Featured Athlete – Leonardo Barragan

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1. When did you join CrossFit BC?
August 2017

2. Why did you choose CrossFit?
I think I saw a documentary about the Crossfit games on Netflix and that got me excited. I have struggled to keep in shape for many years since leaving college. When I was in school I was part of several sports teams and that always kept me motivated and in shape. When that was over I had a really hard time keeping up with any program for more than a couple weeks.I think part of why many other gyms and at home programs didn’t stick with me is because I needed to be part of a team. Doing workouts alone is not the same when it comes down to keeping your motivation up. I have found a version of that in Crossfit. It is different because there is no overall team goal or record, but there is a personal goal which is functional fitness and it always feels like you have the support of coaches and other members around you here.

3. What changes in your health, physique and overall performance have you seen since starting CrossFit?
I am definitely fitter, stronger, more productive. So many things in daily life that slowly become a struggle become easier when you stick with consistent Crossfit workouts. My endurance is going up and I am building my strength back up to the same as in my early twenties, and I am on my way to do things that I had never even attempted like HSPU. I am starting to get a little worried though because I’m getting close to having to buy a new assortment of pants because all my old ones are starting to sag.

4. What advice would you give to someone with regards to starting CrossFit?
Start slowly. Don’t worry about doing a lot of weight at first. That lead me to an early, although minor injury. Focus on form for a long time before you push your weight up. It has taken me a while to get proper form in lots of exercises not only because I wasn’t or I am not strong enough to do them perfectly yet, but mainly because I had become very stiff in my years working at a desk for most of the day. My shoulder and ankle mobility in particular was very poor when I started and it has taken a long time and effort to get it just a little better. I am not rushing though. I am keeping in mind that for it to become flexible again, it will take at least a portion of the time that it took to get this stiff. I would advice anyone to have a similar approach to their particular challenges.

5. What is your favourite CrossFit exercise?
I don’t think I have a favourite, they are all hard and painful! My favourite thing about Crossfit is the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a workout. Knowing that you are improving your strength, endurance and mobility after doing something that was very hard and you had to struggle through is a great day to start your day.

6. What is your favourite activity outside of CrossFit?
I like to work and I like to hang out with my friends. One added benefit of getting up early to attend the 6am class is that the days that I rest I still wake up early whether I want to or not. This has left me with several free hours in the morning before work. I use this time to do home chores like cleaning up and laundry, leaving me so much more time in the evenings and weekends.So in a very real sense, Crossfit has directly benefited all my outside activities.

7. What is your proudest accomplishment at CrossFit?
I think I am most proud about a few months going by and I am still doing it. There have been weeks, particularly in the rainy months when I missed a lot of classes in a row, but I simply just began again and have been able to keep coming. That is something that has been very difficult for me in the past. I can see a clear path with Crossfit to keep working on my fitness long term and that is not nothing.

8. Have you made any changes to your diet?
I have done some slight changes to my daily diet. Cutting out a lot of sugary stuff and eating mostly whole foods. I have also incorporated intermittent fasting. This has helped me gain a lot of muscle.

9. Is there something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I have meditated daily for about 22 years straight.

10. What/who inspires you the most?
One of my favourite documentaries is “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. It is a about a sushi chef in Japan who has a relentless pursuit for sushi perfection. Whenever I need some added motivation at my job, I watch that. Although for a more balance and healthy approach to inspiration, I look to people who aren’t famous or seeking out to be inspirational. People who find a balance between work, health and family. They will never have a documentary made about them, but they, and the people around them, are usually happier.