CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our February 2017 Member of the Month, Justin Permar! From the Lurong challenge to going out to competitions and events to support other CFM members, Justin has quickly become one of our most dedicated, supporting and inspiring members. Read on to learn more about Justin and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!
Name: Justin Permar
Nickname: None, but my friends used to call me “Nitsuj” from time to time when I was in high school. Wait… why did I say that? Oops.
Age: You’re asking an older Crossfitter his age?! 36. That’s right... beginning with the Open this year, I’m a “Master”!
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio (or, as my wife Meredith calls it, Cold-lumbus)
How did you get exposed to CrossFit? Through my wife Meredith! Our fitness journey started somewhat accidentally in late 2014 when her oldest brother John David declared he wanted to run the Spartan Sprint that takes place every March in the Atlanta area. Not to be outdone by one of her brothers, my proud wife not only committed to running the race but dragged me along to join the team. Little did either of us know at that point that I would become obsessed with training for the race, which included the insanity of voluntarily doing burpees. I found out during the Sprint just how weak I was (I’m looking at you, Hercules Hoist!). After searching online for fitness programs that included a strength component, Meredith found Crossfit.
What brought you to CrossFit Midtown: Meredith searched for boxes online and found Crossfit Midtown to be the closest to where we lived. It was that easy!
What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like? I remember most of all that gym feel… of sweat, of weights thudding to the ground, and of incredibly hard work happening all around me. I hadn’t really pushed myself athletically since the first year of college (when I walked onto my university’s Division I Cross Country team). And when I started Crossfit, I was ready to work my butt off at the gym. As any CFM member knows, Coach Mike was ready to show me what the word workout really means. And I’m still coming back for more!
What changes have you seen in your overall health and fitness level since starting CrossFit? I love this question. My fitness journey definitely began as a wellness journey. In June 2014, Meredith and I took a beach trip with my sister and her husband. I remember being shocked at how lean and fit they were. I had known I wasn’t taking care of my body the way I should but I just didn’t have any motivation to do so until that trip. I saw just how healthy they looked and realized that I wanted to be just as healthy one day. So my journey began with nutrition changes. I remember my weight peaked that summer at around 195 pounds. To put that number in perspective... the aerobic and bodyweight training I was doing before I started Crossfit got me down to 162 pounds. I lost about 33 pounds of fat! But it was only after I started Crossfit that I discovered that cardio was only one of Crossfit’s ten components of fitness. With Crossfit, I learned about intensity and strength. And now I’m completely addicted to getting stronger and moving faster. Almost 2 years into Crossfit, I can definitely move weight like I never have before. And I love it!
Additionally, although I push hard when I’m at the gym to reach another PR, what’s really important to me is what I can do outside the gym. Whether it’s moving an old, heavy couch, wrestling with my nephews, or running the shopping cart uphill… what really matters to me is using my fitness to easily achieve everyday things. And knowing that in the event of an emergency, I’m as prepared as I can be to help out if needed.
What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected? Definitely the community. Anyone that has seen me around the gym knows I’m an introvert. But I’m so happy to have met all the great people at CFM. Honestly, gyms are generally pretty darned intimidating places. I’ve been to plenty that are full of people bragging about themselves and putting each other down. I’m very happy to have found CFM to be a place where those things don’t happen. Instead, the most important things happen: encouragement and a hell of a lot of hard work by each and every person at the gym. And to be perfectly honest, if CFM didn’t have such fun and supportive members, I probably wouldn’t be Crossfitting anymore.
In addition, one aspect of fitness that I’m realizing now is a tremendous asset is the mental toughness that comes from going back to the gym and pushing hard week in and week out. Pushing myself to the max in the gym makes everyday life much easier.
Favorite WOD: Is there such a thing as a favorite WOD?! For me, a great WOD is one that includes a barbell and has a variety of movements. Also, I love to work at my weaknesses (which is always my lack of strength), so I have to pick DT.
Least favorite WOD: Anything monostructural, such as a 5K or Karen. B-O-R-I-N-G! I’m laughing as I write this because I ran Cross Country during middle school and high school.
Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!!! In case you don’t know, this is a popular event that happens at Crossfit boxes around the world during the Crossfit Open each year. At CFM, athletes complete the Open workout of the week and members and friends show up to either complete the workout or cheer on the athletes. It’s definitely a fun time for everyone but the real secret is to get up the courage to do the workout during Friday Night Lights. Sure… there are always better athletes somewhere, but the environment will probably motivate you to give 100% and it feels incredible to have everyone cheer you on. All in all, it’s insanely fun!
Hobbies, Talents and or Interests Outside of CrossFit: I’m a geek, so that means I love hanging out with my wife, watching movies, and from time to time playing games such as Magic: The Gathering.
Advice for new CrossFitters: Eat right, keep going back to the gym and give 100% each time you go! Over time, you will be able to do things you never thought possible and will look amazing too!