Welcome back to Athlete Spotlight. This edition we will get to know Chris Gardner (Chris G). Chris has trained at Coastal since June 2015. He is often seen at the 5:30pm session however has recently been mixing it up. His sense of humor always brings a laugh or two and not always with him ;D
Chris always brings a positive vibe to a class, and remains positive even when things might not always go his way. Last year Chris had a pretty significant knee injury requiring surgery. Upon his return Chris was exceptionally responsive to coaching and guidance from Chris and I. He took the time to concentrate on the quality of his movement, whereas prior to injury Chris was capable but it was the finer details of movement in my opinion that was letting him down. His turn around through this time was dramatic and saw him come back fitter, faster and stronger and he is still continuing to move forward. Along side this Chris has also focused on nutrition and is continuously aiming to improve in all aspects of health and fitness. It has been great seeing him hit new PBs recently and we look forward to seeing your continued progression.
Can you give us a bit of background about yourself, where you grew up, profession, previous training, hobbies, etc.
Firstly, it’s a privilege just to be called an athlete.
I turned 40 this year, I was born in Luton, not too far from where Renee is in the UK but I grew up in a village called Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) near the most south-westerly tip of England. Worth a look if you are ever in the area.
We had limited choices for sport in that part of the world as infrastructure was sparse compared to the big smoke, but we did have rowing and we did have rugby, I was fairly accomplished at both for most of my teenage years. At the end of my college year I still hadn’t decided on a career path and fell into a job as a careworker with children with emotional and behavioural problems, a challenging roll at that age but one of the most rewarding jobs an 18 year old could have, and one that shaped the career direction I was to take.
At 21 I decided to go to university, an opportunity to complete a degree for a vocational career choice. My mum always said that she imagined I would end up in a uniform, little did she know that I would follow her into the world of nursing. A choice that set me on a path of 18 years in public health delivery. Surgical, emergency and ultimately an intensive care clinical nurse specialist among other roles. Now I am working as a project manager in healthcare. My contract is up at the end of the year, so if anyone knows of a vacancy????
In amongst that story is that of my family, married at 25 kids from 5 years after and a trip to Australia in between. I’ve been on the Sunshine Coast almost as long as I have been coming to Coastal.
You have trained with us for over 3 years, can you tell us how you heard about CrossFit and what made you start and has kept you with us at Coastal CrossFit?
I can’t remember the exact search terms I entered into Google that day but prior to crossfit I remember enjoying group exercise classes, my favourite was ZU, and I was also more engaged during personal training sessions. I just could not get on with training on my own, I struggled then as I do now to keep myself accountable during workouts. Whatever I put in the search box that day crossfit was the result, I trawled through the different websites for the crossfit gyms but I kept coming back to Coastal. I needed to change, I needed something I could commit to. I was fed up paying gym fees and not using it. There was something I was drawn to. I made the call and spoke to Chris, no looking back from there.
I remember something Chris said on the first day at crossfit, ‘leave your ego at the door, there’s always gonna be women that are lifting more than you’.
The reason I keep coming back, I love the competition, the camaraderie, the support, the expert advice, the variety and most of all the people.
Not too long ago you suffered an injury which put you out of action for a little while. Many people would use this to stop training, however you used this as a catalyst to change your mindset in regards to movement. Could you tell us what happened, your mindset change and how your attitude has resulted in greater improvements in your athletic development?
What I didn’t mention above was that for most of the time between playing sports as a teenager and getting involved in CrossFit was that I had a poor lifestyle, bad diet, smoking etc etc and only intermittent training. When I injured my knee playing touch football my lifestyle was improving. I would’ve been mad to give that all up and revert to bad habits.
I tried to get back to the gym as soon as possible, I put my trust in the trainers and dialled the weight right back, worked on technique and when I was back at 95 % function started to see some significant gains. The injury in some part was a very positive experience, it really was difficult during the initial recovery/convalescence, I was desperate to get to the box as soon as possible, I would not want to go through it again but I definitely appreciate the experience.
What is your favourite movie?
Difficult question for me, I love movies. Would happily talk about movies all day.
Favourite band/music? CrossFit Jam or pump up song if you have one?
I listen to so much music, from a mis-spent youth I would have to say favourite genre is deep house or progressive intelligent drum and base (I know how wanky that sounds). Anything that’s on Good Looking Records label. Best track – The Western with MC Conrad
Pink Floyd also have a place in my heart.
What is your favourite WOD and why?
Without doubt ‘Hursty’, the sense of community, the pain, the camaraderie and the community spirit that it inspires is pure gold. Its also that sense of achievement in completing something memorable in honour of those who were braver than I ever will be.
Can you tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know?
I doubt there’s much I leave out, but I am a mad gamer. I love my PS4 and in the absence of any responsibility I would happily play it for hours if I could.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Chris G a little more, and if like Chris you are a gamer, you might be able to arrange a time for some Mario Cart.