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

I was born in Yonkers, NY (in Westchester county), and grew up loving pizza, hot dogs, and the Yankees. From the age of 7 to 14 I had the opportunity to live in Ecuador, South America. Looking for more excitement in life, at the age of 17 I joined the Marine Corps and had the distinguished honor to serve seven years during the Persian Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm. Being the youngest Marine in my platoon I was always leading the march next to “Devil Dog.”

After 16 years of living in Connecticut I felt like it was time for a change. I closed my executive search firm and moved the family to Cary, NC. I have enjoyed the last three years of Carolina blue skies! I’m not sure why it took me so long to get here.

Outside of CrossFit, I enjoy eating. Ha! I am a simple meat and potatoes kind of guy. As I have gotten older, I’ve switched from large quantities of food to measured, quality food. Thank God for Paleo.

Biking, hiking, swimming, and participating in triathlons are my fitness interests outside of CrossFit. Besides all the physical and mental endurance, the most important things in my life are my faith, relationship with God, and spending quality time with my daughter, Grace, and my relatives.

How and why did you get involved in CrossFit?

Like some people I was somewhat reluctant to try CrossFit, but i was not because of the hard work – I was just not interested in a group class type of setting.

My interest in fitness started when I joined the Marines. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to be involved in Bench Press, Powerlifting, and Olympic lifting events and bodybuilding shows. So my thinking was, “Why should I try this CrossFit thing? I’ve been through the real Boot Camp. I don’t need this!” At one point in my career I was a general manager for a chain of health clubs in Connecticut. Going from city to city opening mega gyms and personal training programs and then owning my own PT studio, I was aware of the fads people and the fitness industry go through. I thought that I was happy lifting on my own, not having to wait for a workout partner or to wait for my turn to use the bench or cardio equipment. I just did not have the patience to deal with it. I completed a triathlon in 2012 and realized that something was missing. I knew I could do better, and that sparked my curiosity to venture into trying something different.

So, after a few years of self-talk and weighing in at 232 lbs. (and only 5’7”), I decided to give CrossFit a try. Of course I used my discounted Living Social coupon for the “Boot Camp” class. Needless to say, it was a humbling experience and I got hooked on CrossFit. It was May 13, 2013 – a day I will never forget.

CrossFit truly exposed my weaknesses and reawakened my competitive spirit and sense of camaraderie. What spoke to me were the Hero WODs, and they still do and for many reasons. Hero WODs remind me of the daily ongoing question in my mind: “Why do some men/women make it in battle while others don’t? If I am still here, then let me truly live my life to the fullest!” 

Surmount has a great sense of community and the Coaches are awesome! I am so glad that I was able to start at the right place and with such excellent coaches. I’m sure that if I had I gone anywhere else it would not have worked out the way that it has.

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

Ha! What do I remember? Simultaneously being in pain and gasping for air! That is all that I remember. I don’t remember what workout it was, but I do remember that it was very tough. Actually “fun,” as Coach Paul would say.

What are your current and future training goals?  

Current goals are to start completing Rx and Rx+ WODs. I want to master double unders and stringing my kipping pull-ups together.

I’d like to enter a CrossFit competition, but I need to master a few more skills first.

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

Squats are my favorite, followed by push press.

What is your least favorite activity or lift?

Deadlifts and burpees are my least favorite.

What PR are you most proud of achieving and why?

Recently my hang squat snatch! I figured out that it is all about technique and I think I got this one down for sure.

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

I enjoy strength the most, just because it comes naturally to me, but I know I am starting to enjoy conditioning, especially since eating Paleo as I notice that eating clean has resulted in betters conditioning results.

Do you eat Paleo/Zone?

Yes, I do six days per week. I have one cheat day, and what I eat depends on what my daughter Grace wants on Friday night, either pizza or pasta. Either way, it’s a good Friday night that I always look forward to.

What are 3 fun facts about yourself?

  1. While growing up in NY, I lived in an Italian neighborhood, and I would beg my parents to change my name from Fernando to Tony, which blended well with the neighbors.
  2. Growing up I dreamed of being an Olympian.
  3. Not to stereotype cultures but I think that I am the only Latino that doesn’t like to dance.