Ready to be inspired? Meet Mike.

 Mike has lost over 50 pounds since joining Catacombs and found a better version of himself.

Mike has lost over 50 pounds since joining Catacombs and found a better version of himself.

Check out this article from the Fall Newsletter that went out this week. Make sure you give it a read for all the latest events. Here is a feature on our Athlete of the Month, Mike Eckstein. Mike has lost over 50 pounds since starting at Catacombs. We couldn’t be more proud.

January 8th of this year was my first time stepping into CrossFit. I have two little girls that I only get to see a few days a week, and I always want to maximize my time with them. Being out of shape and very overweight made that impossible. Time I needed to spend engaging with my kids was spent just watching my kids. I was tired of it, but still always felt like that getting in shape was something I should do, not something that I needed to do, so I kept putting off taking the first step.

Eventually I was listening to an interview with Chris Pratt, who was discussing his tremendous weight loss. When the interviewer balked at the suggestion that it was only six months of consistent work, Pratt said, "Six months seems like a long time unless you’re looking backwards, all you have to do is just a few things everyday and remain consistent, and time will fly just as fast as it flies if you’re working hard or not. If you just cut the crap out of your diet, and if you spend an hour a day doing something physical that will make you sweat, six months will pass by, you will feel better mentally, physically, spiritually.

That was it for me, no more excuses. I looked at (probably) every gym option in Durango, but Catacomb’s attitude of, “Start where you are” drew me here.

What was the hardest thing about those first few weeks?

The mental game is the toughest part of working out, CrossFit or not. It takes a level of mental toughness to walk into your first foundations class, your first group class, your first one-on-one…and then to keep coming back week after week. The first three weeks my severely underdeveloped thighs took a beating just doing a few air squats. My muscles were so sore I would literally fall down walking on a flat sidewalk. As bad as it was, worse than the muscle soreness was the voice in my head telling me that the pain wasn’t worth it, I had better things to do in my spare time (like bingeing Breaking Bad). It was that little voice I had to silence day after day. I initially kept coming back because I had committed to at least finishing Foundations. When foundations was over, I kept coming back because of the amazing encouragement from the coaches there, starting with Greg, Marty, and Andy. Now, I keep coming back because I can see and feel the results every day. An hour of soccer with my kids or an afternoon of hiking is now a memory being made, not just an activity I can’t enjoy. 

What kinds of workouts are your favorite? What about your least favorite?

I like long work out. I like it long and miserable and grinding. It take me a long time to feel warmed up and loose enough to perform at my best, so my first couple of rounds tend to be stiff and robotic but by the end, I’m warm and loose and able to grind along, even if I am exhausted. My favorite specific workout was a partner WOD that involved d-balls, deadlifts, tire flips, and the assault bike. It took around thirty-five minutes to complete. I absolutely loved that WOD. It makes sense then that the fast “sprint” WODs aren’t really my cup of tea. Even with more time to warm up I usually feel like it takes a solid round or two for my body to find it’s groove, and by then they’re usually done. Thirty snatches for time…what the heck is that?

What advice can you give to anyone just beginning their CrossFit journey?

The first thing I’d say is to find your reason for going and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s because you want to feel better, you want more energy, or your want more dates. If it evolves, let it evolve; it’s whatever is going to get you to come to class that day. For me it’s a fairly constant mental battle. Some days I feel like I can go to class and take on anything. Most days I need to hold on to my reason for going, whether I’m thinking about keeping up with the kids or I just need to remind myself that I want to be able to confidently take my shirt off at the pool, I find my reason to go that day.

The second is that you don’t have to worry what other people think. If you need to mod, talk to the coach. It’s ok if you look terrible doing a movement (when I run I’m pretty sure I resemble a drunk penguin). Even if you can’t quite get yourself to check your ego at the door, rest assured that everyone else is too busy trying to survive the WOD to worry about what anyone else is doing.

Do you have any goals (CrossFit or otherwise) that you are willing to share?

When I started I was just shy of 310 pounds and in the worst shape of my life. I had a Coke a day, sometimes two. If someone brought donuts into work I would always have one…or two. Nachos and pizza were go-to foods for me. Now I’m about 255, and I’m aware of the foods I’m putting into my body. If I’m going to have sweets, or pizza, or anything else that’s not healthy fuel for my body, I’m making sure I enjoy and am aware of every bite that I take. That being said, I still have a long way to go. When it comes to tangible goals I want to get my weight down to 220 pounds and then focus on regaining some of that in muscle instead of fat. More intangible goals are that I’d like to continue to increase my energy for when I’m with my kids and raising them into a healthy and active lifestyle. If they want to take up a sport, I’d like to be able to take it up along side them.

It also just feels good to be able to do more, and it’s getting better all the time.