CFLA Athlete Profile – Jordan Grotzinger
Hometown: New York, NY
When did you first start CrossFitting?: Memorial Day, 2014
When did you first start training at CFLA?: June 2014
Favorite WOD: Murph
Least Favorite WOD: Anything with over 50 burpees
Tell us about your sports & fitness background: I was a small kid growing up and played little league baseball, but other than that — and a stint as an average skier on my high school ski team — I didn’t play organized sports. I dabbled in a few recreational things through college, but was never a real athlete. After law school, marriage and my first two kids, I was not taking care of myself physically. I ate what I wanted and didn’t exercise regularly. And it showed. When the economy tanked in 2008, one of the fancy gyms in LA that had been charging a pretty high initiation fee offered a monthly membership with no initiation fee, so I joined. From that point, I was focused on staying fit and made regular exercise and healthy eating into habits. From 2009 through mid-2014, I worked out at local gyms, ran, spun, sometimes worked with a trainer and was generally active. It got me in shape, I lost more than 20 pounds, and I thought I was pretty fit for my age. My office used to be in Santa Monica, and some colleagues, including my partner Nina Boyajian, kept telling me about some place called CrossFit LA, but I was set in my ways and kept doing what I was doing.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? I am on the executive board of a charity called Sports Spectacular, which for 30 years has hosted an annual sports awards dinner that raises money for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. A friend of mine from the organization was an actor in the film “Lone Survivor,” about Operation Red Wings, including Lt. Michael Murphy. Through that connection, we were talking to a San Diego apparel company started by other Navy SEALs about providing merchandise for our 2014 Sports Spectacular event. They couldn’t do it because the event coincided with a campaign they run every year to raise money for the Michael Murphy scholarship foundation during some annual workout called “Murph.” I looked into it, and wondered if I could even finish the workout. I heard that you could do the workout at CrossFit LA even if you weren’t a member, so I signed up. I think I was in the second heat that morning, and I remember watching some guys knocking out reps. I had never seen pull-ups like that and I thought to myself, “What have I gotten into?” Anyway, I grinded through the workout (toughest of my life) and finished. The energy in the room (and on the runs) was amazing. I had never experienced a workout environment like that before. Several people I didn’t know cheered me on and encouraged me throughout the workout. I felt very welcome even though I barely knew anybody. A few days later, I called CrossFit LA about joining. I spoke with Kenny Kane, who would become my Fundamentals coach, and joined.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I feel stronger than ever, and my endurance has improved. My whole body feels sturdier. Thanks to great coaching (including my first session with Kenny), my posture has improved. After a lot of practice, I finally can do proper kipping pull-ups, chest-to-bar pull-ups and double-unders, none of which I could do before I started CrossFit. My running has improved after all of our work on Franklin Hill. I am more mindful of the mental vs. physical sides of working out, which helps me pace myself and get through particularly tough WODs. There is plenty that I can’t yet do, but look forward to those challenges, having experienced my progress thus far. I also feel like I have more energy and my immune system is stronger.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I think I’m happier. Ironically, the insanity at CrossFit brings me a certain peace after the WODs. I often feel like, if I can get through a tough WOD, I can get through whatever else I need to get through that day. Also, I can no longer imagine going to a regular gym, or working out alone anymore. Working out with many friends at 7 a.m. (and sometimes 6) is one of the great things about CrossFit LA.
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: Murph was my introduction to CrossFit and one of my favorite experiences for the reasons I mentioned. Another favorite moment was when my kids came to watch me do 15.3 in this year’s Open, and Kenny brought them into the CFLA cheer before we started. I thought it was really cool for them to see the unique spirit and community we have here, and the look on my daughter Lily’s face was pretty priceless too. Finally, it felt great to see the Resiliency Project’s e-mail about how our Open teams’ fundraising enabled a veteran in need to join a CrossFit box. I was glad to have contributed to the Morning Missiles in that way, being completely unable to compete with some of our better athletes.
Any advice for people just getting started? I remember seeing some CrossFit LA slogan along the lines of, “Start where you are, do what you can.” I think that’s great advice. There is a lot of talk about CrossFit, and people ask me all the time if I get injured. But if you’re smart about working out and listen to your body, I think you can become very fit doing CrossFit with no more risk than you would take working out anywhere else. I scale how I need to scale, and if I feel like I’m tired to the point where my form is suffering, I slow down. So I would tell beginners to take that slogan to heart, and be smart in your workouts. I realize that I have now jinxed myself about injuries, and will probably blow out my shoulder next week. It has been great getting to know all of you, and I’m glad many of us are Facebook friends now so we can stay in touch.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?I am blessed with an incredible family including my superhuman wife, Kristina Royce, and my three kids, Jon, Lily and Abby. I love to read, if I can find the time. I can draw, although I rarely do so. And I can sing like an angel.
A) In 20min find 15RM
DB power cleans (55/35)
And Coming Monday
TEST WEEK FOR CYCLE 8
2 9yd Plate pushes (45/25)
6 Burpees to target (9’/8′)
12 KBS (32/24)