It's gonna be.....CLAY!
We didn't pick Clay for AOM because his name rhymes with May, but now that we've said it, it just feels so right.
Clay has been part of the CrossFit Chapel Hill family for about 2.5 years and is another one of our awesome members who has traveled with us from gym to gym during that time (we love Clay!!). Although he chats/whines/rolls his eyes through most of the workouts, he still consistently shows up 5-6 days a week to get his workout and social hour in. ;-) We've seen huge improvements with his strength the last few months, and is regularly hitting those RX and RX+ workouts (Ya'll better watch out for him and his comp partner Haley aka Team Claley in the competition this weekend).
Not only is a he a hard working athlete, but he also helps us out a ton behind the scenes with marketing and socials, AND he volunteers as our resident photographer. Thanks to Clay, those fancy pictures you see on the website are not just shoddy pictures from Morgan's iPhone (well, at least not all of them).
Thank you Clay for all you do! We are super pumped to announce you as our May Athlete of the Month!
We asked Clay a few questions about himself and here is what he had to say:
1) What did you do for fitness before CrossFit? (And/or what else do you do for fitness besides CrossFit presently?)
"I grew up playing tennis competitively across Florida and probably didn’t pick up a barbell until late in high school, when I was introduced to CrossFit. Back then, I really considered fitness to be sport-specific outside of running/cardio and I didn’t have much of an interest in lifting weights. Cardio, speed, core, and explosiveness were the tenants of my idea of fitness. You don’t have to have to be strong to be a good tennis player. Needless to say, I couldn’t lift much then and even today, my body is still learning how develop and utilize strength. Since college, CrossFit has filled that need to “play” and compete."
2) What do you spend most of your time doing outside of the gym?
"I work within UNC Athletics in the administration and am a total dork. I love research and data, and love reading about all things related to behavioral psychology, business, theology, and really anything where I can learn something new about the world. I spend an obscene amount of time in coffee shops."
3) Tell us something about yourself we may not know.
"I have a twin tennis-playing sister who currently lives in Australia but I’d also say that I’m not the extrovert I come off as while in the gym. Outside of Crossfit, I’m very much an introvert, which I realize may be hard for some to imagine!" (I DON'T BELIEVE YOU CLAY)
4) What got you started in CrossFit?
"I found CrossFit late in high school (about 7-8 years ago) and went once a week, feeling like I was dying every time. In many ways, I dreaded it (again, imagine like 120 lb Clay). Most of the movements I did were with a 75 lb. barbell, which seemed so heavy and so much of it was foreign. At the time, I thought it was just a single business, I didn’t realize it was a national fitness movement."
5) What's your biggest accomplishment at CFCH so far?
"I think getting muscle-ups and competing in the New WODs on the Block competition with Haley and Cameron have meant a lot to me. The last 6 months in particular, I feel like I’ve gotten over a bit of a fitness plateau I was experiencing for a while."
6) What's your biggest non-fitness accomplishment?
"I look back and realize that CrossFit has made me much stronger mentally and more disciplined. Progress is incremental, and I say that so much that it’s become much of what I do, just looking to get a tiny bit better every day. With that, challenging myself to be uncomfortable and fail more often, seeing failures as victories and opportunity for growth."
7) What fitness goal are you currently chasing?
"Currently, I’m doing shoulder work, trying to improve efficiency in muscle-ups and HSPU’s, working on back-squat (I say that but not really), and doing Sunday training for Murph with Cameron."
8) What life goal are you currently chasing?
"I graduate shortly and am looking to move somewhere near Birmingham to be closer to my girlfriend while continuing to work in a college athletics department. I think it’s really important to design my life around “Why” more than “What” and correspondingly, I want to work towards a meaningful purpose (a.k.a. I’m a Millennial) both in and out of my career."
9) What is your favorite CrossFit movement of workout?
"Pretty much everything not called “Overhead Squats.” I like power cleans and muscle-ups."
10) What movement/workout makes you cringe to see on the board?
"As noted above, overhead squats are the bane of my CrossFit existence. Pistols and lunges are also on my “Avoid” list (i.e. need to do more of them)."
11) What's your favorite thing about CFCH?
"Cliché but definitely the people. To have a community that challenges and supports each other is CF’s most valuable asset. I love that we go out of our way to be a community of friends outside the gym too. From those that had been at the old CFCH in the mall, to O2, to CrossFit Charlie, all the way to just joining CFCH here, the people have been the best and the part that I find hardest to say goodbye to." (I'M NOT CRYING YOU'RE CRYING)
12) What long term plans do you have in the realm of health and fitness?
"I'd like to just keep getting stronger and to keep challenging myself. I want to maintain exercise as a priority and maybe jump into triathlon training at some point."
13) What or who is an inspiration to you?
"You know, I just always love to meet new people in the gym and learn what they’re working towards. What really inspires me is when someone does their first muscle-up or their first box jump, or whatever goal they had, and the look on their face is just pure joy because, like so many of us through CrossFit, they’ve found themselves able to do something they never thought they could. I love that moment." (I'M NOT CRYING YOU'RE CRYING)
14) Which band/station/playlist is your favorite to really get you pumped up at the gym?
"Oooh, anything 90’s punk rock brings back all the nostalgic teenage angsty feels. Also not afraid to go with some T-Swift and Coldplay."