July Athlete of the Month

Dan is one of our fiercest supporters. Despite a battle with RA, he comes in consistently and always works hard, with a smile. He deep cleans the gym once a week (thank you!), he represents us at local business meetings (2-hour parking anyone?!?!), and he loves and encourages each and every person he comes in contact with. We appreciate you SO MUCH!!!

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How long have you been at CFRE?
Since a few weeks after it opened… So about 3.5 years. I drove past the gym and I saw folks working out. It peaked my interest having always lifted weights. Darrick was so enthusiastic about his gym that I had to give it a chance.

What inspired you to start?
I wanted something new to challenge my body. I was already working out at home but the idea of experiencing strength training and cardio in one intrigued me.

I was diagnosed with RA 20 months ago. The only reason I was able to move or even get our of bed was because of my core strength. (I had committed to doing 100 sit-ups a day before I was diagnosed.)

What makes you stick with it?
I stick with it because it makes me move. Even when the pain is so intense, there is always something I can do in the gym.

CFRE is the family I never had. I am encouraged to be the best that I can be at whatever level of training I am at. Sometimes I want to lift heavier or do more complex moves, but the pain of RA prevents me. The coaches modify what I am doing so I can achieve my goals for the workout. I appreciate watching more skilled members teach younger members too. It shows team spirit and sometimes that team spirit is so necessary on days when moving at all seems near impossible. Showing up is half of the workout, but even on my worst days, I know I can do this.

What’s your favorite movement?
The back squat. The idea of pushing all that weight against gravity makes me feel strong.

What’s your current goal?
My goal is to keep showing up. The disease of RA is so unpredictable. One minute you can be feeling fine and the next minute you can’t walk or move your arms. The one thing I have been able to do is clean the gym on the weekends. This is my favorite WOD. Sometimes I might only have one arm working the day I clean. I push through til the end. It is so satisfying to finish and see the end results.

What do you do for fun?
I love to garden, but more importantly I love making toys — this is what I do when I have the strength.

Any advice for newcomers?
I stayed in the beginners class for 8 months before I moved into regular classes. I love that the coaches encourage me to go at my own speed. Go slow and easy you will get there, wherever “there” is for you. Darrick taught me early on to set goals, even small ones. And don’t be afraid to try something new. This is the only way I know to push past my vulnerabilities.

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Dan and his beautiful wife Donna: “We are a team and we love working out together and she is my biggest supporter.”

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