It’s Thursday…we’ve only got a few of our super awesome ‘Grill & Chill’s’ left. It’s also “Benchmark Thursday” at High Voltage, and one of the last of these because sadly, summer is coming to an end here in a bit. Today is one of my absolute favorite benchmark WOD’s though – ‘Grace’ – 30 clean & jerks for time. I love this WOD for so many reasons – high power output – explosive, full body Olympic lifts – and most of all, a challenge to take on and complete with proper form. That doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re feeling a little nervous about this one, don’t worry, we’ve got your back! We’ve got progressions and accessory lifts for everyone…and if you’re lucky, you might be able to see Coach Jose try to be the 6th Volt to Clean 300# during Open Gym (see how I put him on the spot there?)!
But that’s not all…it’s Member Spotlight Thursday, and today we’re blasting the light right on Zach! Zach’s been training with us for almost 1 year now and has really started to up his game of late. When he joined, he was training 1x per week, then upped it to 2x per week, then 3x per week…then…you get the idea. Now he’s a proud member of Team High Voltage with his sights set on doing some local competitions later this fall and continuing to get outside of his comfort zone – Read up, and let’s show Zach some love in comments!
Describe your first work out….and don’t forget the DEEEEETSSS!!!
It was a Level 1 class, and I was so nervous because I had no idea what to expect. The skill was Front Squat. I didn’t write down the weight I did, don’t know why, but must have been because I didn’t know what I was doing. The WOD was a 12 min AMRAP – 3 pull ups, 6 push ups, 9 air squats. The pull ups were what scared me the most, I remember, because I just didn’t have a lot of upper body strength. I ended up doing 10 rounds plus 1 pull up. It was pretty intense, and there were moments where I just stared at my hands, and stared at the bar, and thought, how the hell am I going to do this. I think after it was over, I just sat there, not sure what had just happened, thinking that I was so fatigued, and then, when I got home, I remember thinking, you know, that actually felt great!
When did you know something had to change before joining CrossFit High Voltage?
It was actually during the last few months leading up to my wedding last year. I had been a long-standing member of LA Fitness, and I started pushing myself harder at the gym in order to get in good shape for my wedding. I obviously had a lot of stress in my life at that time, but, strangely, anything I did at the gym just felt fake. I wasn’t getting anything out of it, and I felt out of place. Not only was I bored with my workouts, but I also didn’t feel inspired to workout. Everyone at the gym was “in the zone” – and by, that, I mean, they were like zombies. And I felt like a zombie. I wanted to have fun again when I worked out. I wanted to feel like I was accomplishing something, and I wanted to be around people who were engaged in what they were doing and supportive of each other.
Describe your most memorable CrossFit experience for us?
There are two recent experiences that stick out most in my mind – 1) the first Team High Voltage meeting – we did this thing called the Gauntlet, basically 10 mini-WODS over the course of three hours – I was so scared, but, as always, I made it through, learned some great things, and felt absolutely invigorated – the challenge of being on Team High Voltage has been tough love from the get-go, but the good kind of tough love AND 2) the recent Tower of Power Back Squat WOD – again, I was scared about doing this, and decided I would scale down, but then my partner-in-crime for that day, Alex, encouraged me to try, and so I put my fear aside, and decided to go prescribed, and I was able to get through it, all thanks to Alex’s encouragement and advice – he held me accountable, and it made me hold myself accountable – the best kind of CrossFit experience to have on any given day.
Tell us about an area of your life most impacted by your decision to join CrossFit High Voltage?
Well, first, I feel stronger and more confident, and because of that, I’m able to handle stress a lot more effectively. CrossFit has really helped me find my center. It has also helped me and my wife in terms of nutrition. I did the paleo nutrition challenge shortly after I joined, and we now make healthy lunches and dinners based on recipes we got from the challenge.
When have you used CrossFit outside of the box?
I’m not exactly doing burpees outside of the Box (I work in Human Resources at UCLA, can you imagine me doing a burpee when I meet with an applicant, instead of just shaking their hand?!), but I use the techniques, the movements, the focus, to meet the challenges of the day, and keep myself healthy and fit. It has also come in handy when our cat, Duke, gets a wild hair, and he wants me to chase him around the apartment. He’s been impressed that I’ve been able to match his Cheetah-like skillz (yes, that skills with a “z” on the end – holla!).
Who is your most idolized fellow Volt or Vixen and why? Share the Spotlight love!
Oh, gosh, Pete, Craig, Kathy, Roxie, JP, Dan, Logan, Katie 1 and Katie 2, Dizzle, Jose, Sarah, Nick, Jeremy, Javy, Maurice, Andrew…..really, I idolize everyone. Every person has something wonderful they bring to the Box day in and day out. I’m sure some fellow CrossFitters have seen me staring at them, and it’s because I’m watching their form, or observing how they attack a pull up, checking out their focus….I am always learning and inspired by everyone, from beginners to Fire Breathers.
What are some your favorite cheat meals and why?
Is this question designed to make me feel guilty….??? Well, here goes….I love tacos, chips and salsa, and margaritas from Don Cuco’s (why? – who wouldn’t love it?). And Chick-Fil-A (why? – my family’s from the South, and it’s the only place in LA where they understand what I mean when I order “sweet tea”). And my grandma’s cooking…..she went to college on a Betty Crocker scholarship. She makes the best made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls…..every Christmas, I cheat for about 5 or 6 days in a row eating her delicious, Southern cooking (why? – family, laughter, memories).
How has getting in shape changed your professional life?
I’ve been better able to adapt to any changes, and if there are any problems to solve, I “get after it”. I’ve probably been a little too eager beaver to help solve problems at work, though!
What are some of your CrossFit goals for the next 365 days?
Improving just about anything to do with the snatch complex – form, strength, endurance – it’s the bane of my existence. Also, I want to work on strength of focus, and mental acuity – it will help remind me why I do this, and why it’s meaningful. I made that a goal after a recent Team High Voltage meeting where we discussed how to prepare for a competition. It made me re-think, well, the way I think. And, finally, to compete (NLI, perhaps, later this year).
Level 1 CrossFit
Level One/Two CrossFit
All Levels CrossFit
| Skill: Med Ball CleanPre-WOD: CrossFit Baseline
rest 5 min, then
| Skill: Clean & Jerk ProgressionsWOD: “Grace”
|Skill: Sets of 2&2