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

The most special thing is this: My life is blessed beyond measure by two daughters, Kaitlyn and Kristen. The loves of my life, they are amazing and beautiful in every way. I couldn’t be more proud to be their Dad. Their fur-sister is Stevie, and their fur-brothers are Moses and Julien.

Now, for those still wondering: I’ve never been a gymnast, and I am not a gynecologist. Ha! I am a physician, though, and a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at UNC School of Medicine. In addition to seeing patients from all walks of life, I teach medical students, residents, and fellows (you know, how to wash their hands and stuff). My research is in cardiovascular disease prevention, mostly focusing on hypertension, but  I also am active in research on nutrition and physical activity. I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. I like watching movies, going to the beach, and working on my acoustic guitar playing (so far, a 16-year endeavor). My favorite character in Lord of the Rings is Samwise Gamgee. My comfort comes from remembering that God knows the plans He has for me (Jer 29:11).

How and why did you get involved in CrossFit?

In late fall of 2013, I was invited to a “Community WOD.” It was not only exceedingly challenging, but also extremely fun. Also immediately evident at CrossFit Surmount were the exceptional coaching and encouraging environment. After going to Community WODs two Saturdays in a row, I was hooked. I signed up for Foundations as soon as I could. I quickly grew to greatly appreciate the thought that goes into the programming and the high standards at CFS, and I look forward to every workout.

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

Like many who try to remember their first CF workout, I also do not remember the specifics of mine. I do know that early on I was victim to the old “let’s watch the new guy try a slam ball” trick, and I also couldn’t squat below parallel. The main thing I remember is just the feeling of how much of a workout it was in such a short time. I also remember doing one ring dip and being sore in my chest for a week (maybe I didn’t warm up enough)!

What are your current and future training goals?

One shorter-term goal is stringing double unders together more consistently and smoothly (I am getting closer, and at least now I am not whipping my forearm). I am sure I will always have the goal of improving form on my lifts. I still cannot get my hips to cooperate! A longer term goal is the 400# deadlift.

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

I really do like it all. Body weight movements are more in my wheelhouse —pull-ups, dips, HSPUs, walking on hands, and working on muscle-ups. I even like windshield wipers. I am happy to say that (thanks to CFS and Coach Paul), I also now enjoy and don’t mind (and, ok, kind of enjoy) running. I am getting better at the lifts, but still have much room for improvement. It’s a journey (and that’s a good thing).

What is your least favorite activity or lift?

Wall ball shots are my least favorite, and overhead walking lunges are a close second to those. Of the lifts, the most difficult for me are OHS, snatch, and oddly enough, the push-jerk. I still like them, though. Oh, I am still afraid of box jumps higher than 30”.

What PR are you most proud of achieving and why?

My overhead squat of 140 pounds is not too far from my bodyweight. When I started CrossFit, I could not even overhead squat the bar. This year I also completed Murph with the vest for the first time. I like Hero WODs and feel a special connection to the ones in honor of military members. Whether PRs or not, I just enjoy seeing everyone’s remarkable progress. There is no doubt that CrossFit works!

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

To me, the mix of strength and conditioning is one of the things that makes CrossFit great. I enjoy them both and appreciate the health and fitness benefits that they bring together.

Do you eat Paleo/Zone?

I don’t. I mostly just try to maintain overall healthy eating: minimal sugar, not too many calories from starchy carbs, frequent fruits and vegetables, good fats (olive oil, avocado), almonds, and of course, eggs and BACON!

What are 3 fun facts about yourself?

  1. Before medical school, I taught sixth grade science. That year I also took SCUBA diving lessons and flying lessons.
  2. I was in the Navy for 12 years, stationed two years at Naval Hospital Guam, and while there, delivered baby Jesus on Christmas day.
  3. I am an amateur balloon artist.