CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our September Member of the Month, Raymond Tran! He has been a member for over a year and has made some major gains and PR's, some awesome friends, a joy to have in class, a founding member of the CFM Striking course and has written an awesome article about CFM in the Atlanta Lawyer magazine! Read on to learn more about Raymond and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!
Name: Raymond Tran
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
How long have you been at CFM and what got you started?
I used to have abs. Then law school happened (physical activity level dropped, bad eating habits creeped in). I am disciplined, but dropped my health from my priority list. By the time I took the bar exam, I had a lot more jiggle and a lot less energy than I used to, and resolved to prioritize my health and fitness. Immediately after the bar exam (I binge watched all 7 seasons of Game of Thrones in 4 days -- but then immediately after that), I emailed CFM to get started.
What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
Full of “Why am I doing this to myself?”
Mike was leading me through foundations. I remember how enthusiastic he was when I applied his correction to a pushup and heard his “this is how this will change your life” explanation. If I was going to do this (CrossFit) to myself, I wanted to do it under the guidance of people who really cared about what they did and got excited about this type of progress.
Mike also suggested that I take at least 1 yoga class a week. I nodded politely, but in my mind thought: “I’m flexible enough…I did not sign up for no ‘ohm’ or ‘breath of fire’…”. I then accidentally stumbled into my first CFM Yoga class with Monica because I wanted to stretch after the Saturday class but had no polite way of saying “I’m just here to stretch”.
Best accidental stumble at CFM ever. Monica leads a quality, no-nonsense yoga class that has become a part of my weekly workout. I’ve also enjoyed it when the other yoga instructors subbed the Saturday recovery class. I would encourage anyone who is adverse to the “ohm” and “breath of fire” stuff to try out the CFM yoga classes -- even if you can’t commit to them regularly, it will contribute to your movement/mobility/warmup toolbox.
Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
CrossFit - in January I set a goal to pull my chest up to the bar (without a box) for workouts within three months. It took about 7 months…but now I no longer need to set up a BBAP station (provided I can scale to a kipping or half-rep). I also aimed to add a “4th day” at CFM - which was officially “accomplished” when CFM started the Knuckle-Up Club.
Not CrossFit - Professionally, I’m wrapping up my first full year of practice as an attorney (my hours are RX+++). Personally, I’m actually eating better and less stressed than I was as a law student, and am on track to save enough to purchase my first house.
What is one or two of your most frequently used GIFs?
What changes have you seen in your overall health and fitness level since starting CrossFit?
In addition to feeling stronger (i.e., carrying more grocery bags across greater distances), I feel more energetic (contrary to what I would expect after a workout). I am also making small changes to my daily habits that are paying off: since I mostly do AM classes, I have to have enough sleep; I need to eat right to have the energy to complete a workout and to recover; I say no to junk calories that I just spent a tough morning burning. I'm hoping to put greater focus on building better eating habits (especially since I wasn't able to participate in the nutrition challenge). I’ve “lost” some flexibility, but the increase in control from a stronger core has increased my range of motion.
What kind of changes have you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected (ie. new friends, “family”, the community, more self confidence, etc)?
I did not expect to actually like CrossFit. I signed up because it was an efficient way to fit exercise with a demanding schedule. But actually enjoying it really crept up on me. It is now a physical manifestation of how I frame the rest of my day (e.g., "If you can finish these box jumps, you can close that deal."). I'm also thrilled that we started a striking class (the Knuckle Up Club), which I enter into my calendar as "Cheap Therapy".
Adding to the fun factor: I have a habit of imagining what people’s lives are like outside of my interaction with them. I do a lot of imagining of what our members’ storyline would be if CFM was its own reality show...especially the people I kind of never spoken to or formally met, but just "always see at the gym" because my only insight into their life is the WOD and QOD. This is totally TMI, but now you know what I'm thinking whenever I'm blankly staring you or giggling to myself.
Initially, I thought CFM would be a great place to get away from other lawyers (it's not). The AM crew can form its own law firm...and one of my regular Saturday CFM workout buddies recently joined my firm. So Ryan Newbrough, if you're reading this...work is no reason to stop working out. And to Cary Burke - we have a fantastic paternity leave policy should you ever look to lateral.
I really liked the Antman-Spiderman WOD. And that one WOD that one Sunday where we built a "wall" out of the boxes to jump over.
Damon also did a "panic" drill (not sure what it was actually called -- but it's the one that he says might cause an anxiety attack) that was a fun calorie burner.
What is 1 or 2 of your best or favorite memories at CFM?
The reaction of the 6 AM class to my response to the QOD (by Travis) asking about a "near death experience” (you had to be there). And in this same vein, almost all of Kara Noone's "Noone" answers to QOD.
You can go to any concert of any artist (dead or alive) which one would you go to?
Musical: So I don't like attending music performances where the crowd sings along with the artist (I paid to hear the artist sing) — but also am that guy who sings along as if I was the artist (even if I don’t know the song…I just start making up lyrics and noise)…which is a long way of saying I don't usually have a good time at concerts.
Non-musical: I wish I had a chance to watch Joan Rivers perform live.
Hobbies, Talents and or Interests? What does a day in the life of Raymond look like outside of being a stud crossfitter?
My life revolves mostly around my work and my dog (a 4 year old Shiba Inu), so if I'm not in the office (or at the gym), I'm probably at the park or some dog friendly trail I found on google.
I also do this thing where I like trying out foods for the purpose of sharing it with others. I'll go out of my way to try "whipped honey with espresso beans" to see if i like it, and if I do, I have to share it with people. If I "discover" a restaurant, I don't want you to just go check it out -- I want to take you there, order my favorite things, and share them with you. This makes me a fun friend.
I also plan trip-itineraries for people/companies on the side. Prior to transitioning to a legal career, I worked in consulting overseas and worked on projects that took me to some interesting places. If you ever need to know someone who knows someone in places like Anse Source d’Argent, Port Mathurin, Port Louis, or Coloane — I’m your guy.
Advice for new CrossFitters
Show up. What gets me to the gym is the knowledge that I was going to start my day achieving something most people aren't able to do. Every second finish a WOD earlier, each time I lift a little bit heavier, and each time I have to face a movement I want to avoid (lately...running), I leave the gym knowing that I showed up on behalf of myself, to make myself a little bit better. The fact that every other member in class with me is also there with a similar goal keeps me accountable and motivated.