I grew up in Sri Lanka and joined my first gym when I moved to California for college in 2007 (age 18). I was never an athlete, preferring programming, hackathons, and playing piano to being outside. Physical health was a void I was always conscientious of.
After college I joined an early-stage startup as an engineer with a definite chip on my shoulder. It came through in my attempt to seek fulfillment through a series of constant deadlines, programming challenges, and appeasing investors. Five years of caffeine, high stress, poor sleep, and working out of hotels / airports caught up to me. I became overweight, and the negative results manifested in my own inner voice and how I treated my family and friends.
Change was necessary. I quit my job, moved to Austin, and started a new company with two colleagues who shared similar beliefs on creating good team culture and product. This gave me the right foundation before joining CrossFit Central.
Results Since Joining CrossFit Central
- Decreased weight from 181.6 lbs to 157.6 lbs (lost 24 lbs)
- Decreased body fat % from 21.2% to 10.1% (lost 11.1% body fat)
- Increased back squat from 185 lbs to 315 lbs
- Increased bench from 155 lbs to 235 lbs
- Increased trap bar deadlift from 225 lbs to 425 lbs
- Increased snatch from 45 lbs (unable to balance barbell overhead) to 130 lbs
- Increased clean and jerk from 115 lbs to 195 lbs
- Gained strict handstand push ups
- Gained strict toes to bar
- Gained pistol squats
- Gained deep awareness of personal posture (historically poor as a programmer), body alignment, and mobility
- 1st place, CrossFit Central’s Open competition (Scaled Division)
I owe all my success at CrossFit Central to my coach Teo Ledesma and the Advanced Athlete program. I approached Teo about training with his athletes fully expecting a resounding no. Instead, Teo took the time to meet with me and really understand my core beliefs and how I communicate (as an engineer and day-to-day) and we began training.
We started with the basics: train 4 days a week, simplify diet to meat and vegetables, drink water, and sleep at 10:30pm every night. After this, we gradually added new food, supplements, and training volume. Every result was quantified and measured via PRs, body composition tests, workout logs, and food journals. The numbers motivated me to chase more. We also constantly shared and debated a never ending series of books, podcasts, lectures, and articles to slowly fill in more knowledge gaps.
The CrossFit Open was my first foray into competition. Under Teo’s direction, our study transitioned to breathing, efficient movement patterns, and WOD strategy. Competition came with more physical strain, and I was introduced to CrossFit Central’s incredible network of physical therapists, chiropractors, nutritionists and fitness professionals. PRI, Wim Hof, Dry-Needling, Airrosti, Ice baths, ART, sport psychology, and blood work also became new areas of experimentation for me. All the while, the Advanced Athlete program ensured I was always training with people who were faster, stronger, and more technically sound than me.
My training with CrossFit Central reached the next phase when Teo recommended that I train for two weeks in Costa Rica with a group of world class athletes. This was the closest I’ve been pushed to my breaking point, and I came back a different person. I attribute my biggest PRs to this mental training.
Every coach at CrossFit Central is fully invested in their athletes, and it shows! You get used to Coach Hartwell correcting a kettlebell swing, Coach Megan yelling for a taller chest on a snatch, or Coach Nader questioning your beard growth 🙂
I’m very aware of my own ‘person you are vs. the person you want to be’ dichotomy. I generally attribute the harshness of my own inner critic to the gap between these two people. Thanks to Teo and CrossFit Central, this has been one of the first years where I felt this gap close considerably for me.
The result for me? A noticeable improvement in feeling truly present and grounded day to day. While body composition is the most noticeable change for me, getting through one more rep over and over this past year definitely added up. The mental fortitude I gained from CrossFit translated into any aspect of my life which involved pushing through fatigue or a moment of trial.
Understanding principles of scaling, micro-progression, and learning to quiet my inner voice on lifts also translated meaningfully into how how I attacked new skillsets outside the gym. Finally, the sense of camaraderie shown by the CrossFit Central community became a constant reminder for me of how important it is to keep raising up the people around you for the greater good. I’m very humbled and grateful to be part of this community.