CFLA Athlete Profile – Josh Embree
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
Occupation: Podcasting, Sciencing, and Facilitating stuff
When did you first start CrossFitting?: 2010 (ish), 2013 (srsly)
When did you first start training at CFLA?: 2016
Favorite WOD: Grace (the way everybody else does it with power cleans)
Least Favorite WOD: Open WODs 14.5/16.5
Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I grew up playing several sports. In high school, I focused on football, Olympic weightlifting and throwing (shot/disc). Weightlifting fundamentally taught me how to create force and move my body in space, but more importantly, it taught me how to work. After high school, I trained for six months then walked onto the Arizona State football team. In the process, I discovered that I was training for the wrong reasons and promptly left the team. Since college, I’ve experimented with combining elements of weightlifting and functional fitness to improve my overall health and wellness.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? I was introduced to CrossFit in 2010 when my original weightlifting coach, August Schmidt, opened East Valley CrossFit in Chandler, AZ and invited me to coach/train. At the grand opening of the gym, I competed in an informal clean and jerk competition then watched several people do Fran. My ego and curiosity convinced me that it was a good idea to participate and I secretly thought I would win… I did not. It took me 11 minutes to complete and I think the half dozen or so times I’ve done the workout since then have all been markedly faster and less painful. That’s not to say that Fran isn’t painful because it is, but I was wholly unprepared for the experienced that day. It kind of felt like picking a fight with a guy half my size and then finding out that he just got back from ripping the arms off of thieves in some third world country. Like every other former strength athlete who tried CrossFit in 2010, I quickly found out that I wasn’t nearly as fit as I thought.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? Since I started experimenting with CrossFit more frequently in 2013, I’ve seen improvements in proprioceptive awareness, balance, cardiovascular endurance and isometric strength. More importantly though, I decided to do CrossFit full time last year when joining CFLA and since then, I’ve had major improvements in oxidative capacity, movement quality, and overall joint pain. I used to have frequent issues with shoulder and knee tendinitis, but both have been reduced dramatically in the last year.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? In the last 15 years, I’ve gone through phases of huge weight gain, weight loss, training for competitions and generally working out for fun so I thought that I could change my body however I wanted with the right plan and a little work. While there’s a degree of truth in that, I was missing out on mental and emotional growth that I simply couldn’t implement on my own. My experience at CFLA has revealed a new world of training that is allowing me to work on my mind, body, and soul in integrated ways.
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: A few months ago, there was a mental toughness workout programmed on a rainy day that involved a heavy plate carry outside. I took it as an opportunity to create a situation in which my body and mind had to adapt to a rare set of conditions so I did everything without shoes. It was cold, wet, and generally uncomfortable throughout, but it facilitated a breakthrough. It took about 10 minutes to get to a really dark place mentally/emotionally, which left me with 10 minutes to explore things deep within myself. At the end of that time, I dropped the plate and the emotions poured out uncontrollably. It was an extremely cathartic experience that showed me I’m just barely at the beginning of this journey. When I shared this experience with some of the coaches, it was met with pride, curiosity, and encouragement. I am very grateful to have such a positive environment where I can really explore unconventional things.
Any advice for people just getting started? It’s ok to be vulnerable. Find a group of people who will encourage you to share your experience and let them help you through this process. We often start a journey with a goal or ideal in mind and along the way, we discover that the process was far more important than completing the task. Let yourself enjoy the process and use what you learn to guide your path forward.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Usually when the conversation gets to hobbies, interests, etc. I like to ask people “if you could have lunch, dinner, and drinks with three individuals respectively – one alive, one dead, and one fictional, who it would it be and which thing would you do with each?” So, I’ll answer my own question. I would have lunch with Thomas Jefferson, dinner with Elon Musk, and drinks with Tyler Durden. If you want to know why, find me and let’s talk about it.
100 Kipping pullups
“Angie on Roids”
40 Bar muscleups
40 Handstand pushups
40 Toes to bar
40 Alt. Pistols
800 M Run
Then – 5 rounds
10 toes to Bar
20 RKBS (32/24)
30 Alt Jumping Lunges
800 M Run
TGU Skill work
7 Muscle ups
10 Hang power cleans 135/95
FT, w/ partner, 1 working at a time
200 RKB Swings (24/16)
150 KB Russian twists
100 Alt KB Goblet lunges
50 KB Snatches