Q – When did you start CrossFit and why?
A – I started playing around with CrossFit with my good friends, Dan Crisp, Josh Skepper and Mike Barker in Dan’s garage gym AKA “The Cave” back in 2009. We were self taught and had limited equipment but we made things work. I have some awesome memories of just working out in a garage with my mates – that is what it’s all about. I then took off to the bright lights of Cardiff to begin a degree. There weren’t any boxes in Cardiff at this point (there are now four!) and I was missing training in this way so I decide to contact someone who may be in the know about CrossFit in Cardiff. Out of some sort of freakish coincidence I got in contact with Andy Edwards (co-owner and head coach at Dragon CrossFit) who was thinking about setting up a box in Cardiff, we began training together and the rest is history.
Q – What’s your favourite WOD?
A – This is a tough choice, I’m going to have to pick the lesser of quite a few evils here! OK, so, pre-strength training my favourite WOD was probably ‘Helen’. However, my favourite WOD now that I am strength training is ‘Grace’ – it’s just you and the barbell and that don’t lie…it just effing hurts!
Q – What’s your least favourite WOD?
A – There is nothing that strikes fear in to the heart of any CrossFitter like the name ‘Fran’.
Q – What’s your favourite movement?
A – My favourite lift to watch (when performed correctly) is the snatch. The international standard athletes just blow my mind with their speed, strength, power, mobility, control and skill. My favourite lift to perform has to be the power clean. It’s just raw explosive power and there is nothing more manly than moving a heavy weight over a fairly long distance FAST (being 6 ft 2 in I haven’t been blessed with the ideal biomechanics for oly lifting!).
Q – What’s your biggest weakness?
A – I’d have to say my biggest weaknesses are the mobility issues I have. I have been working on these things (perhaps not as much as I should) and there has been progress. However, I’m stuck in this mind-set that mobility work is not a glamorous form of training and it REALLY hurts but I realise this attitude needs to change if I want to take my training to the next level.
Q – Who is your sporting hero (CrossFit or otherwise)?
A – My sporting hero – Brian O’Driscoll. The guy has been at the top of his game for many years. He is not the biggest guy on the pitch but he combines a good rugby brain, mad skills, pace and big hits to be one of the most effective centres to ever grace the game!
Q – What is your favourite meal? Choose wisely; this will tell us a lot about who you are!
A – Favourite meal… On a good day (for all you “paleo” fans out there) – Steak and oven roasted sweet potato chips! On a cheat day (those of you who are of a nervous disposition, look away now) – Stuffed crust meat feast pizza with all the trimmings.
Q – Why did you choose Athletic Evolution?
A – So, the reason I chose Athletic Evolution was me wanting to take some ownership over my strength training. I knew of Owen’s reputation amongst the CrossFit community and had also seen (via facebook) that he was putting up ridiculous numbers on the oly lifts etc. I did a bit of research in to the type of qualifications that Owen has and soon realised they are very credible. I then bit the bullet and went for it (Editors Note: Dan was paid nothing to say this!)
Q – How is the programming going?
A – The programme is going very well. After little over 2 months I have added 12.5 kg to my 5 RM strict press, 20 kg to my 1 RM power snatch, 10 kg to my 1 RM power clean and that is to name just a few! I’m enjoying strength training whereas before I didn’t. To make things better, I have seen fantastic gains in my strength and I hit PB’s what seems to be every time I walk in to the gym! After coming in to a patch of injury Owen has been able to tailor the programme to fit my new requirements and I am still hitting PB’s without risk of injury. Strength training is all about chipping away at your numbers – any progress, whether it be 0.5 kg or 10 kg should be seen as improvement. The art in the programming is implementing it in such a way that allows for constant development and progress. I feel I am continuing to reach new levels on a daily basis, so, thanks, Owen. This stuff works, for sure!