CFLA Athlete Profile – John Bonds

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With a partner (1 person working at a time), complete:
50 Pull Ups
60 Push Press*
70 Power Cleans*
80 Jumping Lunges
160 Sit Ups
A Partner 800m
Partners must finish run together


3×3 Broad Jump

5 DL (275/185)
10 Burpees

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Age: 35
When did you first start CrossFitting?: March, 2012
When did you first start training at CFLA?: March, 2012
Favorite WOD: Murph
Least Favorite WOD: Fran

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: In high school, I did the throwing events in track and played football for a year. I hated football because I was terrible at it and you get hit by huge guys running full speed straight at you. I was also terrible at track. The coaching was almost non-existent. I didn’t seriously exercise again until a few years later when I became friends with a co-worker who was in great shape and agreed to let me work out with him. Off and on for about 10 years, 3-4 days a week for an hour and a half, it was chest and triceps days followed by back and bicep days. I think we did squats twice. That stopped when the logistics of where we both lived made it too difficult to commit to a regular schedule. That was when I figured I needed to try something different. I did p90x for about a month, but I hated working out alone. That’s when I found CFLA.

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 working on a project in San Diego and heard that one of the employees was a CrossFit coach. I always remembered seeing her eat well and she looked very fit. When it came time for me to find something new, I looked up the closest CrossFit gym to my house. Michael Stanwyck gave the intro and the baseline was my first WOD. I remember a lot of heavy breathing and pain. It was short, but one of the most difficult workouts I had ever done. I had never been pushed like that in a workout. I was humbled and immediately knew that I wanted more.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? Before starting I took some pictures of myself. I had been gaining weight. When I looked through those pictures for the first time it shocked me. It was all I needed to make a commitment. Since then I’ve experienced HUGE changes in my overall health and fitness. For me though, it’s the little things that I notice and appreciate. I no longer groan and struggle to get out of my car; I can run without completely losing my breath; I’m stronger and more flexible than I’ve ever been in my life.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? The biggest unexpected change is how I look at food. When I think back on how I used to consume food I throw up a little in my mouth. It was terrible. Now I only eat fast food when there is literally nothing around and I HAVE to eat something. I have a soda MAYBE once a year. I cook almost every day and my knowledge about nutrition has increased tenfold. Another unexpected change is the level of commitment I have for my fitness now. It’s no longer OK for me to not be strong and in shape. When I miss a day, I regret it.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: Moments that stand out for me are when I get to see others achieve something for the first time. A first muscle up, a PR, lifting an insane amount of weight, getting up on the board, all are moments that bring a smile to my face and make me proud to be among such awesome people. Another moment in particular stands out. When I just started at CFLA, even though I was out of shape and pudgy, I thought that I was a pretty strong guy. Then I met Leo. Here was a guy who couldn’t have weighed more than 130 lbs. I just remember seeing him overhead squat 135 lbs for 15 straight reps. At the time I was 250 lbs and could barely overhead squat 95 lbs for 5 reps. That instantly changed my perspective about what it means to be strong.

Any advice for people just getting started? When I did the GoRuck Challenge with Chris White and Jonsey, something the Cadre said at the very beginning stuck with me over the next 14 hours. He said, “There will be many times when you will want to quit… Don’t quit.” Yes, CrossFit is difficult. All of the rewarding things in life worth doing are difficult. Don’t quit.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love learning new things. My main hobbies currently are cooking, lampworking, wine and programming.

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