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October’s Athletes of the Month: Aaron and Tara

Congrats to our brother/sister duo, Aaron and Tara Bernardo, on being October’s Athletes of the Month! Please read their stories below.

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Name:  Aaron Bernardo

Age: 32

Hometown: Hamilton, Bermuda

How long have you been CrossFitting?  Roughly 2 ½ years.

What is your favorite WOD/Exercise? Honestly I love everything about CrossFit, the more challenging the WOD the better but if I had to choose I guess I would say chippers (Filthy 50) or anything that involves body weight or gymnastics (handstand push-ups, muscle ups, pull-ups) and running.

What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise? Fran ( or anything that involves thrusters) Yikes.

What is your previous workout/athletic background? I was always pretty athletic growing up. I did Karate for 8 years and received my Black Belt when I was 15. I also did well in any track and field events but that all pretty much stopped when I graduated High School. Suddenly I guess I felt I was too cool for sports. (What was I thinking!)  I continued to not do anything physical ( I mean anything) from 18 until I turned 30. When I turned 30 I realized I wasn’t invincible and I felt there was something missing in my life but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I tried the normal Gym stuff but I just felt it was too boring for me and I have always been one to push the limits in whatever I choose to do. I had a buddy that told me about CrossFit and after doing my research I was instantly hooked.

What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? I’ll never forget my first CrossFit class. It was a 6:30pm foundation class. I was a few minutes early so they were just wrapping up the 5:30pm class. Man was I intimidated. Everyone looked exhausted! Some were soaked in sweat from head to toe, some were laying on the floor gasping for air, others were outside on the grass stretching but through all the exhaustion and sweat everyone also looked extremely satisfied and happy to be there. Almost like they just completed a goal or conquered a personal challenge. It was scary but appealing at the same time. Whatever it was I wanted that. I need this sense of fulfillment in my life. I sucked it up and decided to give it a try. Right away I was greeted and welcomed by the CrossFit community. Everyone was so nice and friendly. Little did I know these strangers would soon become my family whom I would see 6 times per week.

What results have you seen since CrossFitting? I hate to be the “numbers guy” but when I started CF I weighed 155lbs and had a body fat % of 16.8%. I was what you call “skinny-fat.” Skinny to the regular eye but far from fit. Today I weigh 170lbs and my body fat% is 6.8%. You do the math the numbers don’t lie. They didn’t just teach me about CrossFit they also taught me about nutrition, recovery and how important it was to stretch and mobilize in order to prevent injury. All I could think was “I’m in the right place, these people know what they’re doing.”

What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? Well in the beginning I used to scream obscenities and curse lol. Not at anyone or anything just to myself to motivate me. Then I started doing the morning classes from time to time and I have a good friend Pastor AL who usually works out pretty close to me. He never said anything but I just didn’t feel right using this type of language anymore. Don’t get me wrong an occasional one still slips from time to time but hey we’re only human J. Now I just say things like “Come on AB, u can do it!” or know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It hurts, it burns, but I love it!

What’s your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman?  I would have to say the support from the coaches and the community. We all have good days, we all have bad days. It’s impossible to PR everyday but I do feel that I leave the class not only with a great physical workout but I also feel mentally refreshed. CrossFit is my escape. I’ve also met some pretty amazing people and made some incredible friendships on the way.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman?  The time is now. Don’t wait. Consistency is key. My only wish is that I would have started CrossFit sooner. Trust me if I can do it anyone can!

Name:  Tara Nicole Bernardo

Age:  34

Hometown:  Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

How long have you been CrossFitting? I would say on and off about 6-7 years however definitely on for almost a year now. I actually started crossfitting with the gym back in their old location behind CUC however due to some unfortunate medical issues and years of laziness I floated in and out for a couple of years until October 2016 when I decided it was time to get back into shape and get myself together.

What is your favorite WOD/Exercise?  I don’t have a specific WOD that’s a favorite but I prefer a WOD, which incorporates lifting (power cleans, push press, push jerk or clean and Jerks) with double unders or sit-ups.  I also enjoy when we do the Tabata workouts however burpees are the devil to me.

What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise?  Anything to do with running, and squatting. I am not very flexible and have an extremely difficult time squatting especially with over-head weight, something I am constantly working on. I also struggle with snatches.

What is your previous workout/athletic background? I think I have been to almost every gym on island.  I don’t have an extensive background however I played netball as a child and was a long distance runner (go-figure). Crossfit has been the only gym I have fully committed too and the only program where I have actually seen results. I would never go to a conventional gym again as I felt most of the time I would do cardio for an hour and it didn’t compare to the intensity achieved by a WOD at crossfit.

What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? I almost died, it was probably the hardest WOD I have ever done however after taking huge breaks, every time I would come back to crossfit I felt like I was reliving my first experience all over again. I’m trying to stick to the ‘No breaks lifestyle’

What results have you seen since CrossFitting? I’ve seen weight loss results and certainly have more energy and better self-confidence. I’ve lost about 30-35 lbs. I feel stronger, healthier and happier in this new lifestyle. Being over weight made me depressed and I realized I wasn’t setting a great example for my son. I recognized that my diet was key and after switching completely to a paleo lifestyle and including daily workouts, I finally started to see the weight come off.

What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? I tend to look to my fellow athletes for motivation. I feel like we are a family especially in the noon class, which I attend the most. It’s a smaller group and we usually text one another before class to make sure we are going. If it’s running my first reaction isn’t always positive but I just tell myself I can do it. It’s just an hour of my day and once it’s done it’s done but for the most part I really enjoy attending classes.  I look forward to seeing the WOD for the next day. Crossfit is the only hour I take for myself during my day to do something I love.

What’s your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman?  Again the motivation and the encouragement from the other members and coaches and the family environment, hence working out with my brother who will call and text me if I don’t show up for class.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman?  Just do it. Stop making excuses about why you can’t come and join Crossfit. No one can make you change your lifestyle; it has to be something you absolutely want. It takes commitment and at times it’s going to be hard but the results are amazing and your life and self-confidence will certainly improve.

 

 

 

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