Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category


1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Cazenovia, Ny. 20 minutes outside of Syracuse

2. What is your athletic background?

Jack of all trades master of none. Lacrosse in college (elmira), football, hockey, golf, soccer, ski/snowboard, USMC

3. How did you get started with CrossFit?

I had the typical “journey” of self realization… I was still on the “monday = mandatory chest day” routine and closed minded to any other forms of physical fitness. I watched as my brother took up a new diet and a new workout… crossfit. He transformed his muffin top frame in a matter of weeks and had me really questioning just what it was I was doing in the gym. I went in for a “test work out” with Dan. I felt humiliated, and embarrassed, but not for being out of shape, I felt embarrassed of what I considered to be in “good shape”. A very humbling experience

4. How long have you been at CrossFit 717?

Oct 17, 2013

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

Power cleans, shoulder presses , and pull ups. Favorite WOD’s? I guess I love a lot of them… when I read them the night before, and then I hate them just before starting, and then I love them again. It’s a vicious cycle

6. What exercises/WODs do you dislike?

Burpees. OHS. anything over 500m on the rowing machine

7. What are you goals with regards to CrossFit?

To have a solid foundation and maintain a healthy lifestyle, to find holes in myself and repair them, have a good sense of community, and have fun

8. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

Nothing. No cell phone, no calendar, no plans… just me and my family

9. Where did you go to high school/college?

Cazenovian HS,  Elmira College, Utica College

10. What is your current occupation?

A manufacturer’s representative for industrial… yawn. Umm I sell things. Gear boxes, drive chain, couplings, etc

11. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present, who would you choose?  Furthermore, what would you order for dinner? 

George Washington, Ernest Hemingway, Captain Cook. 3 men who either shaped this country, lived extraordinary lives and lived life to the fullest. I’d order a filet medium rare with another filet on the side.

12. Who is your celebrity crush?

Mila Kunis

13.  What is your favorite movie?

Blow. It’s a great American tragedy, rising and falling from power. and the soundtrack.

14.  What is your favorite thing about CrossFit 717?

I love the community. It really is a great group of people who have a lot of the same values, and invite everyone in with open arms.

15.  If you could have any car, what would you choose?

1956 chevy C10

16. Tell us something interesting about yourself that we would be surprised to know.

My wife and I had our first kiss during our wedding ceremony… It’s a long story

17. What kind of shampoo do you use and why?

The same one I use on my body (dove men care). Is that weird? It feels like i just divulged too much information

18. Have you ever been out of the country? If so, where and what was your favorite place?

Canada, Mexico, Kuwait, Iraq, Japan, Philippines, Korea. I loved the Philippines, I went on a humanitarian mission during a typhoon and fell in love with the lifestyle, optimistic attitudes of the people and the culture.

19. What were your best and worst subjects in school?

Best- history… worst- math

20. What would you say is your worst personality trait?

My procrastination. I put stuff off until the last minute

21. If you won $100 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?  What is the first frivolous thing you would buy?

Pay off student loans first. call a financial consultant, lawyer and delete my facebook account. After acting responsibly, I’d go out and buy a big log cabin in Lake Tahoe for vacations

22. You are banished to a deserted island for a month and can only bring one person (fictional or real) and one album with you.  Who do you bring and what album do you choose (keep in mind I said album, not song)?

Led Zeppelin Mothership is the album and Robinson Crusoe… you can’t beat experience

23. Who do you consider your role model or inspiration?

I had always looked at Doug Flutie as inspiration. It didn’t matter that he was too short, his heart was too big to fail.

24. What do you feel is the most important invention in the past 100 years?

The cell phone/camera! Were a lucky generation,  we get to delete all the horrible pictures of ourselves with the same device we call each other on

25. What are your favorite sports teams (you can list all teams for all sports you are a fan of)?

NY yankees, Montreal Canadiens, NY giants, Syracuse Basketball

26. What are your hobbies and interests outside of the box?

With small kids it’s hard to have hobbies, so most of the time its playing “monster”, watching the same disney/pixar movies over and over and early saturday mornings I get to play golf and when the weather is nice


I will admit, I haven’t formally met Jon yet but I see him all the time in the morning classes kicking butt. Read Jon’s interview and witness his amazing transformation through his photos.  Great job Jon and keep getting better each day!

jon 4

1. Where did you grow up?

I was born at Fort Lewis Washington. After moving around a good bit my family settled in Harrisburg and have been here ever since.

2. What is your athletic background?

Does competitive duff sitting count? On a serious note thou, I played little league football, gave power lifting a shot, went to a couple of wrestling camps sponsored by the local high school.

3. How did you get started with CrossFit?

I had set a goal for myself that I wanted to do a 100 mile charity bike ride, and was struggling to get past a certain point. I had read some stuff about crossfit and figured I would give it a shot. Then later that day my wife and I were heading some where and we drove past the front of the building and saw the sign. Yep, a sign, that weekend I was in the Saturday Sweatshop class.

4. How long have you been at CrossFit 717?

I started June of 2013.

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

I LOVE deadlifts! Looking back I would have to say Fight Gone Bad. It was the first benchmark WOD that I had done.

jon 1

6. What exercises/WODs do you dislike?

I have not found anything that I do not like Just things I am not proficient at. /cough split jerks /cough

7. What are you goals with regards to CrossFit?

I have a bunch of benchmarks I want to accomplish but it all gets wrapped up under the idea of being “be better than yesterday”.

8. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

To be done with college, get a better job. Hopefully that will allow me the time to travel.

9. Where did you go to high school/college?

High school I went to Dauphin County Technical High School. For college I am a current student at HACC with plans to transfer to a 4 year school.

10. What is your current occupation

I currently work in network security for a broadband providers Abuse Desk.

jon white shirt

11. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present, who would you choose?  Furthermore, what would you order for dinner? 

There are so many different people that I would love to pick their brain about things. I would have dinner with would be Themistocles. He is credited with being the savior of Athens. He was instrumental in the building of the navy that defeated the Persians. He then gets exiled from the city. The second would be J. R. R. Tolkien. The third was fairly tough one to pick. I would have to go with Leonardo da Vinci. I would order Blackened Catfish.
12. Who is your celebrity crush?

Christina Hendricks

13.  What is your favorite movie?

There are a number of movies that I love to watch. Top spot on my list is shared between Army of Darkness and Aliens (the second movie in the series). They are both great movies filled with one liners.


Well, after a long layoff I have been trying to crank up the content lately.  My favorite segment of this blog is the “Beyond the Athlete” interviews but even more than that, I love when i get some time with our sport’s best athletes to ask them the same dumb questions I ask you all.  I do change them up a bit and make them more CrossFit oriented so we can learn from what makes them so great.  This time, I was able to get in touch with one of CrossFit’s most famous athletes, Chris Spealler.  For those of you who dont know about Chris, he has competed in every one of the CrossFit Games and has never finished out of the top 25 and has 4 top 10 finishes to his name (3rd, 4th, 7th and 10th).  He is most famous for his incredible size/strength ratio (he is 5’4″ and weighs around 150 lbs) and unrelenting endurance.  Google “Spealler butterfly pull ups” and prepare to me awestruck as he reels off 96 in a row.

I even asked Chris to give us an intro and, in his own words: “Outside of CrossFit I am a husband and dad of two amazing kids, Roark (2), and Myla (5 days!)  My wife Sarah is incredibly supportive of all that I do.  I grew up in Pennsylvania playing a bunch of different sports but stuck with wrestling the longest and was fortunate enough to go to a Division 1 school and be ranked in the top 20 in the nation… that was a while ago now 🙂  I also own and train at CrossFit Park City as well as travel with CrossFit HQ teaching at Level 1 Seminars, Coaches Prep Courses, and help with the development of some new material. ”  

Truly one of the greats so hopefully this is both fun and educational for you all to read.  Also, make sure you click “read the rest of this entry” to see the entire interview.  Duh.

1. Where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I grew up in Paoli, PA which is about 45 min NW of Philadelphia.  I currently live in Park City, UT and have been here for around 10 years.

2. What is your athletic background?

Primarily wrestling.  I started when I was 6 yrs old and went through till the end of college.  I also played a handful of other sports growing up including soccer, lacrosse, track, and even golf!

3. How did you get started with CrossFit and how long have you been doing it?

A friend of mine in the Marines told me about while I was on a trip with Young Life kids and told me to give it a shot.  I found it online and hit up “Cindy” for the first time in late 2006.  Haven’t stopped since.  

4. What mistakes did you make early on that held you back from improving?

It was different when I stared.  There wasn’t even an affiliate in Utah.  I think the closest one must have been in Colorado.  So I was on my own.  A friend of mine, Eric O’Connor, also a great competitor and previous games athlete, just found our way through it.  If I started right now I would jump into an affiliate and learn as much as I could as fast as I could.  For what we had, I think we did a pretty good job, as crazy as we must have looked in the start.

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

I love technical movements that are coupled well.  Workouts like “Amanda” are some of my favorites.  I think it allows for some great competition and really test the athleticism behind the work capacity which is a huge part of what I enjoy.  Snatches, muscle ups, and double unders are just a few I can think of now.

6. What exercises/WODs do you dislike?

I try not to dislike anything.  I think it puts you at a disadvantage thinking of things that way.  But surprising to some I really dislike l-sits.  And “Karen” is my least favorite workout.  

7. What are your current goals with regards to CrossFit? Any weaknesses you are trying to improve?

Right now I am really focused on winning my Region and qualifying for the games since I have to go through that process now.  I am focusing a tremendous amount of my time on heavy barbell movements and complexes that really take me super far outside of my comfort zone and wheelhouse, as well as the recovery behind these things.  

8. Through your experiences, what has had the most impact on making you a better CrossFitter (endurance, strength, Oly lifting, etc.)? Furthermore, what advice would you give novice CrossFitters looking to improve their WOD times/rounds?

For me personally I think it has been my strength.  I think too many people fall into thinking this is right for them though.  If I could give any advice to every newbie out there it would be to work on your technique and mechanics as much as you can, then consistency, then intensity. To many people want to do things as rx’d and they end up fighting through it and creating bad habits that force plateaus later in their training.  

9. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

Continuing to travel for CrossFit to teach but not quite as often.  I would also love to build my own facility in Park City and step back a bit more from the every day operations of the gym and spend some time just getting back to teaching.  Possibly even coaching a small crew of athletes at that time.  

10. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present (besides Jesus who is overused), who would you choose and why?  Furthermore, what would you order for dinner?

1.  Jesus,  I’ll overuse it.  Don’t really care if people hear it too much.  For me, that’s a no brainer.  To experience his presence, grace, and what I think is often misunderstood about him would be such an amazing experience that I would never miss it.

2.  King David.   He was a screw up but somehow had it all together at the same time.  Whether you believe the story of his battle against Goliath or not is a cool freakin story and I want to know was going through his head when he went after a 9 foot giant with a rock and sling!

3.  Any veteran who was a prisoner of war.  I think it would be amazing to sit down and hear their story.  What they went through, how the persevered, what motivated them and drove them to keep going, and how it made them who they are today.

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

Honestly don’t know enough celebrities to know.  I’m out of the loop these days.  I’m stuck watching Bob the Builder and Cat in the Hat, neither of which I have a crush on.  

12.  What is your favorite movie and why?

Depends on the category but Tommy Boy comes to mind.  There’s nothing like a good stupid comedy to get you to relax a bit.  

13.  What is your favorite book(s) and why?

Big fan of the Vince Flynn series.  I’m way into the CIA special op stuff.  Keeps me hooked and I love that stuff!


Next up is Dan Healy.  The guy is a straight boss at strict muscle ups.  In my short time at 717, I have watched Dan make some really great progress in all aspects of his CrossFit game.  Sky is the limit for this beast from the North.

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small rural town of Montrose, PA. Its north of Scranton/Wilkes Barre and just south of Binghamton, NY. Growing up our nearest neighbor was a half mile down the road…so quite rural.

2. What is your athletic background?

My mother did not like contacts sports so she subtly directed us away from playing any sports in school. I was an avid cyclist in high school and also got my hands on my dad’s old weight set so I did a little bit of lifting. I started skiing in 7th grade and snowboarding in 9th. During the winter of my senior year I was a snowboard instructor. In college I joined the rugby team (yeah, mom was not thrilled). I played from my sophomore year to my senior year. After college I lived in Colorado for four years where I would do a lot of hiking and biking in the mountains and a little bit of snowboarding. In 2006 I participated in a cross country bike ride from Seattle, WA toBoston, MA. I love volleyball but have never played outside the summer picnic pickup game circuit. I’ve whitewater rafted a few times and loved that.

3. How did you get started with CrossFit?

A few years after I had graduated college I went back for a Rugby alumni event. I ran into a friend who had graduated a year after me. He was in Chiropractic school and had also become an avid crossfitter. I was absolutely stunned by the transformation his body had gone through and from that moment on I was very interested in getting into crossfit. He actually gave me the main website, but I didn’t understand the program enough to ever try it on my own. It always stuck in the back of my mind and so whenever it would occur to me I would look around to see if there was a crossfit gym near where I was living at the time. Last fall I stumbled across Crossfit 717 and realized I finally had the opportunity to try it out.

4. How long have you been at CrossFit 717?

My first workout ever was open gym on the Saturday after Thanksgiving last year (So short answer is I’ve been doing crossfit for one year). Not fully understanding the psyche of crossfitters I wrongly assumed that on the Saturday after thanksgiving there would be relatively few people at the gym so I could get some one on one attention from the coach and get an idea of what I’d be getting myself into. Unfortunately for me there was a large group of army guys in town for the weekend who stopped by for a workout (and if I remember correctly I think Kristin Foster had brought her dad in that Saturday). Coach Dan decided to put together a killer WOD for them, and failed to really explain to me how I should scale down the workout. I think I made it through about half the rounds before I had to quit. I could barely walk for the next 3 days…Coach Dan has told me he never expected to see me back after I left that day.

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

I love all the gymnastic type exercises. I was obsessed with getting a muscle up when I first started and improving my strength on the rings continues to be one of my top goals.

6. What exercises/WODs do you hate?

I’m not a big fan of anything overhead, mostly because I’m not good at it, however the bane of my existence right now would probably have to be double unders since I still have not mastered them. I’m also not a huge fan of the marathon WODs because I tend to burn out after about 30 minutes of effort.

7. What are your goals with regards to CrossFit?

The answer to that questions is constantly changing. When I first started I was very much interested in cutting my body fat and getting lean. I wanted that “cut” look that coach Dan has. I have dropped my body fat percentage significantly and am a lot more lean than I used to be. I may not be as “cut” as I originally wanted, but that’s no longer a major goal. About six months into crossfit I became very interested in developing more strength, but as a nagging back injury got worse and worse I realized I needed to reassess that goal. Right now my goal is to get my body healthy, so I’m very focused on technique, form, and proper scaling.

8. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

I will be living in my completely renovated house and running my own business, possibly in the green energy field. I’ll still be crossfitting, and Dan and Kelley will be struggling to get close to my WOD times. Actually, in a perfect world I may not still be living in this area, but I don’t really plan ahead too far. When the urge hits, I have been known to pick up and leave just to try something new. Hence the reason I ended up in Colorado after college. I often find myself yearning to be back in Boulder.

9. Where did you go to high school/college?

I went to Montrose Jr/Sr High school, then did my 4 years of undergraduate work at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA getting a degree in Mathematics. After that I moved out to Colorado and studied at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy.

10. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present (besides Jesus who is overused and not that interesting), who would you choose and why?  Furthermore, what would you order for dinner? 

One would definitely have to be my grandfather. I would cherish the opportunity to have one more meal with him, he is the greatest man I have ever known. The other two would probably be the great philosophers George Carlin and Siddhartha Gautama.

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

Natalie Portman

12.  What is your favorite movie and why?

Shawshank Redemption. I think it speaks for itself.

13.  What is your favorite thing about CrossFit 717?

The community of people is by far the greatest part of Crossfit 717. Without that I would not have stuck with it as long as I have.


Yes, a few days late but I wanted the Miranda interview to linger.

Question of Nutrition: Vol 5
by Dr. Jonny Bowden

Measure Your Belly!

Q: I’ve read that your belly measurements can be the best indicator of your overall health. Is that true? If so, what are the guidelines to go by? 

A: For years we nutritionists have been using a low-tech shorthand for insulin resistance: a 40 inch or greater waist for men, a 35 inch or greater waist for women. If your waist measures that high, you can safely bet the family farm that you’ve got insulin resistance and may be headed for some serious trouble down the road.

Interestingly, those waist measurements were exactly the numbers that correlated with the doubled risk for death when compared with smaller waists — less than 34 inches for men, less than 28 inches for women — in a recent study.

Each 2-inch increase in waist circumference added about 17% increased risk for mortality in men and about 13% increased mortality in women. Earlier research showed that these same numbers — 40″ waist for men, 35″ waist for women — indicated an increased risk for stroke.

Measure Your Belly

No insulin resistance here!

I usually don’t like terms like “the best indicator for overall health” because there are so many interrelated factors that come into play, but if there was such a thing as the single best indicator, belly fat would have to be a serious contender for the title.

You see, all body fat is not created equal. The fat stored around the butt hips and thighs — also known as subcutaneous fat since it’s right below the skin — might drive you crazy and make your jeans fit badly, but it’s not nearly as dangerous as the other kind. Belly fat, stored around the middle — also called VAT or visceral abdominal fat — is a metabolic nightmare.

It’s stored deep inside the abdominal walls and is a metabolically active fat that directly increases the risk for all sorts of health problems, among them metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

In the study mentioned above, researchers looked at data from almost 360,000 Europeans who were followed up for ten years. The men and women with the largest waists had virtually twice — that’s two times! — the risk for premature death compared to the folks with the smaller waists.

This was true even after allowing for all extra factors like smoking and drinking. “There aren’t many simple individual characteristics that can increase a person’s risk of premature death to this extent,” said the lead author, Tobias Pischon, MD, MPH.

So yup, belly fat tells you a lot. It might not be the best single indicator of overall health, but if it’s not, it’s damn close.

Fight Fat with Water?

Q: Hey Dr. B, what’s up with that new study showing that drinking extra water in the morning can help with fat loss?

A: Well, don’t get too excited. As one reporter correctly pointed out about this study, “The impact is modest and the findings are preliminary.” If you’re looking to cut up, water’s not exactly going to replace Winstrol.

But there is evidence that water helps you burn some extra calories, and since the benefits of water for other things are so numerous, you should definitely drink it if you aren’t already doing so! And if you’re not already doing so, you’re an idiot and probably wouldn’t be reading this column.

So here’s the deal: Researchers in Germany tracked calorie expenditure among 14 men and women who were both healthy and not overweight. Within ten minutes of drinking about 17 ounces of water, the subjects’ metabolisms increased by about 30%, reaching a maximum after 30-40 minutes.

Interestingly, there were differences between the sexes — the metabolic increase for the men involved burning more fat, whereas the metabolic increase in the women involved burning more carbs.

Remember though, 30% sounds like a lot, but if you figure the resting metabolism for a 150 pound person is about 1.2 calories per minute (roughly 75 calories an hour), a 30% increase only brings you to 93 calories, for an increase of about 20 calories. Still, when you figure it out, consuming an extra 1.5 liters a day would burn up an extra 17,400 calories or about five pounds a year.

Not much weight loss, but here’s the thing: Water is needed for virtually every metabolic process in the body. It helps flush wastes and toxins out. It helps keep joints lubricated and skin fresh and moist. And — somewhat paradoxically — it helps prevent bloat. So you need to drink it anyway, and if it helps you drop an extra half pound a month, that’s a bonus.

Fight Fat with Water?

For you trainers working with weight loss clients, I have a formula to suggest. There’s absolutely no science to back this up, mind you, but it’s been my experience that it works really well for most people: Take your current weight, divide by 2, and aim for that number of ounces a day. (I was happy to see recently that this is the same formula the great holistic doctor Deepak Choprah uses). For a 180-pound person, that would be 90 ounces a day.

Drinking that much certainly won’t hurt you and it might just help a lot.