The next interview was with athlete Jonathan Grant. Though I only think I worked out with him a few times at Crossfit Continuum, I have participated with him in quite a few yoga classes (taught by Jennifer Ridler) at Continuum over the last year. He has always hit me as a great guy who enjoys exploring the world on his own terms.
So let’s learn a bit more about him!
Q: What brought you to CrossFit as an athlete?
I wanted to try something different as I was not getting the results that I was wanting by doing what I had always been doing. For years I would go to a “globo-gym” and lift heavy to develop the “show muscles” (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs). (Leg day? What is that?!?! Haha!) Each year I gained more and more weight, but it was not a healthy weight. I ate as many grams of protein as I could get, without any concern of the quality of protein source or any other key nutrients that my body needed.
Q: What has the experience been like so far?
Initially I didn’t really like it that much – I was in more pain than I had ever been in and honestly thought there was something seriously wrong. I wasn’t very good at it, and was in horrible shape. Most men don’t like doing things that they are not good at, so they quit. I however stuck with it and it turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made.
CrossFit has done so much to change my life and I am so happy that I found it and more importantly STUCK WITH IT.
CrossFit has helped me get into the best shape of my life, changed the types of things I put into my body, but most importantly (and what I am most thankful for) – changed my entire mindset. Between living a very destructive lifestyle and being a part of dysfunctional relationships, my sense of self was horrible. CrossFit has helped me see my own worth – mainly because I learned that “YES I CAN DO IT!!”
Q: What’s surprised you about it so far?
I have been pleasantly surprised how the results gained from doing CrossFit workouts has translated over into almost every aspect of my life. Physically I am in the best shape of my life so that allows me to fully live the active lifestyle that I have grown to love.
Another thing that really surprised me is how CF gyms really are a family in themselves. The members and the owners all have a sense of unity and I think that is due to the same phenomenon as people have w/ their “war buddies”. You’re all going through the same difficult (and sometimes traumatic) workouts TOGETHER. It brings you together as a group.
I’ve made a lot of very good friends from the different CF gyms that I have gone to, which is something that I never really got from the “globo-gym” atmosphere (where it’s more like the African plains – and each gym-goer is walking around trying to be the “biggest-baddest” lion, staring down the other lions to somehow quietly determine who the alpha lion is!).
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Absolutely! I am the best version of Jonathan Grant to date. Every day I am better than I was the day before. Early in my CF journey I developed a mantra that I tell myself regularly – “Today I will be, better than yesterday’s me”.
A good portion of my life I lived as what most people would call a functioning alcoholic – and I thank God that I found something that helped me change that. CrossFit changed my mind, and self-image, which in turn pushed me to make a decision on how I want to live my life and that the bottom of a bottle is no place to be. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a drink from time to time but I have come a LONG WAY from the self-abusing, drunk lifestyle that I lived for far too many years.
I am a 30 year old single man who is lucky enough to come home to two beautiful, loving dogs (Sadie – 8yr old American Bulldog mix, and Juniper – 5yr old Pit Bull Terrier). I enjoy anything that involves exercise and the outdoors. Some of my favorite outdoor activities are snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and running. And I love dreaming up and planning my life’s next adventure.
I was recently told by my Dad that “When you get old like me, the only question you will be able to ask yourself is “Is there anything that I DIDN’T do?”.
I love to learn – and see opportunity in each and every day to learn something new. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends – and love to entertain people at my house at my BBQs. I am lucky enough to have most all of my close family within close proximity to me in Colorado – and my favorite part about that is I get to spend A LOT more time with my amazing sister Meggan and brother in-law Josiah.
I work in the financial services industry with a uniquely successful team helping high net worth clients find effective and efficient solutions to their complex financial situations.
Q: Where do you train?
I train at CrossFit SoCo in Colorado Springs, CO after having a great introduction into Crossfit at Crossfit Continuum, also in Colorado Springs. I also work out at Accolade Fitness in Colorado Springs (non-CF gym).
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite CrossFit movements so far and why?
- Double Unders – I really like DU’s because it really gets the heart rate going, all while requiring perfect timing and what I like to call “hand-ear” coordination. I have also made a huge amount of progress with them in the last year – which motivates me to keep doing them to get better and better.For my first 6-8 months I would just do single unders when DU’s were in a WOD because I could only string together about 4 (at most) DU’s at a time. After getting my own Rogue SR-1 Speed Rope (HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ROPE), and some great coaching from the great Loree Smith @ CFSOCO (AND A LOT OF PRACTICE) – I now have a PR of 83 unbroken DU’s.
- Any type of sled work – I like them because they remind me of my high school football days. It takes total body strength as well as knowledge of how to position your body to most effectively push the sled.
- Burpees – Yeah I know – “F*** this guy” right? I like them because they are HARD, and I try to be as explosive as possible when pushing myself back up from the ground. I have gotten to where I can explode off the ground enough that I can get my feet under all in one motion. With CF not really having much chest workouts built in – this allows me to work my pectoral muscles.
- Snatch – I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, but CF sure changed that. It is such a complex movement and honestly I am not that great at them. I enjoy them due to the challenge, but not nearly as much as the other movements.
Q: If you had one word to sum up the experience of an athlete at your box, what would it be?
I have narrowed it down to 2 answers to this question – one word each: INTENSE and EFFECTIVE.
Q: What’s your favorite story from the box so far?
My favorite story begins when I first walked into Crossfit Continuum for the On-Ramp course. This story is still being written – with chapters being added daily.
Q: What do you think is the secret to CrossFit’s crazy success and growth?
I think the main reason it is successful and has grown so much is because of the results!! Everyone knows someone who does CrossFit – and chances are they were initially extremely annoyed with this person because they wouldn’t shut the hell up about it! (The first rule of CrossFit is to talk about nothing but CrossFit!) Over time, they have watched that person get into better and better shape and noticed the change in the person’s happiness and overall attitude. Eventually they break down and try CrossFit for themselves and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends…
I think that the sense of unity that members of CF gyms feel opens up the “fitness world” to a lot of folks who have tried and given up in the “globo-gym” atmosphere. That can be a very intimidating / uncomfortable place to be, especially when just beginning.
I personally go to a “regular gym” in addition to the CF gym to isolate specific muscles that aren’t targeted as much in CF. But they are two COMPLETELY different atmospheres. One focuses on looks and status while the other focuses on functionality and fitness.
You don’t see mirrors in CrossFit gyms. You don’t see t-shirts cut into tank tops to expose pectoral muscles or nipples. You don’t see the obvious steroid abusing meat-heads. You just see people working hard, TOGETHER, to better themselves.
Thanks Jonathan for answering my questions and best of luck in your continued quest to improve yourself! Enjoy the journey and I look forward to the next time I bump into you at yoga!
Are you interested in being featured as a box owner, trainer/coach, or athlete? I’d love to hear from you! Click “Contact Us” at the top of the WOD Tales page and I’ll get in touch!