March Athlete of the Month: Andre Coleman
Congratulations, Andre! You are our March Athlete of the Month!!!
Andre has been killing it on and off the gym floor . . . he was one of our big winners for our New Year’s Nutrition Challenge this year! He crushed the challenge and walked away with life changing results that have helped him heal from recurring digestive issues.. Andre’s consistency in the evenings is paying off too. His strength gains in the gym have been outstanding over the course of one year and we love seeing his consistent improvement through all movements and workouts. He has never felt better and we are so happy NoCoast has been a part of all these lifestyle changes.
Football was my primary sport growing up. I played for 8 years from 5th grade through my senior year of high school. I played defensive end and pulling guard on the o-line as I couldn’t catch or throw. I was marginally successful though because I had good blocking and tackling technique. I additionally threw the discus in track & field. The long arms and good technique led me to some postseason action. Technique is definitely a theme in my exercise journey. In college I did some IM sports like dodgeball and track & field, but I stayed away from anything organized because Penn State is pretty competitive across the board.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
I have been CrossFitting for a little under 1 year. My first full week was actually the week of 17.5!
How did you get into CrossFit?
Prior to starting CrossFit I was a traditional mediocre strength trainer. I went to 24 Hour Fitness, I did my bro workout and then got on the elliptical or stair-stepper to do a basic amount of cardio. I was complete with a cutoff t-shirt. The environment in those type of gyms is odd to say the least. It’s cliquey, it’s crowded and you question if people are there to stare at themselves in the mirror or actually work out. Although I made strength related gains, I felt totally out of shape, and it was hard for me to stay committed. I measured myself by my bench, but not my ability to run a mile, which I doubt I could do. I told myself I would never pay hundreds of dollars to workout, but one day during my less than committed times working out, I swallowed my pride and started CrossFitting. Although I still have my 24 Hour Fitness membership and you might catch me in there once in awhile, I’m never going back to simply that type of workout again.
What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
Snatches. When I was younger and would see people snatching in the Olympics, I always remarked to myself, “That person is badass!” The strength, technique and poise required to pull a bar off the ground, get it into the overhead position and drop down into a squat was always awe inspiring to me. We all look like badasses when we do that movement.
What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
Burpees, but that’s a little cliché, so I’ll give another. Pull-ups. Unfortunately, my continuous kip isn’t that good making it hard for me to string together pull-ups. I’m inefficient at them, so the movement, subsequently is very time consuming for me.
What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?
It was a 10 to 1 WOD, and I was by far the last one. I was getting towards the end of the workout, and I wanted to quit. I was so tired and embarrassed to be still working, but Sam came over and started coaching me through it. I looked over and saw Sam. The look on her face was, “You’re not quitting so… you might as well keep moving.” It was like she was reading my mind. It’s the most memorable moment because it is the moment I like to recall during hard workouts.
How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery?
It’s huge. In the past I used food for comfort. A bad day at work, I might go get a cheeseburger (and chicken nuggets and fries). A bad hangover, I might go get a pizza. The problem with eating that bad, processed food is that it made me feel lethargic and bloated. I was never in the mood to workout in those situations. Essentially, I don’t mentally and physically feel capable of CrossFitting if my nutrition isn’t at least free of highly-processed foods. I have definitely chosen not to get into the gym because of the things I ate prior to a workout.
How was your nutrition challenge experience and how has it helped you?
It was life changing honestly. I have spoken ad nauseum about my digestive issues, but it is a big deal for me. I had pretty significant digestive issues prior to the challenge. So significant, that I had a colonoscopy at the wonderful age of 25 because I had no idea what was going on. I resolved to just live with it, as the doctor clearly had no idea what was going on. During the challenge, however, a good amount of those digestive issues cleared up. I was stunned, and didn’t believe it, so I ate a fried chicken sandwich with a sweet sauce and cheese. Like a light switch the digestive issues returned. Subsequently, I returned to the Whole 30 diet, and I’m looking to continue it long-term. There will be some deviations and some alcohol, but my eyes have been opened to the importance of good quality food in life. I ain’t shutting them.
How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness?
I feel like I’m in great shape. I feel like I have a community of people to hold me accountable whether that be during workouts or regarding nutrition. For the longest time I was scared to take up IM sports here in Denver, as I was concerned with being so out of shape that I couldn’t actually compete. I’m just finishing up my first IM dodgeball season, and I’m already planning other sports and physical activities I can participate in! Dropping the beer belly a bit also isn’t a negative.
How has CrossFit changed your family?
I went home for the Super Bowl, and I had a conversation with my dad about the nutrition challenge and my results. He subsequently has been looking at labels. He has called me more than once venting about the amount of sugar in a lot of basic things he eats like bread, which is awesome!
Advice to new people:
I saw someone recently kind of getting down on himself because of the weight he was doing in the WOD… This takes time. You’re not going to be the best at everything right out of the gate. In fact you might not be the best at everything five years down the road. Do you know what you will be? Fitter than all of your friends, your coworkers, the guy (or girl) you’re competing against for the girl (or guy) of your dreams and the majority of the American population.