July Athlete of the Month

Name: Frank Alexander

How old are you? 33

Where are you from? Batavia, OH

Occupation? System Configuration Analyst for American Modern Insurance Group. I also have a side business doing computer repair and building custom computers

Favorite movie: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Favorite music or artist: Nine Inch Nails or Nirvana depending on the day

Favorite or current book: Scar Night by Alan Campbell is my favorite book, but it is the first book in a trilogy, called the Deepgate Codex, and the overall story of the series is the best I’ve ever read.

Favorite food: Sesame Chicken from Johnny Chan’s

Favorite quote:  “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer on the creation of the atomic bomb.

What is your fitness background? Before starting CrossFit, I hadn’t really worked out since high school.  My wife and I did take up cycling in 2013, and regularly do 15 to 30 mile rides, but that is the only real exorcise I did before CrossFit.

Sport or activity you are training for, if any: Really just to be a healthy father.  My wife and I are currently working toward adopting our first child and when we made the decision to finally start our family, I realized that I couldn’t be the father I wanted to be as unhealthy as I was.  I want to be able to play with my child the way my dad did with me, and at 400lbs, I couldn’t do that.  My goal, by the time we are parents, I want to be healthy enough to be an involved father.  I want to be able to play with my kids, teach them how to throw a ball, play basketball, etc.  All the things I remember my dad doing.

 Also, I’d really like to be able to shop for clothes not in the big and tall sections of stores, the selections there just suck!

How long have you been doing CrossFit? How did you end up at Cornerstone? I started doing CrossFit when I joined Cornerstone in August 2015.  My wife found CFC online and suggested CrossFit as a workout that I might actually enjoy.  The box is only about 5 minutes from our house, so I thought I would give it a try and I’m so glad I did!

How have you seen yourself change (mentally, physically, etc.) since being a part of CFC?
Mentally, I’ve found that I’m able to push myself harder and further than I ever thought I could.  This has helped in my cycling because I know realize that my limits are so much further than I thought.  Physically, I’ve lost 35lbs since I started CrossFit.  This should be so much more, but like an idiot, I didn’t change my diet until about 3 months ago, so I really didn’t start losing weight until then.  Now that I’ve got my diet under control, I’m starting to see major changes in the size of my stomach and the definitions of my muscles, especially in my legs.

 What is your least favorite CrossFit move? What is your most favorite CrossFit move? 
My least favorite is running.  As big as I am, it kills my knees to run for any distance.  Most favorite is either back squats or deadlifts.  In the last year I’ve found that there are very few things I enjoy more (CrossFit or not) than lifting a lot of weight.  There is something incredibly exciting about being able to lift more weight than I ever thought I’d be able to.

 Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? This is the first year I have paid any attention to the CrossFit Open, and each week I would look at the workouts, watch videos of people doing them, and wish I could join in, but most of the workouts were far too advanced for where I was/am in my development. But when I saw 16.5 posted, I got excited, thrusters and burpees are something I can do!  That week, when I came in for class I asked Brandon if instead of the slated workout, could I do 16.5, and after questioning my sanity, he agreed, and Lyndsey was kind enough to score me (and her encouragement kept me moving).  I’ll never forget that feeling, it took me a bit over 45 minutes to complete, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted, but completing that workout is one of the best memories I have, period.  The support from the people who were in the box that night, and the feeling of accomplishing something that just months before I would have thought was impossible, that feeling was AMAZING!

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? I have a few goals for CrossFit, I want to take my back squat over 300lbs, I want to learn to do double unders, and just get better all around.  Physically, in the next year I hope to see a dramatic change in my weight.  I’ve already dropped from 415 pounds to 380 in just the last 3 months, so I hope to keep that momentum going.  I don’t have a goal weight in mind, I just want to keep getting stronger and more fit, and I’m focused on continuing to see the number on the scale drop.  When it gets to where it starts with a “2” I’ll decide on a goal weight.

Any advice for people just getting started? Don’t be embarrassed.  That was, and sometimes continues to be, my biggest mental obstacle.  One of the things I love most about CFC is everyone’s acceptance and encouragement.  I am very fat (there is no polite way to say it), and before joining CFC, I was embarrassed to go to the gym, I always thought people would look at me weird or make fun of me, but CFC has broken that fear for me.  Everyone has been so awesome, so supportive, and so accepting, even though I’m not (by a long shot) what you’re average gym-goer looks like.  So don’t let embarrassment or fear of what others will think of you hold you back.  We (overweight individuals) think that because we are not what the typical gym-goer looks like, people are going to look at us like we don’t belong, but I’ve seen nothing but the opposite of that at CFC.  Don’t be afraid; don’t be embarrassed, the people at CFC are awesome, and they want nothing more than to see you succeed.

What is something that others may not know about me?  I’m a huge Disney World geek!  I’ve been to Disney 15 times, my wife and I try to go every other year, and I have a YouTube playlist of the music from all the different parks there that I listen to regularly.  It is the only place I ever want to go when we plan vacations, and nothing makes me happier than the first time I see the castle when I walk into the Magic Kingdom.  I cannot wait to have a child and get to experience Disney World with them, that’s one of the parts of parenthood I am looking forward to most.