December Athlete of the Month: Robin Opie
Congratulations, Robin! You’re our December Athlete of the Month!!!
Robin has been coming to NoCoast since August of 2017 and in his time here he has been one of our most motivated and supportive members. He often flies under the radar to athletes who attend classes as he primarily trains in personal training, but you can be sure that if someone needs a push to finish a workout you can hear his voice the loudest. Fitness has been a passion of his since a young age with a successful shot putting career, and he continues to excel now after reigniting that passion through CrossFit. After overcoming huge health limitations last year, we really look forward to even more success in the future with Robin in our community!
Quotes from Robin:
“I absolutely love the coaches and community at NoCoast, so I enjoy classes there. That said, I still get to see my NoCoast friends when I show up for 1:1 sessions and prefer this workout format for 3 reasons: (1) I am more motivated to show up for workouts if I know someone is waiting there for me. (2) Ian is truly masterful at programming workouts that fit my personal needs & goals. (3) He is also a fantastic technique coach and I believe I’m getting better… faster, because of the individual attention.”
“My favorite advice for new people (or people even considering CrossFit) is that they should feel 100% at ease when they get to NoCoast and completely accepted by their CrossFit Community. Good coaches like the ones at NoCoast will find a way to scale any movement so that you have a great, safe, and accessible workout. If you’re feeling insecure – it is SUPER important to realize that the people around you who seem intimidating because CrossFit has made them such great athletes are *not* judging you – they are unambiguously ROOTING for you and really respect you for being there. Over time, they will likely become some of your very best friends.”
49 / 270 lbs
My dad was a middle distance runner (800, Mile, Steeplechase, etc.) in college and determined to make me one when I was young. (I was built like a shot putter then, too… so the whole thing was a little on the ugly side at times.) I ran in my first track meet at the age of 6. At the age of 7, I handed my father a crushing life defeat when I told him I would rather be a shot-putter than a middle distance runner. To his credit, he immediately found me a shot put coach from the local high school track team. His only requirement was that I continue to run middle distance, which I did (poorly) all the way through high school. By the age of 12, I played Football and Basketball for fun, but was nationally ranked in both the shot-put and discuss. By my senior year in high school, I was specialized in Field and Track (yes… that is the right way to say it) and placed top 3 in the shot put at Nationals for the 1st time. I left college for a year in 1991 to train full time with the hope that I would make the US Olympic Team that went to Barcelona, Spain. Unfortunately, I hurt my wrist doing a power clean a couple of months before the Olympic Trials. My throwing arm was in a cast for 6 months and – when I returned to school - I learned I had a condition called AVN in my wrist, which meant it could no longer handle the forces placed on it when putting the shot. My days in the ring were over. Through a strange series of events, I transitioned from Shot Put to Dance (and from 315 lbs to 225 lbs) for my last 2 years of college. Embarrassingly, I let myself get swept into bad work / life balance habits when I left college and literally didn’t step foot in a gym of any kind for over 20 years.
How long have you been training at NoCoast?
A little over 3 years.
How did you get into Training/CrossFit?
At the age of 45, I found myself well over 300 lbs again and looking / feeling like the morbidly obese train wreck my lifestyle had created. At the same time, a pretty big CrossFit culture was taking root with my colleagues at work. I was truly envious of the huge physical and health transformations that were happening in front of my very eyes (I had never seen anything like it!) They asked me to join them on dozens of occasions, but I made a million excuses around why I was too busy to join them. The truth: I was too embarrassed for them to see how much I couldn’t do (as if it wasn’t obvious) and too scared to confront the toll that years of neglect had created.
The CEO of the company I worked for also owned a CrossFit Box in Boulder and was a serious CrossFit Masters competitor in his own right. He knew me well enough to realize (even before I did) that I wanted to be part of the “CrossFit Fun”, but was too embarrassed and scared to get out of my own way. After several conversations, he did the nicest thing any non-family member has ever done for me: He purchased 10 personal training sessions with the coach at the CrossFit Box we had in our building at work and worked with my assistant to ensure she made time on my calendar to go get it done. “Coach Dan – please give Robin 10 of your very best personal training sessions on me… unless he doesn’t show up, in which case – you should bill him!” All of my excuses were gone and NOW people that I respected were watching, so I took a huge gulp and walked into the box to introduce myself. By the end of the 10 sessions, I was still too scared to join the classes, but feeling good enough to buy the next 10 out of my own pocket. Years later - if I don’t get to work-out when I planned to, it sort of feels like someone has taken away my recess!
What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
If it’s heavy and doesn’t require gymnastics skill or an engine – it makes me happy.
My favorite named WODs are CrossFit Total and DT.
What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
I think I genuinely like all CrossFit movements. There are many (like HSPUs and MUs) that I simply can’t do (… yet), but I love working on them and am excited to become a more well-rounded athlete.
What is your most memorable training moment?
About a year and a half into CrossFit, I wondered if my wrist was healthy enough and my body was strong enough to even think about putting the shot again. I went out to a ring to take a few tosses from the front and see how it felt. It felt AMAZING (not just because I was better.. much better… than I expected, but it was like I was being reunited with an old friend… one that I thought I would never get to see again.) I ended up taking a couple of spins across the ring and – even though it had been 25 years since I had last tried to put the shot – it felt like it was yesterday. (Muscle memory is an amazing thing!) I measured the throw and then went home to look it up & realized it was pretty competitive for my age. I committed to working on it (with Ian’s help) and 6 months later, found myself on podium (3rd place) at Nationals again. (Geriatric (e.g. Masters) Nationals, but I’ll take it!)
How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery?
I have “tried them all” and found that – without a doubt - the best fuel for my body is a Paleo diet. Beyond the enormous improvements in my performance and recovery that I see when I truly adhere to Paleo standards – I FEEL better (happier, more alert, even more focused at work) when I stay away from the junk. This is really too bad, because I truly love just about every form of junk food that was ever invented; so maintaining the discipline to avoid it is a daily struggle.
How has Personal Training improved your overall wellness?
90%+ of my CrossFit workouts are 1:1 sessions with Ian. (~10% are classes… usually drop ins when I travel.) I absolutely love the coaches and community at NoCoast, so I enjoy classes there. That said, I still get to see my NoCoast friends when I show up for 1:1 sessions and prefer this workout format for 3 reasons: (1) I am more motivated to show up for workouts if I know someone is waiting there for me. (2) Ian is truly masterful at programming workouts that fit my personal needs & goals. (3) He is also a fantastic technique coach and I believe I’m getting better… faster, because of the individual attention.
How has Personal Training changed your family?
The changes that investing in myself through Personal Training and better nutrition has made at home is fundamental. I have higher self-esteem and more energy, but the biggest change has come through the realization that investing in myself and family is far more rewarding (for all of us) than investing in work. Ironically, I think I now perform better at work because I have a little more distance and the better perspective that this brings.
Advice to new people:
My favorite advice for new people (or people even considering CrossFit) is that they should feel 100% at ease when they get to NoCoast and completely accepted by their CrossFit Community. Good coaches like the ones at NoCoast will find a way to scale any movement so that you have a great, safe, and accessible workout. If you’re feeling insecure – it is SUPER important to realize that the people around you who seem intimidating because CrossFit has made them such great athletes are *not* judging you – they are unambiguously ROOTING for you and really respect you for being there. Over time, they will likely become some of your very best friends.