December Athlete’s of the Month: Mel and Andrew

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Congrats to Mel Shulman and Andrew Mathias on being December’s Athletes of the Month! Please read their stories below.


Name: Melanie Shulman

Age: Irrelevant

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada & New York City

How long have you been CrossFitting? 1.5 years total. My very first CF experience was with CrossFit Cayman! Moved off island & did other fitness activities. But when I came back to the island 4 months ago, CrossFit Cayman was first on my list!

What is your favorite WOD/Exercise? Tabata. AMRAPS. Clean & Jerks. Double Unders (now that I can actually do them!) I recently did Grace with some coaches on our “day off” which was pretty cool.

What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise? Squat Snatch. Thruster. Overhead Squat. I think you see where I’m going with this.

What is your previous workout/athletic background? Growing up in the Canadian Rockies gave me a taste for the outdoors & adventure sports.
Snowboarding/wakeboarding, rock-climbing/ice- climbing, biking & swimming. I did competitive figure skating in my adolescent years (So Canadian of me lol). Living in NYC brought out the insanity (in every regard) where I enjoyed all sorts of bootcamps & HIIT classes, (Barry’s Bootcamp, ToneHouse), but also the need to calm my mind with classes such as spin (FlyWheel, SoulCycle) & pilates (SLT). Hate yoga, just sayin.

What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? Butterflies:From excitement! Yay! No wait… that was nausea from after the workout. Humbling:I had always thought I was in pretty good shape… until I realized I couldn’t do half the moves at CF! Intimidating: There are definitely some ultra-fit members at CF Cayman… however you’ll find these people to be your biggest cheerleaders. Upon moving to Cayman I tried a few gyms/classes & just wasn’t finding that same intensity & energy that I got from my gyms in NYC. I had never done CF & quite frankly thought poorly of it… however it became the answer to achieving the goals I craved. Soon after I changed my mind completely on CF & now can’t live without it.

What results have you seen since CrossFitting? Definitely stronger. Learned a ton about “right” form! Continuously improving my technique (if it’s not one thing it’s another). I learned that you can’t outwork a diet. Lost some weight & toned up. Overall energy both physically & mentally throughout the day. That I own too many workout clothes.

What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? I think of how awesome I’ll feel when it’s all over! I’m addicted to the satisfaction & endorphins after a good workout. Get my mind under control. Self-talk gone bad is detrimental. And it will, test you. Fill it with positive affirmations. You can sustain anything for a short amount of time (although 30 seconds in CF can seriously feel like a lifetime!). Fellow athletes! I love that you feel part of a team vs a competition. Sounds mushy, but I think how lucky I am to have my body and health when so many people suffer from disease or injury. Life is about showing up.

What is your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman? The coaches and the members. Knowing that no matter how bad my day was I will leave that gym feeling
better. It’s a mental escape. Admittingly which for me, often turns into a social environment (oops!). You’ll find me chit chatting over pumpkin spice RX Bars (which also may explain why there is no more left). I love that the coaches take a genuine interest in each member, they listen, they care, they educate, they’ll tailor a WOD to injury. They know when to push you but also when to hold you back! They encourage you to break boundaries be it strength, diet or will power. I love the members, the sense of community & would never get through a WOD without their support!

What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman? Get started. Be patient. Be consistent. Take that first step and walk through the door. CrossFit is technical and there is definitely a learning curve so give it time (Min 3 months) It will be frustrating (still is!) but the baby steps will eventually become leaps towards reaching goals and setting new ones.

Name: Andrew Mathias

Age: 26

Hometown: Preston

How long have you been CrossFitting? About 2 and a half years I think, maybe a little more.

What is your favorite WOD/Exercise? I like the WOD Karen (150 wall balls). I think it’s a great test of everything that’s good about Crossfit. Intensity, mental fortitude and stamina. It’s pretty hard to do one movement 150 times and it’s definitely a WOD in which you feel exhausted when finished. No matter how good you are at wall balls it still hurts like hell. I enjoy anything that’s a squat to overhead, so thrusters, squat snatches etc movements that you can feel across your legs, core, and arms. I am a glutton for punishment. I like weight lifting as well.

What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise? Any workout with dumbbell snatches.

What is your previous workout/athletic background? I played Rugby Union since the age of 7 all the way up until moving to Cayman 5 years ago, age 22. We played at quite a high standard as well, playing at University and what not. I was always quite active when younger, I used to go to the gym, lift weights, things like that. During the induction Matt said something that reminded me of myself. He said that he was originally athletic but never in shape. It was the perfect way to describe my situation. I knew at that moment I was in the right place.

What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? My first induction workout was a shock actually. I didn’t realize how far i’d let myself go fitness wise since coming to Cayman. It was the reality check I needed. The coaches were amazing as well….;)

What results have you seen since CrossFitting? Becoming Athlete of the Month is pretty good! I’ve lost about 50+ pounds since joining and have become much stronger mentally and physically. I’ve developed a daily routine in both work, my diet and in my active life. I can even see my abs now which I never could before. There’s still some way to go, but I look forward to the journey. Also, no-one calls me “fat guy with the beard anymore”, that’s pretty cool as well.

What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? I always see the first half of any workout as the uphill struggle, I always think at that point, don’t go too hard until I get past half way. Then when I get there, I count down my rounds or reps saying things to myself like, “only 2 rounds left, only 1 round left”, I find it helps me push through the pain. Also, If I say to myself, let’s do 10 burpees, I think to myself, why not push it to 13, then 14 reps. I use a system like that to make it easier on myself in the long run.

What’s your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman?
The camaraderie involved. It’s pretty ace. I’ve made some great friends here. I’ve always played team sports and Crossfit is as good as any. It’s been great seeing the results of not just myself but people around me. I also love the feeling after working out, that feeling of self accomplishment and clarity. It makes the burpees worth it.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman? Don’t hesitate another day!

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