Whenever I describe Jay I always refer to him as my “very good friend.” Not just friend or good friend — he’s my very good friend. I’ve know Jay and his lovely wife, Mary-Ann, for over 20 years, and they were both students of mine when I taught “Interpersonal Communication” at North Carolina State University. Mary-Ann earned an A while Jay only earned at B+ (see below). Jay resoundingly earns an A in CrossFit and I’ll even give him an A+ for powerlifting and Olympic lifting. He’s one very strong man. 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are your interests outside of CrossFit?

I am a husband, father of three wonderful kids (Josh 19, Jade 16, & Jacob 14), owner of the best dog ever (Max), a physical therapist at Duke since 2002, a black belt in Sil-Lum Kung Fu, and a college basketball fan (Let’s Go Duke!). I enjoy chilling out with my family and keeping a clean house. I like to cook, I like the outdoors, I love the beach. I really enjoy my work as a physical therapist and how CrossFit and Physical Therapy are so intertwined. I enjoy watching MMA and Manny Pacquiao fights as well as watching “The Walking Dead.” I like playing basketball, golf, and soccer. I suck at racquet sports. Other than that, I CrossFit.  

How and why did you get involved in CrossFit?

Four years ago I reconnected with my good friend and ex-college professor, Paul Potorti, on Facebook. Paul taught both my wife and me Interpersonal Communication class at NC State, (fyi-One of my Top 10 Classes I have ever taken…even though I only made a B+) and Paul spoke at our wedding on January 21, 1995. (Twenty years this January, folks!) When we met Paul again in 2010, this “New Paul” was much fitter and balder than what I remembered. He was telling us about this new CrossFit thing he just started and I think that was all he talked about for several hours (I’m pretty sure he demonstrated at least 100 burpees with proper form while he was talking.) I was doing my 2nd round of P90X and I was finding it repetively-blah. So I went with him to try a WOD at Crossfit Durham. I found it challenging, yet fun. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be some kind of fad thing so I signed up for Bootcamp. I survived Bootcamp and was debating with Paul on whether or not to sign up for the CrossFit classes. Paul and I had an very involved discussion regarding sand (you’ll have to ask me in person for the story) and I finally acquiesced. I haven’t looked back. 

What was the first workout that you completed? What do you remember most about the workout? 

I don’t recall my very first WOD, but I do remember my first Benchmark WOD. It was “Angie.” It was at my first box, CrossFit Durham. They had this really small rig which I think is outside now. There were a bunch of people on it swinging on it like monkeys and the whole thing would shake since it wasn’t bolted down. I remember 100 pull-ups seemed impossible especially when I couldn’t even do 1 pull-up. I tried to scale with the least amount of bands possible since the people around me were doing the workout Rx. Stupid me. I remember the coach telling me, after 20 minutes and only 60 pull-ups later, to quit my pull-ups and start the next movement. People were about done when I was just starting my next activity. “Angie” kicked me in my cojones that day. #Fail

What are your current and future training goals?  

1. Not get weaker with all 1RM. Ever.

2. CF Total 1000 (I’m so close…)

3. Sub 7-min mile (best time 7:43 since starting CrossFit).

4. String muscle ups (I can do 1 muscle up, but not consistently).

5. Maybe coach this stuff one day.

6. Be able to perform all WODs Rx.

What is your favorite activity or lift, e.g., pull-ups, dead-lifts, running, front squats, snatches, burpees, etc.?

I feel I am pretty good at double unders and lifting heavy stuff. But I really like the snatch. A hearty exercise that encompasses skill with strength. Nothing like a good snatch!

What is your least favorite activity or lift?

L-sits and those awful alternating hip touches. 

What PR are you most proud of achieving and why?

Probably getting a muscle up and rope climbing. For my size, I am amazed what I am able to do with body weight movements. 

What do you enjoy more, strength or conditioning, and why? 

I enjoy both, but if the question is would I rather run or lift a barbell, I would choose lifting. Discovering what my work capacity is in a certain amount of time, reps, distance, etc. is my goal.   

Do you eat Paleo/Zone?

I eat everything, and consume everything and in each and every time zone. 

Unfortunately, I have found that I have had better WODs with cleaner eating. (Dammit.)  

What are 3 fun facts about yourself?

  1. Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina.  
  2. I married my high school sweetheart. Class of 1989.
  3. I know Kung Fu. (Name that movie.) Really, I do…