CFLA Athlete Profile – Michael Bravo
FRIDAY’S WORKOUT (CAP)
A) EMOM 10
O: 5 DB Clusters (Squat Clean Thrusters) (50/35)
E: Max Effort Pushups
B) 3×3 FS (+2-5)
C) AMRAP 8
AND COMING MONDAY
A) EMOM 12:
Even: 4 alt DB snatches (55/40)
Odd: 4 DB squat cleans (55/40)
B) Hollow/Arch Drill 15-30-45-30-15
C) 5 Rounds on 3:00l:
12 Strict CTB Chin ups
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, CA
When did you first start CrossFitting?: Spring 2012
When did you first start training at CFLA?: Spring 2012
Favorite WOD: They all hurt too much to have a favorite. But if I had to choose it would be one that involved cleans and/or rowing.
Least Favorite WOD: Anything that involves a skill or movement at which I’m not very good (e.g. rope climbs, muscle-ups, hand stand push-ups or sit-to-stands). My girlish figure doesn’t permit me to get through those easily.
Tell us about your sports & fitness background: As a teenager, I played nearly every sport recreationally including soccer, baseball, basketball and swimming, but didn’t compete at a high level in many. When I got my acceptance letter to UC San Diego for undergrad, there was a letter in the packet inviting me to try out for the crew (rowing) team. Despite never having watched a regatta in my life, I wound up rowing for all 4 years of college (now you see why I favor rowing in the WOD’s. It still hurts but I’m “comfortable” on the rower). We had a Strength and Conditioning coach on the team who taught us some of the basic Olympic lifting techniques which I really came to enjoy. Then after college I ran a few half marathons and went to the gym a few times a week but I missed the feeling of really pushing myself when I worked out. That is what drew me to CrossFit. Not only did it incorporate the Olympic lifts I like so much, but the whole philosophy of how to train was attractive.
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 living in Chicago a few years ago and I noticed one morning on my way to work that CrossFit River North had opened up. At that point I wasn’t too familiar with CrossFit, but I noticed the exercises they were doing, including rowing as part of a workout which I thought was pretty cool. I also thought they were nuts doing laps around the block with medicine balls on their shoulders in single digit temperatures. But I really dug something about it too. At that point, I decided I wanted to give it a shot so when I moved to Santa Monica shortly thereafter, CFLA was right there as the local spot – and it has a SHOWER! I don’t actually recall my first WOD but I do recall the intro day workout. I killed the row and then completely tanked on the squats. Classic! While dry heaving in the corner, I remember thinking to myself that I want to be conditioned well enough to transition better from one movement to the next and not let a single portion of the workout hinder me from really attacking the rest.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? To be perfectly honest, I don’t come often enough to see dramatic results. I have found that twice a week is adequate for maintaining my level of fitness but I need to do more cardio or come to more classes a week in order to see any sort of noticeable transformation. Maybe once I finally figure out how to successfully juggle work, grad school, planning a wedding, and maintain some morsel of a social life, I can get into a schedule that better supports 3-4 days a week at the gym. In the meantime, I’m stoked for this current Whole Life Challenge (plug for the WLC). I have to get my ass in gear in order to look sexy in my suit for my wedding this summer!
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I think the community is awesome and it truly feels like a family. That was not something I expected at all when I first started. Instead, I expected it to be more cutthroat with classes filled with nothing but meat heads. I like that I am pushed in a friendly and supportive way with the end goal to challenge me rather than embarrass or discourage me. Another unexpected change is following paleo. I always ate well rounded meals before but was a HUGE bread and sugar addict. Now I really feel the difference in all aspects of my life when I follow it and it makes me feel amazing! To my surprise, I also catch myself getting quite defensive about CrossFit. I’m tired of the haters whom have never tried it but love to preach to me about how kipping pull-ups aren’t real pull ups or that all we do is flip tires and jump up and down. I also hate to hear about the horror stories some people go through at other gyms. There was recently a story on the news about a guy who went to an intro class and was forced to do so many squats that his kidney’s stared to fail that night because of muscle deterioration. The new story was titled, “Can CrossFit kill you?” I mean, come on people, really?
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: Double-unders recently clicked for me. It was really fun when the light bulb went off and all of a sudden I went from an attempt every 5 singles to putting together 15-20 double-unders at a time. Totally switching gears, I really love every time my mind is blown when I discover the age of some of the other athletes in the class. Dude, I want to look like that in 15-20 years! Shoot, I want to look like that NOW!
Any advice for people just getting started? Spend the time with the coaches so you can learn the movements and how not to get hurt! I can’t stress that enough. Also, remember that you are really competing against yourself so don’t sweat it if you aren’t doing Rx for every workout right away. That said, it’s always fun to find one or two other people in the class with whom you can pace yourself. It doesn’t even have to be throughout the entire workout, it can just be for a movement or two, but that helps you find another level you might not have thought you had.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I love to surf, play volleyball, play kickball, play basketball, and go driving with my buddies either at the track or throughout the canyons in Malibu.