We watch our peers push through some gnarly WODs.
We cheer them at competitions, witness them smash personal bests and see them dig into that pain cave.
This is inspiring.
We are audience to endless social media posts of athletes en route to The Games.
This is inspiring.
In May 2017 I came across an individual who will inspire me for a long time.
Whilst recently traveling the West Coast of America I planned to drop into a few boxes; as any CrossFitter would – right?
The 4th stop enroute was CrossFit Monterey. A quick courtesy email and that was it; I’d be in at 5.30pm the next day.
A 10 minute drive from the hostel. First step – get through the door. Easier said than done! Three doors, all with mirrored windows, no push or pull signs. It was a push door, I pulled.
Quicker then I could say “Hey!”, bounding towards me was the whitest dog I have ever seen! Eyes as blue as Lake Tahoe;- a beautiful cross between husky and wolf.
Drop in fees paid, a tee purchased.
I was an hour early for the WOD so there was only one thing to do… mobilise and join in the predictions for the next open workout (17.2).
As I joined the conversation I noticed look-a-likes, similar personalities and behaviours as those at CrossFit Nottingham. At some points it was a little surreal.
Then, Mr Cho walked in.
I clocked him straight away;- pushing the door wide open, strolling through the gym and placing a stool by the whiteboard.
Is he an assistant coach?
Is he the owner?
Is he a member?
Either way I thought he was awesome.
He was a rather frail man; hearing aids, edging towards 70 (or more) and rocking a pair of Nanos.
I was intrigued by his character as I watched him join in the standard gym banter and open predictions.
The coach, Cris, summoned us. “5.30 Class bring it to the board!”
Mr Cho stayed by the whiteboard, on his stool, listening to Cris intently.
A group warm up of hang cleans and a spot of stretching.
I lost sight of Mr Cho. I hadn’t touched a barbell for what felt like a lifetime, it was probably more like a day. I zoned out went through the motions.
We then all met back at the whiteboard.
5-4-3-2-1 Squat Cleans, with 30 Double Unders between each set.
I have never been so perplexed by maths in a workout! My stream of conscious started to feel like the opening titles of The Big Bang Theory, words & numbers flying around everywhere at high speed. Multiply by 2.2? NO! Divide by 2.2. None of the answers are whole numbers. Load up all those fractional plates!?
What would Mattie Rogers do?! Ah fuck it; it’s only a couple of kg over… Boy that feels heavy.
Back to the board for the WOD 2 brief. There was Mr Cho on his stool again.
3 Rounds, for time:
21 Box Overs
11 Muscle ups/Pull ups
The type of WOD that sounds good on paper but in practice is a very different story.
We meandered from the board to the floor; grabbing boxes and finding spaces.
I was curious about Mr Cho & how he was going to approach the workout. I faffed with Jaw Grips and my laces keeping a curious eye on Mr Cho and his scales.
Cris set the clock. “Everyone ready? 3..2..1 go!”. The lunges began. Lunges done, half way through the Box Overs; I could start to feel a little lactic in my legs. I’d spent alot of time in a car driving and I could feel it. How was everyone else feeling? How was Mr Cho doing? I took a glance over. There he was; smile on his face, finishing off his lunges. To the side of him was the box. After every lunge forward he would use the box as an assistance to bring him back to standing. All 31 reps complete.
From the lunges to the Box Overs. Mr Cho walked over to the rig. Placed under the rig was a bench and hanging from the rig was a green band. A catch of the breath… 3, 2, 1… Mr Cho grabbed the green band and pulled himself onto the bench, one foot at a time. Once both his feet were on, he stepped down, turned, and repeated. All 21 reps. No rest. I was in awe.
The last rep completed, Mr Cho walked over to the pull up bar. No sign of fatigue. 11 jumping pull ups complete. Round one done.
There I am half way through my second round of lunges and still completely in awe of Mr Cho. Everyone else continued at their own pace. Occasionally individuals stopped for a quick breather, but everyone chipped away for the three rounds.
Throughout the remaining rounds I glanced at Mr Cho. Every lunge knee to the floor, every box over both feet on the bench, every jumping pull up chin above the bar.
Now with my own three rounds complete – I was done. Legs fried. I sat on my box, cheered and caught my breath. Watching as individuals completed their Muscle Ups and their Box Overs. I glanced back at Mr Cho. Finished. Just over a minute after me. Did I nearly just get beat by someone over twice my age?! Amazing!!
Wait … I nearly got beat by someone over twice my age?!
Part of me was in shock; part of me wished Mr Cho had beat me! I wish Mr Cho beat me.
Mr Cho took a quick moment to recoup on his box. Then the cheers began. Cheering his peers to complete their last reps and rounds. No one was without Mr Cho’s support.
Everyone finished under the time cap.
Mr Cho came over to me and shook my hand – “Good job, nice work!”
I was speechless.
Not once did Mr Cho shy on his reps
Not once did Mr Cho quit
Not once did Mr Cho slow down
Not once did Mr Cho doubt himself
Mr Cho got the prescribed work done
Mr Cho made sure everyone else did too
Mr Cho is my inspiration.
Mr Cho is an athlete.
Thank you Mr Cho, and thank you CrossFit Monterey for making me feel so welcome.
Later this year, a few months after writing this, I saw Mr Cho in a Chyna Cho Instagram story. I had an ultimate fan girl moment.
Gym Manager & Sports Massage Therapist