Brian Wood describes his intro to CrossFit as a bit of an “ego check.” He was 41 at the time and, despite hitting the elliptical machine at the gym and pushing a stroller around Park Slope, felt pretty out of shape during those first few WODs. But the challenge that CrossFit presented turned out to be a good thing. He quickly got hooked on the variety and intensity, and it wasn’t long before he started to notice positive changes in his own life.
Read our Q&A with Brian to learn more about his goals, recent PRs and how he makes time to work out amidst deadlines and caring for two kids.
How did you discover CrossFit?
I had a basic awareness of CrossFit because my brother-in-law has been doing it for a decade or more, but it wasn’t anything he and I talked about, and he lives on the west coast. My history with working out as an adult has been pretty pitiful, especially since I was very active as a young person, running track, playing basketball, skating and snowboarding. But every time I made a resolution as an adult to get in shape I’d do it for a little while and quit out of boredom. The last thing I did before starting CrossFit was using the ellipticals at the Y. Really tedious and not very effective.
But CrossFit seemed to be the opposite of tedious and boring, and the more videos I watched the more I was certain this was something I could stick with. Or at least I couldn’t credibly claim boredom as a reason to flake out on it. I looked at the websites for CF718 and South Brooklyn and picked the least intimidating one (what my criteria was at the time, I can’t remember. Still, good choice!). Tammy did my basics.
What kinds of changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit?
It’s interesting the things you learn about your body after doing CrossFit for a while. First, it was incredible how out of shape I was at the start, which was a real ego check since I had convinced myself that pushing my kids in a stroller all over the neighborhood was exercise. Then it was the role food plays in how you feel and perform. Then the weight loss, how your muscles develop (I never had muscles before!) and then how all that changes the real mundane day-to-day things. It’s amazing, we all know it’s amazing.
How do you make time for working out?
Well, that’s the real struggle I face, and I have productive periods of CrossFit time and less productive periods. I’m currently in a less productive one. I work at home, self-employed, and as such am the primary caregiver for my two kids in the sense that I bring them to school, I’m the one who gets called if they’re sick, or if it’s a holiday or a half day. Anything like that. Not to make it sound like my wife does nothing, but she works in the city, so I’m the go-to guy for anything that happens during the day. And my work is all freelance and deadline-based, so if something comes up and it’s due at a certain time, I often have to skip the gym to hit that deadline to cover rent that month.
So ideally I would work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9am. That’s the goal, and it’s a constant struggle to hit that goal regularly while running a business and with the kids. I know I’m not unique in all of this, but it’s the thing I struggle with the most. I try and give myself a break and not beat myself up… to just understand this is my life and I’ll do my best, as opposed to feeling guilty and stressed all the time about it.
What’s your favorite lift and WOD?
Early on I enjoyed bodyweight exercises the most, and I think part of that was just a fear of the bar. These days I like barbell stuff more, compound lifts that feel massive like thrusters and C+J’s. I like EMOMs and ladders, WODS with structure like that, and I love that “Juicy” WOD (20 back squats for time).
What’s a recent PR that you’re proud of?
Recently I got a 305 deadlift and a 215 front squat which were significant for me, to break the 200 and 300 marks on those.
What’s one of your current goals?
Right now my goals are getting my schedule back on track, as well as eating the way I should. Again, working at home can really work against you on the food side of things. Plus since my kids seem to live off a diet of dairy and bread, and there’s all kinds of delicious stuff lying around.
At the gym, I like the progress I’m making on heavier and heavier lifts, but would love to get my conditioning back to where it was last summer
What’s your Fran time?
Honestly, I have no idea! It’s been awhile for me and Fran.
What do you do when you’re not at the box?
I work as a writer, so most times I’m sitting at my desk. I take my kids to the Y a lot. In good weather, my daughter and I bike loops around the park. I try and keep them as active as possible, to understand that doing sports or just moving around a lot is normal, to try as much as possible to give them the same sort of childhood I had being outside all the time.