And your August Member of the Month
Almost every single day (unless he’s away on business), you can walk into the gym and find Bob at the 6:30 pm class in a good mood, ready to learn and work out HARD. It is that type of dedication and hard work that made Bob Byrnes an easy choice to be this month’s Athlete of the Month! Bob joined us in October 2014 and as a former runner, he was in great running shape, but lacked overall fitness that CrossFit strives to redefine. Through his dedication and persistence to get better, Bob has gotten stronger, fitter and has improved his skill set to the point where in his first CrossFit competition, he came damn close to beating a competitor 28 years younger than him! Fellow athletes that sweat side-by-side with him praise his motivation and his support. His enthusiasm has also spilled out to his family and you can frequently see him working out next to his son Bobby and on special occasions, his daughter Lauren. Congratulations Bob, you demonstrate what it means to be #AmoskeagStrong!
When/How/why did you choose to CrossFit?
I was running (some might call it jogging if you saw me out there) a lot in 2014 and felt pretty good about myself. But my knees were taking a beating and my Doctor recommended I cut back on running and try something different. Then I decided to do a Tough Mudder with some guys from town (Jim Bell and Tom Wolfinger were on the team). It kicked my ass and realized how soft / weak I was. Jim was literally throwing me over the obstacles because I was so weak. I don’t think I had 1 lb of lean muscle in my entire body. Jim mentioned CrossFit, did a little research and joined CFA in October 2014. Rest is history.
What is your favorite thing about CrossFit Amoskeag?
I can’t say enough about the great coaches and community we have at CFA. Going to the gym and going through the workouts with other people, who are encouraging you and pushing you to be your best is my favorite thing. I find it very inspiring. My CFA experience is the longest commitment I have made to my own fitness journey and I credit that to the community and environment at CFA.
What role have your family/friends played in your CrossFit journey?
Friends introduced me to Crossfit and have met so many great people since joining, which I am very thankful for. My family has been very supportive and my son joined a few months ago which has been great for both of us. I am so proud of him and excited that we get to share in this experience together. Seeing Bobby get excited about going to the gym and talking about the different workouts is just awesome. My daughter Lauren has also done a few Hero WODS with me this summer which was a blast. I am still working on my wife though.
Who at CFA do you look up to, respect or admire and why?
I am only 5’9 so I look up to almost everyone, except Patty. On a more serious note I cannot point to any one person as I respect and admire everyone. I respect anyone that just shows up. For one reason or another we have all made a commitment to change and for me is/was scary and brings with it some level of insecurity (what if I cannot do it?, will I embarrass myself?, will they tell me go home?). I had butterflies in my stomach the first two weeks doing regular classes and there was several times where I drove by the gym undecided if I would go in that day (after looking at the WOD on-line). So for me, anyone that walks through the door has earned the right to be there and demands same level of respect as anyone else.
This one varies but right now its pull-ups. After working hard to develop the strength and then learning how to kip, I always look forward to those when they are included in the workout. For anyone else out there that does not have pull-ups, keep at it! I was never able to do a single pull-up until joining CFA!
I should also mention that it used to be Burpees. When I first joined as it was the only movement where I looked like everyone else so liked them when they were included in the workout, now I hate them.
Least favorite WOD or skill (your “Goat”)?
Easy, f’in Double Unders! When I joined, I knew I would not be able to do many of the movements / workouts but the one thing I thought I would be able to do was jump rope. Wrong! I practice and practice and still have not developed the skill to do them consistently which drives me nuts. On top of that I bring in my 13 year old daughter one day and she picks up the rope and starts to crank them out frontwards and backwards! My pride took a hit that day but also made me more determined. One day!
Biggest challenge so far (in CrossFit, health or nutrition)?
For me, the biggest challenge by far is all mental. I am constantly battling myself to ensure I stay on my path / journey and not to get far ahead by too being hard on myself or worse, overstepping my abilities. I need to keep my goals small and attainable in a shorter period of time as that tends to work best for me.
Proudest accomplishment so far (in CrossFit, health or nutrition)?
When looking back, there are many many examples where I walked out of CFA with that great feeling of accomplishment. Many of them would be considered little things by most. Olympic lifting is fascinating to me as I never realized how technical it is so when something clicks I get a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. I remember the first time I was able to get on the wall for handstand holds (facing out!). That was an incredible feeling and for the first time started to really believe that I could other movements if I worked at it. Getting my first pull-up, moving up to big boy box jumps, getting my first C2B, doing an OHS with 45 lbs, ………………. It’s a great feeling and never gets old.
Best experience as part of CFA?
For me it is the community and support that comes with being a member at CFA. Outside the obvious benefits of living healthier it’s the overall experience that keeps me coming back. You can see how important the community aspect of CFA is to Mike, Jeff and Bob and I really respect that. Being a member includes contributing to that overall experience in a positive way and that’s my goal every time I walk through the door.
Favorite quote or motto?
“Bob …… Just Fu@!ing pick it up” – Moonshine Mike
“They pay real porn stars to dance at the place up the street” – Kyle (Maybe not put this one out there)
When you think it’s tough, difficult or impossible, what keeps you going?
What do those words even mean? I am enjoying myself too much, life is good! I am in an environment that works very well for me, surrounded by awesome people with similar goals so I guess It’s me that keeps me going.
Short term: These vary. Right now I trying to increase my overall intensity level during Metcons and stop focusing so much on how much weight is on the bar. RX button plays mind games on me. It is really about having a better plan mentally when working out. I am starting to understand how important that is vs. just stepping up and doing. Squatting in another area where I want to improve. I just suck at it and want to change that.
Long Term (2016?) – I want to do a Muscle Up. I recognize I need to improve my overall strength and a bunch of other skills first, but believe I can get there. Something I never even thought was possible when I first joined.