September Athletes of the Month – Scott Woods and Tyler Held

Scott Woods

Hometown: O’Fallon, Missouri (the Show Me state)

Age: 37

Occupation: In-House Counsel

When did you first start training at CFKSQ? Dec 2017

Favorite WOD: Fran

Least Favorite WOD: Fran (it’s a love hate relationship lol)

Tell us about your sports & fitness background: I played football in high school, but I was actually more motivated to be fit in order to join the military. That’s when I started running. After college and law school, I spent 4 years on active duty and continued my embrace of the push-up, sit-up, and running life. Working out and competing with other Soldiers motivated me to stay “fit,” though not Crossfit fit lol, and it built a sense of connection. When I transitioned to being a full-time civilian and part-time Soldier, I still went out for runs and did basic PT here and there on my own, but there wasn’t the same community and connection. I had heard about CrossFit through various connections over the years, but had never actually joined a box. After a few months of getting settled in Kennett Square, it was time to go for it.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? I’m not sure when I first heard about it. But, I attended a few “bring your friend” days at a box in Texas. And, when we got to Kennett Square, I was ready to try it for real. I did my foundations with Coach Leigh Castle, and she was amazing. I was working long hours, staying late at work, and not making exercise and health a priority. So, I am so thankful that Leigh was willing get me started in those early morning classes. Though, the Army never quite made me a morning person, that was the time I knew I could ensure I could make it, and Leigh got me off to a great start. I don’t remember my first WOD, but boy do I remember the first one with wall balls. Who would have thought a 20# ball could leave you so demolished and gasping for air. Those first couple of months, it wasn’t a question of if I was going to be sore, it was a question of what part of me was going to be sore. And, I struggled to keep up with the others, even as I scaled the workouts. Still, everyone cheered me on to finish and shared a job well done fist bump. The intensity and variability of the workouts in connection with the people had me hooked, even as I knew I had “work” to do.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I don’t run as much as I used to, and yet my Army 2 mile time is close to some of my best times when I was in my 20s. On top of that, I feel stronger than ever. A thruster or an overhead squat used to destroy me even at low weight. But now, I am knocking on the door of the A Rx weight, at least for thrusters :), and overhead squats have become one of my own personal benchmarks. I see more shape in my arms and shoulders, and while I am about the same weight, all of my pants are now loose around my waist. I am definitively healthier, fitter, and happier after becoming a CrossFitter.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I am by no means the healthiest or the fittest, and will always be a work in progress, but CrossFit has made health and fitness part of my personal identity. I have had exercise routines before, but I never thought I would crave going to class or dread missing a workout… or finding a way to do a make shift version of the posted WOD while I am traveling for work or Army Reserve Duty. I really didn’t expect to drink the kool-aid or have it become part of who I am so much, but it has and it tastes so good

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFKSQ moments: Just connecting with the people and coaches at the 630 pm class (see, I told you I am not a morning person), and feeling the support and genuine positivity from the coaches. Doing the open was also pretty great.

Any advice for people just getting started? Keep coming (4-5+ days a week if you can). Build that habit. Be humble. Start where you are and keep pushing yourself to the next level. P.S. There are infinite levels. Nutrition matters too. So, keep the processed stuff to a minimum and embrace meat and veg. And, no matter where you are at in your health and fitness journey, know that you are healthy and fit person. P.P.S. If you don’t know this already, you will soon. Just keep at it.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I read/listen to a lot of books (a lot of science and personal development) and podcasts (Radiolab, Freakanomics, and Joe Rogan, to name a few). And, I occasionally like to sit on a cushion, stare at a wall, and meditate. I also like to travel near and far with my wife. If you have any great trips or destinations, please share.

Tyler Held

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Age: 25

Occupation: Professional Groom (for horses!)

When did you first start training at CFKSQ? November 2017

Favorite WOD: 21-15-9 Calorie bike/dumbbell snatches

Least Favorite WOD: I don’t think I have one. Sure there are days that suck in the moment, but overall I feel like those struggles help me to understand and improve my weaknesses.

Tell us about your sports & fitness background: Growing up I played just about every sport you can think of- softball, basketball, tennis, swimming, figure skating, golf- I could seriously go on forever- but I wasn’t ever really good at any of them and I definitely wouldn’t have called myself athletic. My least favorite subject at school was gym. Horseback riding was the one sport I stuck with and I’ve been riding for about 20 years now. Throughout high school and college I worked with some personal trainers to help me get stronger for my riding and my work with the horses kept me active but I never really enjoyed fitness for the sake of the fitness until more recently in my life.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? Before I moved to Pennsylvania I was living just outside of Annapolis, Maryland where I religiously attended group fitness classes- spin, body pump, kickboxing, yoga and my favorite, boot camp. The boot camp instructor was a Crossfitter herself and kept telling me I’d love it but I never made the time to check it out in Maryland. When I moved and needed to find a new gym I figured it was time to bite the bullet. I actually did my first WOD at a different gym than CFKSQ, I don’t remember exactly what we did but I do remember running around the parking lot carrying a medicine ball and there were definitely some burpees. We did partner sprints on the assault bike as the finisher (probably where my love for the bike started). I remember it was hard but I pushed myself to complete it anyway and I LOVED that feeling. When I found out my new coworkers were doing Crossfit at CFKSQ, I quickly emailed Everett and anxiously got through my fundamentals courses so I could get down to business. I’ve been going 5-6 days a week (when I’m not traveling for horse shows) ever since.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? Before starting Crossfit there’s a lot of things I thought I couldn’t do- I had a very fixed mindset about my athletic ability. I remember a day where I said, “ok, I’ll try this crazy Crossfit stuff, but you’re not getting me to jump on the box.”  But something crazy happens when you keep showing up and putting the work in. Marginal increases everyday lead to big changes over time. I’ll be two years into my Crossfit journey this November and I’ve gone from saying I wouldn’t even try to jump on the box to maxing out the height with no problem. I also went from not being able to run a single mile to running a half marathon, and with no previous lifting experience, I’ve hit a 215# back squat, a 285# deadlift and a 140# push press. It’s not really about the numbers, but that’s pretty incredible given where I started from and it still feels like the journey is just beginning.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? Becoming invested in some of the resources that the Crossfit community has to offer, I’ve learned that going to the gym and working out hard everyday isn’t the only ingredient it takes to be healthy. Training is part of it, for sure but if anything my training has made me more aware of what I’m doing in the hours outside of the gym. Nutrition, sleep, recovery, mindset and even relationships all contribute to how I’m performing in the gym and also in my life. I think one of the biggest lessons to learn is to take ownership for all of these elements so you can be successful. That doesn’t mean every day will be perfect but this sort of thinking has definitely prepared me to approach challenges with more confidence that I will find a way to overcome them.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFKSQ moments: Barbell Brawl last year. I agreed to be on a team I think a little over 2 months to the competition even though there were pull ups in the last workout- Fran with Friends- and I still hadn’t gotten my pull ups yet. That deadline put me to work and forced me to challenge myself outside of my comfort zone and during the day of the competition, I truly felt like I gave it everything I had to finish those 45 pull-ups- dropping down from the last one with tears- of joy and exhaustion- streaming down my face. I’m actually giggling that most of my favorite moments involve tears- on another occasion I was having a particularly hard time doing a workout and I was incredibly frustrated with myself because they were moves I knew I should be crushing. Everett came over and quietly asked me if I wanted to stop and I said no and finished the workout through tears with modifications- which again was very frustrating for me- but it’s moments like those that keep me coming back because they help to show me that I am capable of more than I think I am and just because you have a bad day doesn’t mean you’re failing. 

Any advice for people just getting started? Don’t be afraid to suck. It’s easy to walk into a Crossfit gym and get overwhelmed at all the things you can’t do. And sure there will always be the freaks who pick up a jump rope and get double unders perfectly on the first try, but for the rest of us human beings, failure is the best way to learn. People use not having the ability to do something as an excuse not to do it-, which is incredibly silly because you can only obtain those abilities if you try and fail, and try again anyway!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Sometimes I think I have too many hobbies and interests but honestly, Crossfit is the pillar of what makes it all possible. I’ve mentioned horses before and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to make my career out of my passion and even have a podcast called The Whole Equestrian where I discuss topics of mindset, fitness, nutrition and community as they relate to the horse world. More recently, I’ve taken up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is another incredible community and a great way to use my functional fitness. I also love to read and meditate and I’m always down for a good stretch at yoga when my schedule allows for it!

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