We are ringing in the new year by showcasing Andy Kuhlmann as our January 2018 Athlete of the Month!  Since he started with us, Andy has been a prime example of how hard work and discipline can pay off.  Like most everyone who does Crossfit, he hasn't mastered everything, but we've been impressed with his progress over the last several months which is why we thought everyone should get to learn a bit more about him. 

1.  How long have you been doing CrossFit for and what made you decide to start?

I started this past January 2017 so I'm just coming up on one full year.

The main reason I started was because I was going to be turning 50 years old in May of that year, and like many people coming up on a milestone birthday, I was reflecting on where I was in life and what goals I wanted to establish ahead. One of those goals was a commitment to myself to get into the best shape of my life. 

The question, at that point, was how was I going to achieve that objective.

I really had no idea what Crossfit was a year ago however, on one occasion I went to a restaurant by my home where I saw two guys I knew but hadn’t seen for a while. They both looked physically great and noticeably “fitter” from the last time I had seen them and they both said they had been doing CF so they went on to define and explain CF and my wife said, “That sounds like something you would really like, I’m signing you up to start the new year”, and so she did.

2.  You've progressed pretty quickly in many of the movements in a short amount of time.  What do you attribute this to? 

I would attribute it to a few main things:

First, I would say the biggest factor has been a commitment to consistency.  In the past, I had always let some life or work happening derail any consistent progress I had made in the area of fitness.

Since I started Crossfit HE, this past January, I can't think of a week where I have missed going 3-4 per week. 

Second, I feel like Eazy (and all the coaches for that matter) have shown an interest in my progress so that type of encouragement certainly has helped and the workout programming has continued to be so varied and well structured that every workout is new, interesting and challenging. 

Third, I watch a lot of videos on technique, progressions and other Crossfit resources that have provided me little tips and methods for increasing my efficiency.

Lastly, I have people in my class that have been great examples of the positive results achievable from consistency and a dedicated work effort.  Over the last year I have learned tips and techniques from them as well, that I have incorporated into my own practice.

3.  Tell us a bit about yourself.  What do you like to do when you are not sweating it out in the gym?

One thing I love to do is travel with my wife, Debbie and often our two daughters , Lexi & Trina,  who join us as well. 

With the encouragement of my wife, Crossfit has found its way into my travels as I have dropped-in for workouts this past year in Maui HI, Boulder CO, Nashville TN, and just recently in Amsterdam, NL. It’s really cool to experience the community of CF at different gyms around the world and I plan on continuing that in the future.

I also like snow skiing and playing softball and taking outdoor runs in the summer with my wife. 

4. What's one accomplishment you've achieved in the gym that you're most proud of?

I would probably say being able to do ring and bar muscle-ups in a WOD. I’m probably most proud of that because I remember my very first “full” workout last January was Fran (after my foundation classes) and I couldn’t even do one pullup without using a band. I try to tell that story, especially to new people in Crossfit to encourage them not to give up and to keep moving forward in their progress even though they may be feeling weak or unfit comparatively to others.

5.  What's the most noticeable change you've witnessed since you've started? 

The most noticeable change is that I now only need two days to recover from a “Tri-Fri” workout and not four days.

Seriously, probably that Crossfit with its concentration on Olympic style lifts and gymnastic bar work has really helped me develop areas of my body that I never had developed before. I have witnessed Crossfit provide me with significant gains in both my aerobic and anaerobic development over the last year.

6.  What advice do you have for people interested in starting CrossFit?

My advice is, even though you may not consider yourself an athlete, don’t let worry or fear stop you from trying CF.  No matter what age you are or what level of fitness you may consider yourself to be, you can scale or modify Crossfit workouts to continually challenge yourself. 

Take foundation classes to learn proper techniques and then work on small progressions until you have established a solid base. 

Make sure you begin with “horse blinders” on and only compete with yourself…leave your ego at the door.

Really focus on the “technique” aspects of the lifts and of the gymnastic movements and don’t concern yourself with the weight.

And finally, have fun with the workouts and be able to laugh at yourself (like I do every time I try to do a squat snatch with any weight).