December 2017 Athlete Spotlight

Steve S.

Tell us about yourself

I’m originally from Batesville, Mississippi but moved to Missouri in 1983. I now live in Lake Saint Louis. I’ve been married to my wife Sandy for 37 years and we have 10 children that range in age from 13 to 36. We also have 7 grandchildren with one more on the way.

Growing up, I did not participate in any sports. I have a genetic defect called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) which is also known as butterfly skin. I’m missing a protein that holds layers of my skin together. This means I get blisters easily primarily on my hands and feet. I allowed this to keep me from participating in sports until my early adult life. I started running then and have completed multiple 5Ks, 3 half-marathons, and 1 full marathon.

What made you start CrossFit?

After my last half-marathon a few years back, my hips started hurting after running. I looked around for other ways to exercise and started lifting weights at a local gym. I didn’t know what I was doing but enjoyed lifting and knew I was not lifting correctly.

About that time, my sister and brother-in-law started CrossFit. My sister had been hit by a truck while riding her bike. It was a bad accident but she had no broken bones just bad cuts and bruises. As a result, they started CrossFit as a safer means of exercise. I saw them about 5 months after they started and couldn’t believe the difference. I started talking to them about CrossFit and they encouraged me to try it. My brother-in-law told me his boss did CrossFit somewhere in Lake St. Louis. It turns out his boss is Mike Tate.

I stopped by on a Saturday morning and walked in to ask some questions. I talked to Trish Barrows and John Berra. I was reluctant but they assured me that all workouts can be scaled to whatever level you are.

I came back that following Monday afternoon and Travis worked with me to get me through the WOD that day. It was tough but at the same time fun. I signed up and have not looked back.

 What were your thoughts after your first workout at CFT?

I’ll never forget it – August 1, 2016. Wow! That was tough. It was an AMRAP of 4 minutes of clean and jerks, 4 minutes of rowing, and 4 minutes of burpees – my first WOD had burpees. I remember asking Travis to bring the trash can over during the burpees just in case.

I remember how wiped out I was but when I looked at all the “regulars” they were all wiped out also.

It dawned on me how people of different ability could do the “same” workout at whatever level they are and everyone gets a good workout.

I also saw the camaraderie among those working out. As tough as the workout was, they were having fun together.

 What impact has CrossFit had in your life in and outside the gym?

I realize that I can do more than I thought I could. It seems there is always one more rep hiding in there. I have gained more confidence in my ability to perform exercises that I never thought I would have.

I realized about 4-5 months in that I was getting stronger. I began to set PRs and noticed changes in my body composition.

 If you had to write a WOD, what would it be?

First, it would NOT include wallballs. I’ve come to embrace them but I do not enjoy them.

I like AMRAP WODs that you can cycle through each exercise quickly (5-10) reps and quickly move to the next exercise. I like barbell WODs that include putting the bar overhead.

 What’s your diet like? How does nutrition play a role in your life?

Ugh, do we have to go there? I try eating clean but I think I would do better if I tried eating less.

What advice would you give to a new CrossFitter?

James Clear said, “The most important part of any new habit is getting started — not just the first time, but each time. It’s not about performance, it’s about consistently taking action.”

I think consistently showing up for the next WOD is one of the most important things for a new CrossFitter. Don’t quit. Don’t be intimidated by the WOD. Come back tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Sometimes the toughest part is walking out your front door.

 What’s your favorite motivational quote and why?

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  Winston Churchill

Life is full of challenges. We all have them. The question is what will you choose to do with the challenges in your life. You can embrace them, learn from them and grow or you can give in and quit.

When it comes to CrossFit, I like Nike slogan, “Just do it.” Looking at some of the WODs ahead of time can be intimidating. I’ve learned that I don’t have to worry about the entire WOD, just the next rep. Get through the next rep and then work on the following one. Finish this set and move to the next one. Don’t overthink it, just do the next one. Soon, the WOD is finished.

Steve & Sandy