April 2017--John McCarthy, Jr

1.Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.  

I grew up near Seattle, Washington and, at an early age, kept my parents busy taking me to baseball and ice hockey practice- and also dragging me to piano lessons.  Our family reloacted to St. Mary’s in 2000 in time for me to enroll in St. Mary’s Academy for high school.  After school, I remained in the area, went to St. Mary’s College, met the love of my life, and have 6 crazy kids to show for it all.  My hobbies now mostly include the occasional night’s sleep, changing diapers, and helping kids with their homework.  I enjoy playing sports with my kids and coaching their teams when I am able.  When the summer rolls around with its annual men's softball tournament, you’ll find me trash talking and spouting brilliantly crafted puns on a nearby diamond.

2. When do you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?

I started CrossFitting regularly in August of 2015 because, as I aged, I gained weight and became less active.  Activities I used to enjoy would leave me out of breath.  This situation has steadily improved over the last year.  I’ve noticed that, when I’m consistent in heading to the box three days per week and I follow the dietary guidelines to some degree, that I no longer get exhausted by daily activities and I’m able to do more of the things I enjoy.

3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?  

I don’t remember exactly what my first WOD was, but it involved kettle bell swings and maybe burpees.  Everything else is a blur.  It was exhausting and left me panting on the floor, but after a few minutes, I was glad I persevered.

4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?

I most enjoy when a WOD is over and I’ve recovered enough to drive home because then I get a rush of energy that allows me to resume my normal activities a little more effectively.  

5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?

I don’t know that I could pick a single instance as being my “proudest moment”, but it would probably be one of the many “aha! moments” I’ve had- when a coach is able to explain a certain aspect of a movement in such a way that it clicks and it’s a game changer.  This happened recently when Joe Carroll was able to point out a problem with how I was gripping my jump rope.  Correcting this allowed me to do my first double under.  I can now work on stringing them together when, previously, I couldn’t do a single double under to save my life.  The scars on my legs are starting to heal after all those earlier failed attempts.

6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?

My favorite lift or movement is probably the overhead squat because, for some reason, I’m good at them and it’s the only lift in which I can almost hang with the big guys.

My least favorite movements are those I can’t yet do or string together well.  This would include handstand pushups, pullups, toes to bar, and muscle ups.

7. Have you had one or two challenging CrossFit goals that you've achieved recently? What are your current goals and how close are you to reaching them?  

Recently, I’ve made some progress on the double unders and stringing together kipping pullups.  My next goal is a handstand pushup, but I am yet to work past the voice in my head that tells me to remain upright.  

8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?  

I haven’t really tried any other programs, but what appeals to me about this program is that it doesn’t rely on my making time for my own exercise program.  There is a schedule, a sign-up process, etc.  It’s not as easily skipped as something would be if I had to rely on myself to accomplish it.   I also know that I wouldn’t push myself as hard if others weren’t nearby, competing and encouraging.  

9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?

As a result of CrossFit Benedictus, I have gotten to know a lot of great people in the community.  It is a pleasure to work out and suffer alongside them.  Outside of the box, I would credit CFB with an increase in energy, strength, and a more pleasant overall outlook.  Sometimes, lifting heavy stuff just helps relieve stress.  

10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?

While I have not followed the dietary guidelines as dogmatically as I could, I have noticed improved results from avoiding grains and sugars in everyday meals.  I eat a lot of meat, eggs, vegetables, and yogurt.  I save my “carb credits” for weekend beers.  

11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?

5 Minute AMAP
5 Clean & Jerks @ 135 lbs
5 Overhead Squats @ 135 lbs

12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?

We are composed of body and soul.  While a healthy body is not the most important thing, we do have a certain obligation to maintain our physical health in order to better fulfill our duties of state.  

13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?

My advice would be to not be overwhelmed or intimidated by what you see or hear about CrossFit. The workouts can be scaled to all levels.  Nobody shows up at the box and deadlifts 400 lbs on their first attempt.  Also, I would tell them that, while I can’t speak for all CF boxes, the coaches at CFB are excellent in their guidance and emphasis on proper form and injury prevention.
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