April Athlete of the Month: Chris Guttormsson

April 2, 2020

Congratulations, Chris! You are our April Athlete of the Month!!!

 

Chris has been a NoCoaster since the Fall of 2014. His goals are a little different than most, in that our CrossFit program is helping him avoid open heart surgery from a defect he’s had since birth. Over the years, Chris has found a way to use our program with the right mix of scaling, conditioning, and strength training. His consistency and dedication to the gym and our community has not only paid off in his training and seemingly constant PR’s, but we have all benefited from having such a warm and caring personality around for so many years. Thank you, Chris! We are so grateful for you!

 

Quotes from Chris:

“There is a ratio they track that basically tells them how much extra work the heart is doing.  When it gets to 2.0 (double the work) then they have to go in and fix it. With Crossfit, I have been able to keep this ratio steady, and even had a slight improvement this year.  The last thing in the world I want is Open Heart Surgery, and CF is helping me avoid that.”

 

“Lisa and I have followed our own nutrition program for years.  It is based on a low carb/keto diet and a wide variety of supplements.  A big item for us is Kerrygold butter for the circulatory benefits of fats from grass fed cattle.  We have both had a Heart Scan - a CAT scan that surveys your body for signs of calcification in your arteries.  The score runs from 0 to 400, with scores over 100 indicating possible plaque build ups. We both scored zero.”

 

Age/Weight: 

61 / 240

 

Athletic/Sports history/highlights: 

My only sports activity was a single season in High School Wrestling.  Here’s a piece of trivia - I skied in a Warren Miller Ski Film in the Seventies!

 

How long have you been CrossFitting? 

I have been at NoCoast since Fall of 2014.

 

How did you get into CrossFit? 

It’s all Jeff King’s fault.  Our sons were in scouts together.  In 2010 the boys were preparing for a major backpacking trip.  Jeff was at MBS CF at the time. At Jeff’s urging, Pat Burke generously offered a free class for the boys and Dads to get into shape for the ordeal.  We had 6 weeks of a class on Saturdays. I fell in love with it at the time and was hooked on the concept of scaling. I have never been able to do a pull-up, but Pat showed me how to do a jumping pull-up. Wow, that was fun!  It took a few years to get going, but eventually there were no more excuses when my company offered up to $100 monthly fitness membership reimbursement. Sadly, that benefit has disappeared. When I was looking for a box, Jeff introduced me to NoCoast.

 

What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement? 

Strength, especially Olympic Lifting

 

What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement? 

I can no longer handle the impacts of running and most jumping.

 

What is your most memorable CrossFit moment? 

My first deadlift over 300 lbs.  I still have it as my Facebook picture after all this time.

 

How has CrossFit helped you in dealing with your heart issues?

I have a rare and unusual heart/lung birth defect.  Some of the plumbing is reversed, which causes some of the “red” blood to be pumped back into the lungs instead of out to my body.  I’ve been told that I have about 75% of the normal aerobic capacity. This is a condition that is now caught and corrected very early in life. 

 

I am monitored annually.  They look at the condition of my right ventricle .  There is a ratio they track that basically tells them how much extra work the heart is doing.  When it gets to 2.0 (double the work) then they have to go in and fix it. With Crossfit, I have been able to keep this ratio steady, and even had a slight improvement this year.  The last thing in the world I want is Open Heart Surgery, and CF is helping me avoid that.

 

Other benefits are seen in my blood work.  I have steadily increased my HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and hit my highest reading last month.  

 

How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness? 

I used to say I felt younger, but I changed that to say I feel “normal” again.

 

How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery?  

Lisa and I have followed our own nutrition program for years.  It is based on a low carb/keto diet and a wide variety of supplements.  A big item for us is Kerrygold butter for the circulatory benefits of fats from grass fed cattle.  We have both had a Heart Scan - a CAT scan that surveys your body for signs of calcification in your arteries.  The score runs from 0 to 400, with scores over 100 indicating possible plaque build ups. We both scored zero.

 

How has CrossFit changed your family? 

The health benefits give us a certain amount of stress relief.

 

Advice to new people:  

When I started I was very cautious about injury and paid close attention to my form.  For the first several months, my only goal was to show up 3 x per week and follow the program.  Also, the hot tub is your friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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