April Athlete of the Month: Don Bell


Congratulations Don, you are the NoCoast Athlete of the Month!


Don and his family have been members of the NoCoast community for 6+ years and, in that time, we’ve had the pleasure of not only seeing Don thrive, but also his wife Katie and some of their kids - Danny, Izzy, Yosef, and Patrick. We admire Don’s love for health and fitness and he shares that passion with his family.


We appreciate Don’s consistency and dedication to the gym and absolutely love the effort he puts in on a daily basis, especially on the air bike! :)


Quotes from Don:

“I cannot say enough about how CrossFit and NoCoast has improved my overall wellness. It is the best part of my day and getting a workout at the gym or at home improves everything from my physical state to my mental state. It’s how I work through a problem, how I blow off steam, how I deal with stress, how I kept sane during quarantine with all 10 kids home every single minute of every day. Hell, my work even knows to schedule the really tough meetings for me after I get to the gym.”


“I have loved having some of my kids come through NoCoast over the years. Them participating in this gives us another connection point, common interest and an area that fosters stress free interaction (which is super valuable as they hit high school). As a parent I get so much joy out of watching my kids do stuff they love, and fortunately one of my kids enjoys CrossFit as much or more than I do. Having that connection is something I truly value and I know it's something that’ll benefit our relationship as he becomes a young adult.”


Age/Weight:

41, 230


How long have you been CrossFitting?

5.5 years….wow, I should be better at this fitness thing.


How did you get into CrossFit?

Don’t tell Sam, but ultimately it was her :)

My wife had been dabbling in CrossFit on and off for about 6 months and had joined a gym she really enjoyed. She kept saying I should join but I was skeptical about my beer habit and surgically repaired back could do the crazy shit she would tell me about. Around August of that year, I started at a new job at a company that had a health and fitness focus and I decided as part of the career pivot I was going to recommit myself to “getting in shape.”

This company offered different group fitness classes every day, so I started trying each of them to force myself to try something new hoping something would stick as I had a hard time committing to consistent (or any) exercise. One of the classes was a CrossFit class coached by Sam. I have to call out, Sam programmed classes were obviously cardio focused, and I recall a time or two asking, “How is this different than just running?”

But a month or so into these sessions I put it together that my wife had been talking about NoCoast, and Sam had me hooked on these “CrossFit-Light” sessions at work. It was easily the best part of my week and I wanted to see if it could be the best part of my day.


What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?

I love the lifts, rower, air bike, wall balls, but The CrossFit Total might be my all time favorite WOD.


What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?

I hate the jump rope, specifically double unders. Not a fan of wall walks either, but I hate that damn jump rope.


What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?

There have been so many great memories of personal accomplishments. First muscle up, first Murph, first rope climb, first pull up, finally topping 500lbs on the deadlift ….throwing my jump rope through the garage doors then closing the door on it, going so hard on the air bike, Ian thought I was going to pass out and having to bring me orange slices so I didn’t. But, if I had to pick just one, it was probably watching Danny do 21.2 in 11 minutes after I was time capped at 20 minutes; experiencing the pride of watching your kid do something amazing and being humbled at the same time is something I’ll never forget.


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

First time I did the Zone challenge it transformed the way I looked at food, portions, alcohol and macro nutrient balancing. I can’t say I am always weighing and measuring my portions, but when I am, I feel better, perform better, and I am less achy…still sore….just less achy.


How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness?

I cannot say enough about how CrossFit and NoCoast has improved my overall wellness. It is the best part of my day and getting a workout at the gym or at home improves everything from my physical state to my mental state. It’s how I work through a problem, how I blow off steam, how I deal with stress, how I kept sane during quarantine with all 10 kids home every single minute of every day. Hell, my work even knows to schedule the really tough meetings for me after I get to the gym.


How has CrossFit changed your family?

I have loved having some of my kids come through NoCoast over the years. Them participating in this gives us another connection point, common interest and an area that fosters stress free interaction (which is super valuable as they hit high school). As a parent I get so much joy out of watching my kids do stuff they love, and fortunately one of my kids enjoys CrossFit as much or more than I do. Having that connection is something I truly value and I know it's something that’ll benefit our relationship as he becomes a young adult.

Advice to new people:

A few words of advice to new people;

  • Yes, you are supposed to be that sore, that is normal.

  • Yeah, that is a lot of reps, best to not do math ahead of time.

  • Everyone is working on something, just stick with it, except for double unders those are dumb.

  • Have fun and keep pushing yourself, you’ll be amazed at what you can do.