CFLA Athlete Profile – Jamie Silber

CFLA Athlete Profile – Jamie Silber

I don’t normally post a blurb and a resume before a CFLA’s athlete profile, but I wanted you guys to have a better understanding of who Jamie is. Last year, when our humble CFLA Tri group would follow Jamie to Tower 26 with trepidation, and as he was gently giving us tips of triathlon-training gold, stranger after stranger clad in wetsuits and swim caps would pass by and pay their respects. “Hi Jamie.” “Thanks for last season, Jamie.” “Oh, there’s Jamie Silber.” Since, many people outside of CFLA have asked me, “Wow, you know Jamie Silber?” We clueless CrossFitters didn’t realize we were in the midst of local triathlon royalty. Now you guys know, too. Here’s Jamie’s resume. Imagine the dedication, determination, and downright ability one needs to achieve this list of accomplishments. So glad you’re part of CFLA, Jamie! And I can’t wait for our tailor-made CFLA tri training coming this summer.

Amateur/Elite Triathlons:
· 2nd place finish at National Championships (Olympic Dist.) ’94
· 2nd place finish at National Championships (Sprint Dist.) ’96
· 4 time finisher New Zealand Ironman Triathlon ’98 ’99 ’09 ’12
· Finisher Austria Ironman Triathlon ’01
· Finisher Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championships ’02
· Finisher Canada Ironman Triathlon ’04
· 6 place Age Group World Aquathlon Championships ’05
· 5 time Team USA Triathlete
– Currently ranked 9th nationally in Age Group
· 5 time World ITU Triathlon Championships Qualifier
– Placed 23rd in age group at 2012 World ITU Triathlon Champs, Auckland, NZ. 

Hometown: Santa Monica, CA 
Age: 50
Occupation: Fitness Trainer and Triathlon Coach
When did you first start CrossFitting?July 2012
When did you first start training at CFLA?July 2012 

Favorite WOD: I’m gonna divide this question into two parts. First my favorite WOD and second, my favorite “LIFT”.Favorite WOD is CINDY. I’ve spent the better part of 35 years moving just my body weight against all forms of drag: water, wind, other people and of course, gravity. I feel CINDY exemplifies and serves as a measure of your true strength to body-weight-work capacity. I know I can run a long way in 20mins, however, 5 strict push- ups are more like a marathon for me! My favorite “LIFT” is the Snatch! I’m fascinated by the strength, speed and beauty of this Olympic Lift. My hip speed is a constant challenge for me. So much of Crossfit training centers on your midline stability and hip speed. The snatch is a work in progress and I’m hoping for more breakthroughs in future WODs. 

Least Favorite WOD: Any one with Muscle Ups! I was in awe of CFLA’er John Cannon nailing his first Muscle Up a few weeks ago…so much technique driven strength to master this movement!

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: 
We have to go way back…the earth cooled, the dinosaurs split, then I took up skateboarding. I was a pro team (skateboard) rider for Powel – Peralta from age 12-17, then found running after I noticed girls liked runner’s more than grungy skaters. I was an All American cross-country and track athlete in high school and college. After graduating College, I took up triathlons and have been fortunate to race all around the world and achieve a lot of success as an elite amateur. Leisurely, I enjoy skiing, mountain biking, water skiing, and surfing.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? I knew of the legend that was Andy Petranek way back in the 90’s when I was a personal trainer working for NASM. I kept it safe and in the gym, while Andy was other there Adventure Racing and lifting large objects in the mean streets West LA. I would follow Andy’s exploits form time to time and eventually learned of his involvement with CrossFit. For years, I kept my personal and professional distance from CrossFit. I was content with my education and professional clientele and for no better reason other than: “this is just not for me”, I thought I would never step foot in a BOX. That all changed when I got hit by a car while riding my bike in May of 2012. Rehab was going slow and I was unable to swim or run. I called Andy and asked for advice…his advice was profound, yet curt. He said:“Just come in”. Yup, that was it! I think I was in Dizzle’s class and we did a Base Line with some bar work. I was amazed how my injures knew right away what I could do and what I needed to scale…I felt and still feels like I’m growing by leaps and bounds!

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)?A lot of CFLA members have been kind enough to engage me with questions on running and triathlon in particular. Most are concerned about the ratio of volume between CrossFit and their single sport training. I firmly believe CrossFit training greatly enhances mono-structural activities in many ways. For example, overall in the past year, I’ve reduced my swim, bike and run training up to 30% while staying consistent with three CrossFit workouts a week. In this time, I’ve seen an increase in my VO2 and more importantly, my performances and have improved greatly! 

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? When I turned 50 years old, as a health educator and fitness instructor, my mindset what that of: “its time to slow down” “its not cool to lead any more”.I have to say that CrossFit has wiped those thoughts from my mind. I feel a sense strength grounded not only in my physicality, but also rooted in sense of community. CFLA embodies your whole spirit…I was not expecting that!

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments:
Going lower than my hip crease for the first time on a squat
Watching CFLA’er doing their first triathlon
Kenny’s Retro Sweat Suit Party
Whole Life Challenge – Jan ‘14
Watching Zack’s 14.5 CrossFit Open WOD
Jonesy finishing his first Half Ironman Triathlon

Any advice for people just getting started? First, get to know and trust your coaches. Learn and explore the fundamental movements! Then, when you are at your most vulnerable, when you feel like your “legs are going to vomit”….smile, it’s the best feeling you’ll ever hate!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I’m studying to be a LEED certified associate in sustainable housing and building. I’ve been in a book club for over 10 years and read 2-3 books per month. I study astrophysics in my own time and was enlightened by the recent discovery of the Higgs-boson. Love to travel and find new places to swim, bike and run!

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