back into my life during the pandemic and some rough patches at work. I was trying to work out in the gym at my apartment and trying to run/bike when I could, but I definitely was not keeping up my fitness and that was a big negative for my mental health/happiness through this summer. Joining Recursive and getting back into CrossFit has turned that around, and it’s been an anchor for me to look forward to and focus on as I get through the grind elsewhere.

What advice do you have for people who are nervous to get started?
There are a TON of hilarious memes out there that only make sense if you’ve done some CrossFit. so…do it for the laughs. Don’t be nervous. It’s definitely intimidating to learn all the new stuff or to hop into a class with people that have been working out together for a while, but…Recursive’s atmosphere is much less ‘intense’ and easier to hop in with than at other boxes. Especially at Recursive, you’re not locked into a contract/multi-month thing, so give it a shot, even if you just try it for a month!

In general, some of the most impressive things I’ve seen at a gym have been a newer person putting in the effort to learn something difficult, making good choices about scaling, or seeing someone who’s early on in their fitness journey or maybe a little farther along in their life journey do what they can and making progress, even if it’s not the full Rx WOD/weight. CrossFit people are nice. I think we also know we’re a little cult-y and generally try to help people not feel put off by that. We’re just excited about things. We also won’t force you to get in on the cult, you can be however excited you want to be.

What is something else fun you’d like to share about yourself?
I’ve been keeping up a part-time or volunteer paramedic career on the side for the last 12 years. It’s some of the most rewarding work I’ve had the opportunity to do!

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