Name: Ross McLaughlin
Occupation: Finance & Corporate Development at QuikTrip
When did you first start CrossFit? July 15, 2018 (I know this thanks to daily use of the SugarWOD app)
Tell us about your sports & fitness background.
When I was younger, I always played sports for fun. However, as far as fitness goes I didn’t really get serious about that until college. I had tried tried lifting weights in high school but didn’t know enough to make any progress. In college I tried again but this time I read everything I could about training, nutrition and recovery. I figured what worked for me; how my body responded to different training schemes, how to eat, and learned to prioritize sleep. And through this, put on about 90 lbs. (I’d like to think all muscle, but let’s at least agree it was mostly muscle). When I started working, it became less of a priority for me and after a shoulder surgery in 2006, I was never able to lift the same. So, for about the last 12 years I really haven’t exercised much. Occasionally, I might get on a kick to bike or run for a month or two but nothing stuck and nothing became a habit.
How did you first get into CrossFit? How did it go?
I had knee surgery in April of this year and decided that I finally needed to make fitness a priority if I wanted it to really recover. So, I got the scoop on CrossFit Eclipse from my co-worker, Hayley Violett, and I came in and tried my first class. My first day was a little intimidating. There are some amazing athletes in the early class and that day’s workout was a 30 min EMOM alternating between 14 cal rows and burpees. About halfway through, I was dead. I had to take a 5-minute break in the middle, and then switch to the bike to finish. But Nate was very helpful and encouraging as were the other members of the 5:30 am class, so even though it didn’t go as planned I came back…..and have kept coming back!
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness since starting Crossfit?
First, my knee has made great progress since my surgery. I just ran a 6-mile leg in a relay at a pace 1 minute per mile faster than I could run pre-surgery, recently hit a PR on deadlift getting it back over 400lbs, and now my knee can hold up to most workouts our coaches throw at us (including jumping hay bales when necessary). I’ve also gotten much stronger and in much better shape in general since starting. I’m still not as strong as I’m going to be, and still must scale certain movements, but each day I am making progress towards my goals. I’ve dropped 10-15lbs since starting and have been adding muscle at the same time. Looking back at some pics of a beach vacation we took 2 weeks after I started Crossfit to how I look now, it is truly night and day.
And just being active in Crossfit has made me clean up my diet. I didn’t start out with that as a goal, but now I want to make sure I’m eating in a way that will let me perform each morning and get the most out of the work I do, so things that used to seem appealing at a restaurant or as a late-night snack don’t interest me now. I haven’t adopted a specific diet, but I have gotten rid of pretty much all processed foods, reduced my alcohol consumption, and try to eat mainly low-glycemic carbs. And I’ve had high cholesterol in the past and a family history of heart disease, so these changes are incredibly important to my life as well.
What impact has CrossFit had on on your life?
It has helped me re-prioritize my health in my life. As I have gotten older, and my family and career commitments have increased, it became easier to get everything else done at the expense of my own health. Over time I realized the only time of day I could guarantee wouldn’t get consumed by other commitments was early morning, but I no longer had the motivation to get up early and work out at home by myself each morning. But being part of CrossFit Eclipse has made getting up at 5:00 each morning something to which I look forward.
It has also given me new friends and the feeling of being part of a community. I love feeling like I’m part of a team again, building relationships, rooting each other on every day, and checking the app each night to see how people did and see what new challenge awaits.
What is your advice for people getting started or thinking about starting CrossFit?
Don’t be intimidated, just focus on improving you. There will be exercises you can’t do at first, and there will be plenty of people in the class way more fit than you (who are rooting for you by the way!), but you only need to focus on making yourself better. Go in, do your best, have no shame in scaling, and over time that scaling will become less and less.
Additionally, I truly believe to get the most of out it, you must take advantage of the community aspect too. For me the support and comradery make it special and much more likely to lead to a true lifestyle change. Our box organizes lots of events ranging from haunted houses to charity work, and participating in these events will really help you meet more people and feel like a part of a bigger community.
What are your hobbies, interests, and other talents outside of CrossFit?
Most of my time is spent playing a variety of sports with my son, but outside of that I like cooking, tinkering with my home theater, watching movies and reading. And I enjoy listening to 90s rap way too much for someone my age! Additionally, my family are active members at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church.
What’s the wallpaper of your phone?
A picture of my wife, Kasi, and son, Andrew (but thanks to this question it is now current instead of from 2015)