Darnell joined CrossFit 1836 back in 2013 and has become an incredible athlete in our gym. We asked Darnell a few questions about his CrossFit story…
- What has been your biggest improvement while at CrossFit 1836?
Since joining CrossFit 1836 I have gotten stronger in all areas. Due to previous injuries and so forth my biggest challenges revolved around pull ups and chest related workouts. In the beginning I was unable to do five pull ups. Now I can do as many as 15 unassisted pull ups. My personal record for squats and deadlifts have jumped tremendously, both have been recorded at 325 lbs and 405 lbs respectively. Both results toppled my previous records by 60 lbs each for both lifts.
- Any advice for people wanting to try out CrossFit 1836?
My prime advice is, don’t be afraid. People of every athletic skill have shown what hard work can do. Many people are intimidated by the idea of CrossFit. Then they hear all the negative myths that have surfaced. You won’t know what you can do until you actually try it. If you’re looking for overall improvements in every facet of your body, I strongly believe and recommend that you try it.
- What’s your favorite movement?
I have a hard time deciding between deadlifts and back squats. If you asked me this 20 years ago, I would not have mentioned either of these movements. Both have given a stronger lower base and extending my ability to play my other sport, basketball.
- Why did you start CrossFit?
I started CrossFit because I needed some structured workouts. For years I have always trained with my football or basketball teams. As I got older it became that much harder to maintain strength and weight. I would enviously watch CrossFit games on TV and tell myself I’m capable of building myself up like those guys and girls are doing.
- What is your favorite thing about CrossFit 1836?
What I really love about CrossFit 1836 are the Coaches. Before 1836 I tried other locations in the HKA area and I was not impressed with their ability to teach exercise, movements and lacked ability to effectively communicate with me considering my deafness. Since joining 1836 everyone around the gym has been pleasant, fun, hard-working athletes. Most importantly it has been the coaches who make me feel welcomed. As a coach myself in other sports I love working with people who can handle being coached. I believe I’m the most coachable athlete around.
- What is your favorite Paleo meal?
I love the Chicken-bacon and rice bowl. I’ve tried quite a few Paleo meals and I can’t get enough of the bacon flavor.
- What is your favorite “cheat” meal?
My ultimate cheat meal would be a traditional soul food meal. I’ll chow down on the Smoked Ham, Mac n Cheese, Collard/Kale Greens, Sweet Potatoes. I’m not too big on sweets or desserts. When I do it’s likely something from scratch like an apple pie.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to be at home with my family. My girlfriend, Ashley, has gotten me into camping. I’ve learned to appreciate and try new things and each trip we’ve taken has been different. Besides that, I’m a sports fanatic. You can always find me watching football and basketball of all kinds. Having played and coached through the collegiate levels it’s a trait in me to sit and analyze certain things happening during games. The only thing I’m not doing is breaking down film on a daily basis as I would do as a player and coach.
- What is something that you have accomplished while doing CrossFit that you never though you would be able to do?
I believe my consistency has been the biggest feat thus far. After my playing career the only thing I did year around was play basketball. I wasn’t consistently lifting as I am doing now. I’ve managed to keep up with both CrossFit and basketball. A few of my buddies think it’s crazy to maintain both but I enjoy the challenge of keep up with both sports on a daily basis. There are days I am completely wiped out especially on days I do both on the same day. I’ve always had the drive and I’m determined to continue as a get older. The other thing I believe I have accomplished is many of the power lifting movements. I’m still a work in progress but to be able to attempt movements I never gave much thought of in the past has been a great thing for me.
- What do you do for a living?
Since the spring of 2012 I’ve been an American Sign Language teacher at Kingwood Park High School. I’ve been in the field of education in various capacities for over 15 years.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family.
I’m a 46 years old divorcee, father of four kids, three boys and a girl. My oldest son, DJ-21, daughter Gabbie-15, Benny-12 and Jeremiah-10. My girlfriend Ashley and I have a little girl, Harlow-6. Our home is one big happy place. Ashley is now a CrossFit athlete. She started this year after some time convincing her this was the best thing she could do. She’s now drinking the CrossFit kool aid. She’s at the point of no return.
- What is something you want to achieve in CrossFit?
The biggest thing I would like to achieve is my flexibility in my quads and hips. I’ve suffered through six knee operations, three on each knee. My flexibility has not been the same after each surgery. I believe once I’ve gotten past the mobility issues I will be able to fully complete many of those power lifts where I can squat much deeper. I’ve gotten better and I am taking it a day at a time, a workout at a time, a rep at a time. I think once this happens many things will take a snow ball effect.