October 2019 Athlete of the Month: Meet Greg Giuffrida
We have so much love for our community, and want to take the chance to highlight one athlete each month that exemplifies hard work – if you haven’t met Greg yet (or even if you have), make sure to say hello and fist bump him the next time you’re at the gym!
Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit? What changes have you seen in yourself (physically or mentally) since beginning CrossFit?
About two-and-a-half years. I’ve dropped about 20 pounds of body fat and added 5 pounds of muscle. Mentally, this is the foundation of my daily routine. Beginning every day with a good workout makes everything else fall into place (pro tip: take a short nap after lunch).
Q: How has CrossFit helped you outside the gym?
My physical capacity for everything has changed. I was never able to run more than two or three miles until I built my aerobic capacity here. Now I can run the Peachtree in well under an hour. Everyday tasks like yardwork used to wipe me out. Now I don’t even get winded. I walk, bike, and ride transit most of the time, so my ability to get around the city has improved in every way.
Q: Who inspires you at the gym, and how do they inspire you?
Medium J is my guy for classic rock and heavy squats (Thin Lizzy forever). I’m always grateful for a nudge from him when I’m feeling tired and hesitating about a lift. Joe D. helped me a lot with advice and motivation when I started. (We miss you 6am, Joe!) I learned not to try keeping up with Boris in running or traveling the world, so I just try to outlift him. We have some newer folks in 6am who are great partners for staying motivated, like Brit, Adam G., and Ben D. Don’t try to row with Moran. He will kick your ass.
Q: What is something that we may not know about you?
I hung out backstage with Keith Richards a couple times (long story). This summer I went out drinking in Cincinnati with an audio-animatronic Elvis head and a Fransciscan monk (longer story). I love rollerblading and in high school I was sponsored by a local skate shop (Story: It was the ’90s). I listen to a lot of music and right now I’m into early 1980s Italian disco.
Q: Any advice for someone considering trying CrossFit for the first time?
To be honest, I struggled for the first year or so. I had a couple injuries outside the gym and it took a while to build up the mobility, strength, and endurance I needed to keep up. I’m grateful to all the coaches (Dayne, Marshall, Ben, Sonya) and my classmates for helping me push through it. At some point last year, I decided to make this a priority and come five days a week. That forced me to make lifestyle changes, mainly in sleep and nutrition, that helped me get to the next level. Somehow I went from last-on-the-board/someone-call-an-ambulance to the occasional first-place (depending on who shows up that day).
All that is to say: This is not easy. If you’re struggling or hit a plateau, make the effort outside the gym to be rested, hydrated, and warmed up when it’s time to work out. Ask for help. Stay late when you can to cool down and practice skills. You will notice the difference.
Q: What are your top 3 memories in CrossFit?
– Maybe throwing up is cliche, but I took three weeks off this summer to travel. The first workout when I got back was assault bike 50-40-30-20-10 cals. After the 40, I thought about dying. Instead, I went into the lockerroom, threw up, and finished strong.
– One time I got sloppy on a wall ball and Ben ran up to me: “What the f*** was that s***?” We both cracked up laughing, but the lesson stuck: No more dogs*** wall balls.
– Getting a compliment from Ben on my overhead squat (big deal).
Q: What’s your proudest accomplishment?
In life or the gym? In life, having the courage to quit my first career, go back to school, and start over again. In the gym, hitting my last squat PR (I’m not going to say what it was, because I plan to beat it soon).
Q: Moving forward, do you have any short term or long term CrossFit goals?
Somehow I’m getting worse at double-unders, so that’s short-term. Long-term, I want to handstand walk and dial in my snatches. The snatch is a fun and complicated movement that tells you a lot about where you are.