After a serious illness put exercise and competitive sports on the backburner, Steven Nelson struggled with getting active again and eating right. He knew he needed to make a change, so, shortly after his wife completed the New You Program in 2016, he took a trial class and signed up for basics. As expected, his physical health improved dramatically. But he also experienced a huge boost in self-confidence and a renewed sense of adventure. Steven now has the determination to pursue his goals. In fact, there just may be a CrossFit Level 1 certification in his future…
Read our Q&A with Steven and get to know November’s Athlete of the Month!
How did you discover CrossFit?
My journey to CrossFit is a long story. In high school, I was active in athletics in both varsity wrestling and lacrosse. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have the right encouragement to push myself. In my sophomore year, I had a sports injury and it was discovered I had an osteosarcoma in my right distal femur. I was forced to drop out of sports and stop exercising to focus on chemotherapy treatments and surgery to have a portion of my bone replaced.
Chemotherapy does a lot to the body and mind, and I knew I had to get back into some sort of athletics. Depression and anxiety took over a good portion of my world along with a shit diet and zero exercise. In November 2016, my wife joined the New You Program after seeing an ad on Facebook (who the hell does that?!). She was doing CrossFit for six months, and I finally got my ass off the couch to try a free trial class with Coach Tammy. Next thing I knew I was doing the basics class with Coach Lea and Coach Hal and I have been WODding ever since.
Why did you end up sticking with CrossFit?
CrossFit has not only benefited my physical health but it has also been a benefit to my mental health. I have had previous issues with anxiety, depression, and a lack of confidence in myself. Since starting CrossFit, I’ve become a fitter and more confident human being. Also, I found a pack of weirdos that I am so comfortable with; they’ve become the extra cheerleaders in my life.
What kinds of changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit?
Mentally, I have become way more comfortable in my own skin, and my anxiety has been more manageable. Physically, I have been able to walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing and run a 5k, which I never thought would be possible. I’ve been more confident in social situations and in my work and personal lives. I have found myself more determined to try new things and to be able to have the confidence in pursuing the things that I have always wanted to do.
How do you make time for working out?
Typically, I try to make it to the box three times a week. However, doing this Whole Life Challenge has me going to the box three times a week and also being active at least 10 minutes a day. I know the results if I don’t get to the box and if I do go to the box, and I just have to make the time.
What’s your favorite lift?
I am a big fan of most of the lifting components. But if I had to pick favorites, they would have to be cleans and power cleans. They seem to give me the most fulfillment.
What recent achievement are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of detoxing from sugar, junk food, gluten, and alcohol. Doing the Whole Life Challenge has helped both my physical and mental health.
What goals are you working on?
There are a few short-term goals I am working on. I’m working on my pull-ups, and I would like to be able to get up the rope and get in some double unders. Long term, I would eventually like to get a CrossFit Level 1 certification and hopefully give back in some way.
What do you do when you’re not at the box?
I am married to Dana Nelson, fellow 718-er and all-around boss teacher and amazing woman. We have a fur baby Gus who some might have seen from time to time. I work as a project manager in design and construction for the New York City Economic Development Corporation and am working on getting my license in landscape architecture. I am a big gamer (both video games and board games) and will hopefully be pursuing my SCUBA diving certification this winter while Dana and I are on vacation.