Athlete Profile: Joe Fullam
How long have you been a CrossFitting badass? About 3.5 years.
What brought you to CFYork? In February 2009, my wife Jackie asked me if I wanted to join her to check out a new gym. Rusty had invited a bunch of the employees of Advantage Physical Therapy to a free introductory session at CrossFit York. It was some "new" training approach and it sounded interesting. We had dabbled using personal trainers before, but I really didn't know what to expect, I'd never heard of Crossfit.
Jackie and I both signed up, but I didn't get hooked right away. I struggled with so many basic movements. The box was much smaller back then and I found myself doing sessions with big rugby guys who were way out my league. I felt very intimidated, and after just 5-6 weeks, I felt CrossFit was not for me, so I went back to biking, running, and fending off a slow death from sitting behind a desk by regular visits to the JCC.
After 10-11 months of "doing the same old thing" at the JCC and on my road bike, I saw my wife was getting stronger and having all sorts of fun. I felt just a bit left out! She kept egging me to come back. I decided to give it another shot, and this time, I found myself in sessions with some new members who were struggling with some basic movements, too. We all have our different struggles, but seeing people struggle who I could relate to -- and to see them overcome some of their "goats" -- inspired me to keep pushing. Things started to click my second time around and I began to truly embrace the competitive spirit and enjoy "the sport of fitness."
As a longtime member, what changes have you seen in CFY? What did the WODs used to look like? How have coaching methods changed? The CFY membership community has grown rapidly, and with this growth, we needed more space, which resulted in the move into our present kickass box in the city! Now in our new space, we have an awesome pull up rig (with a second in the works), 24 ft ropes, a separate Olympic lifting area, and even a boxing ring... awesome stuff and there's always new stuff happening! Back in the day, the WODs used to be pretty basic, no group warm up, no part A/B, no post-wod group stretch, (you did it on your own...or not...). There is significant planning that goes into the programming that's designed to push members to get stronger AND master good form and technique. Additionally, as the membership has grown, some great folks have earned Level 1 Certifications and joined Rusty, helping to expand the offerings of our box.
How/what do you eat? You had to go there, huh? ;-) Over the last 3 years, Jackie and I have done a few Paleo/Primal challenges, and with each one, I learn a little more about how foods affect me. Whereas I do now eat mostly only Paleo foods, my downfall is balance (or lack thereof). I tend to find a good Paleo food that I like (like dates or nuts) and eat way too much of it during the week. Yes, dates are Paleo, but eating 12 dates and a few fistfuls of nuts a day is probably not gonna get my body to look like Rich Froning's. I also like to kick back with a good Chocolate or Coffee Porter Beer now and again, but usually 2 is my limit (maybe 3). Finding that delicate balance between eating clean and enjoying the social aspect of food (and drink) is more of an art than a science.. Still working on just listening to what my body is trying to tell me. Truth be told, I’ve been in a bit of a food funk in the last month or two… I think I need some new inspiration, I've been eating a lot of the same meals week after week.
What's your favorite movement or workout? What do you love to see on the whiteboard? I love cleans and pull-ups...And DUs...I struggled for 2+ years trying to get Double-Unders. I feel I have mastered DUs enough where I now look forward to them in a WOD. And if I haven’t said it before, I detest burpees.
Talk a little bit about what it's like to be married to Jackie, who is one of the most-chased, most-amazing athletes at CFY. How does her success drive you (or not)? If it weren't for Jackie joining and sticking with CrossFit, I probably wouldn't be doing it today -- I'm thankful for that; she's my rock and she motivates me to push harder!
It's awesome having a common interest like CrossFit to share with my wife, and because we both love CrossFit so much, we are eager to support each other to ensure we both get enough time to do what we love. Jackie will sometimes do a 6Am WOD, then I'll go in later in the day and try to beat her time. This is usually followed by some trash talk via text...she mostly beats me, but once in a while, I eke out a small victory! We usually WOD separately during the week, but we try to do the weekend WODs together as much as possible.
I know your teenaged son, Tyler, is also a regular at CFY. How has crossfitting transformed your family? Your parenting? Your marriage? CrossFit has had a tremendously positive impact on our family and how we parent. Our involvement in CrossFit sets a great example of a fit lifestyle to our kids.
My son saw our excitement and dedication to CrossFit and asked to join. He now does Olympic lifting sessions twice per week and wants to start wodding, too. The CrossFit lifestyle and our Paleo eating changed the foods we buy and eat when at home and when we are out at restaurants. This affects the way our entire family eats -- for the better. At first, there was resistance, but now we see our kids making smarter choices about what they eat.
Confidence, strength (physical and mental), tenacity, empathy, compassion, joy, triumph, enthusiasm, patience, honesty (you’re just cheating yourself) -- these are just some of the virtues that, by simply practicing CrossFit, we have the ability to reveal and hone. And these virtues cross over into everyday life, making our relationships stronger, making our lives better. Was our marriage pretty awesome before Crossfit? Yup. Has Crossfit made our marriage even better?… You betcha!
You're an athlete outside the box, too. What are your favorite local events/races? I've done the various Adventure/Extreme races like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and the Cap City Challenge up in Harrisburg. They are all always fun events when you get a crew from CFY to join in.
Last year we did the Civilian Military Challenge (CMC) and we will do it again this year. The CMC is neat because it incorporates CrossFit movements in the "Pit" at the start of the race. I also like to try to do 2 or 3 CrossFit competitions during the year.
The Mid-Atlantic Hopper down in Baltimore is a favorite (Oct/Nov) and of course, the CrossFit Open in March-April each year. Jackie and I also plan to compete in the Master's Division at the Atlas Games at Titan Crossfit in Cockeysville, MD this June. Fun stuff!