February Athlete of the Month: Eric Bottenhorn
Congratulations, Eric! You are our February Athlete of the Month!!
Eric has only been at NoCoast for 7 months, but in that time, he has committed himself to the process - showing up everyday, working hard, and most recently joining our Performance Challenge. This has given him a new outlook on life. After recovering from a knee reconstruction surgery in 2019, Eric joined NoCoast and has lost nearly 50 lbs already! He is not only feeling stronger, but noticing many other positive psychological changes in his life as well. We appreciate Eric’s hard work and dedication to his health and we look forward to seeing his continued growth! We are so proud of you!
Quotes for Eric:
“I looked forward to the start of the performance challenge, and three weeks in, have noticed great improvement in the way that I feel. Having experienced consistent improvement in overall fitness since starting CF, I did not expect that the nutritional discipline of Zone would be so beneficial. Starting the week with the energy and confidence equivalent to ending the week prior, has made a ton of difference in the continued improvement of performance.”
“I cannot overstate the impact that CrossFit has had on all aspects of my life, since joining NoCoast 7 months ago. There are the obvious, more visible benefits of weight loss, having lost 45 – 50 lbs, but the less visible benefits of feeling better, with more energy and vigor, and the psychological benefits of improved self-esteem and positive mindset, are immeasurable.”
47 yrs old / 197 lbs
Growing up in Massachusetts, I played organized sports throughout my youth and high school years.
I was an accomplished football player and wrestler, and ran track & cross country. I loved the competitive environment of team sport, and the camaraderie that develops through shared experience.
In more recent years, skiing, mountain biking, hiking and running occupied much of my free time. In February of 2019, a skiing accident left me with a fully ruptured ACL & MCL, a torn meniscus, and a fractured tibial plateau. If I’m being honest with myself, had I been stronger, and in better shape, the damage may have been minimized or prevented altogether. The physical recovery from reconstructive surgery took the better part of a year, and building back the confidence to take on new physical challenges took even longer.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
I’m a relative newbie, joining No Coast in June of 2021.
This has been my first experience with CrossFit, and I only wish that I’d started sooner!
How did you get into CrossFit?
It’s a bit of a long-winded story of how I finally came to CrossFit.
For years, I’ve been intrigued by CrossFit, having seen the fitness benefits with friends & acquaintances who spoke highly of their CF gym experiences. It appeared from the outside that the culture of their gyms were very similar to my experiences with team sports in the past, and the sense of community that was established through training efforts and shared experience.
Looking back, I think that my procrastination was due to a misperception that I needed to be “in shape” prior to engaging in an activity such as CrossFit.
Then I met Mary Finck. My wife and I were both PT patients of Mary’s, and for a couple of years, I’d had the opportunity to discuss the virtues of CF over needling sessions. I’d recovered from knee reconstruction and needed something more than conventional lifting & cardio routines, working independently, and with a lack of guidance & accountability. Mary had suggested that I reach out to Dan to discuss why CF may be a good fit.
But I still felt like I needed to first get into shape, and then think about joining a CF gym.
Then came a social media post by Paul Martin, where he commended his wife Sharon for her commitment and dedication, and the results that she’d realized. This came at a time when I was desperate for anything that would bring an element of fitness that may help to positively impact the various areas of my life. In Paul’s photos, I recognized the gym to be NoCoast. That was a Saturday morning last summer, and I reached out to Dan that afternoon.
What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
There are many, but I really enjoy lifting movements like the deadlift & power snatch, and other basic movements such as the wall walk, an introduction to being inverted.
My favorite WODs are those with variety. Two that stick out for me—1) the 12 Days of Christmas on 12/18/2021, and 2) A 3 round / 6 station workout that included Ski Erg, dumbbell lunge, weighted sit-ups, candlestick roll, ball slam and GHD.
What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
There are few, but burpees have always been my nemeses.
And although I appreciate the benefits of box jumps, my shins would say otherwise.
As for WODs, anything with wall balls is extremely humbling. There was a workout back in the fall that included running, wall balls, and box jumps, and tested the structural integrity of my reconstructed knee. What I’ve found is that some of these personally challenging workouts bring a ton of benefits, building strength, flexibility and confidence.
But I will never love burpees!
What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?
I love Saturday mornings. The larger groups, energy, and camaraderie are incomparable, and take me back to the days of organized sports. Walking into such a welcoming, encouraging and supportive environment provides for many memorable experiences. I definitely remember the moments when I realize PRs and am motivated by the evidential benefits of the work. But if I had to identify some of the most memorable moments, they would include those when another athlete in the gym is going for a lift that will be a personal best, and the way that the gym encourages their success. It is a great representation of the uniqueness of the CF community.
How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery?
In the months since joining NoCoast, I’ve been somewhat disciplined with tracking macros and eating clean…most of the time. As the holidays approached, what started as the Friday pizza night bleeding into the Saturday cheat day, became the cheat weekend, and I was noticing that recovery wouldn’t come until mid-week. I looked forward to the start of the performance challenge, and three weeks in, have noticed great improvement in the way that I feel. Having experienced consistent improvement in overall fitness since starting CF, I did not expect that the nutritional discipline of Zone would be so beneficial. Starting the week with the energy and confidence equivalent to ending the week prior, has made a ton of difference in the continued improvement of performance.
How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness?
I cannot overstate the impact that CrossFit has had on all aspects of my life, since joining NoCoast 7 months ago. There are the obvious, more visible benefits of weight loss, having lost 45 – 50 lbs, but the less visible benefits of feeling better, with more energy and vigor, and the psychological benefits of improved self-esteem and positive mindset, are immeasurable.
How has CrossFit changed your family?
One of the motivating factors for me has been the example that I set for my kids, Andrew and Connor. It’s difficult to discuss the importance of a healthy lifestyle without leading by example. Seeing the physical and emotional benefits of CrossFit has facilitated discussions around consistency and discipline, and that putting in the work will undoubtedly result in improved fitness. Additionally, the mental clarity and renewed enthusiasm has made for a better home environment.
Advice to new people:
1. Set reasonable and realistic expectations and goals. When I started CrossFit last summer, it had been years since any weightlifting routine, and I quickly realized that many of the movements had been improperly taught to me in the first place. I quickly learned that I needed to check my ego at the door. My goals for 2021 included familiarizing myself with the CrossFit methodology, improving my metabolic conditioning, and losing weight. Building upon these, my goals for 2022 include a continued improvement in strength and conditioning, and a focused effort to improve technique and some of the more technical movements of the workouts.
2. Consistency…start by just showing up, establish the routine, and stick to it. Even on the days when you’re not feeling it, show up and scale back if necessary. Do this, and you will absolutely see improvement over time.
3. Utilize the BTWB app to help track nutrition in addition to your workout results. Then, take advantage of a NoCoast nutritional challenge when it comes around. I had been noticing that sleep patterns and recovery were extremely inconsistent, and there were times during the week when I felt drained and unable to push my performance. Participating in the Performance Challenge has reinforced the importance of balanced nutrition, and I’ve experienced improved sleep and more consistent energy levels.