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Getting to know you....Athlete edition part 1

Brian Sutton


Check out Brian's interview below and learn more about Brian's story
and what inspires him to become better. Brian continues to excel in the gym and consistently knocks out PRs with ease. We are grateful for Brian, his dedication to his family and his fitness, and for what he contributes to our community.

A personal note from Lindsey:

Before you go on to read Brian's interview questions, I would like to share one of my standout memories of Brian. The memory that I have chosen to highlight is one that is etched in to my mind. It takes place during this past year during the Open. We had an event to complete the Open workouts where our members were encouraged to invite their friends and family to come and join in the excitement while our athletes made it through this tough workout. Brian, and his wife Erin, brought both their children and their children's grandparents to attend. Brian was in one of the later heats of the workout and during the transition when we were getting any last minute workout/scaling questions addressed, Brian came to me and asked me what he should do to scale the handstand walk if he were to get to that part of the workout. As his coach, I specifically remember thinking for a moment...I had never seen Brian handstand walk before but I had also seen him accomplish many things that he didn't necessarily know he could do at the time so my response was very quick. "You're going to attempt a handstand walk." Brian looked at me blankly for a second and sort of shrugged his shoulders and said, "I've never done a handstand walk but okay." He very willingly accepted the challenge to try without even a moment of a second thought. I will have to let you let you in on a little secret about a coach's perspective in a moment like don't say something like this to an athlete without a level of confidence in that person. At the same time, it is very unnerving because he was right, I had never seen him attempt a handstand walk and therefore I truly wasn't 100% certain that he could do it. The truth is that is believed in Brian. Perhaps just the idea that his coach believed in him was all he needed to hear in that moment. As his long time coach, what I did know with 100% certainty is that I believed in him and he had proven his ability to try things with an underlying confidence was steadfast. Fast forward to a few minutes in to that workout and Brian was crushing it and his whole family was right nearby to cheer him on. He has time remaining on the clock to begin the handstand walk and without hesitation he popped onto his hands and TOOK OFF! (See the picture above) In that very moment, every person in that gym erupted with applause and everyone participated in enjoying that accomplishment alongside Brian. I watched with goosebumps on my arms and an excitement in my heart that was a reminder of all of the feel good moments that can take place in the CrossFit gym. It was an awesome reminder of how we are all able to crush our perceived boundaries when we face them with a little confidence and a willingness to try. This memory continues to serve me with great gratitude and I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with each of you as well.

Brian makes me better. Brian makes us all better.

Enjoy Brian's interview questions below.


What brought you in the door of Stockyard your first day? (How did you learn about CrossFit and specifically SYCF?)

I had been wanting to get into CrossFit for about 2 years before finally committing to the on-ramp course. I simply had a million “excuses” for not getting started but none had actual merit. The moment that finally clicked was when one of my coworkers had joined at the beginning of 2017 and he and I spoke all the time about how much he enjoyed working out at Stockyard(especially how difficult the WOD’s were). At that point, I contacted Lindsey to see when the next onramp class started. The rest is history.

What do you remember about your first day/week/month?

When I walked through the door at Stockyard for the first time before on-ramp, I was intrigued. It didn’t look like a typical gym like you see at the YMCA, Golds etc. There was loud motivating music, lots of exhausted people that just gave it their all and people were giving high fives, fist bumps and cheering each other on. Seeing that, I knew there were some seriously committed people at this place and I wanted to be a part of it.

The on-ramp class and that chipper at the end was a quick self-check into how out of shape I was. Entire body soreness set in quickly and I knew there was a lot for me to learn in order to get better at this whole “olympic lifting” thing that I had never done before.

Following on-ramp It was fun learning all the new CrossFit lingo and abbreviations and types of workouts — It definitely took a good while to learn all of those but I enjoyed this part of the process:) Receiving simple and consistent instruction from all the great coaches helped give me that extra push at the beginning and still holds true today.

What inspired you to start Crossfit?

Physically and mentally, I was not where I knew I could be or where I once was. After playing competitive ice hockey all my life and into college, many of the training methods I saw being used in Crossfit closely resembled those that I had once done during my hockey training. Having some familiarity with many of these movements, I thought “this is the type of workout I need and will get results.” Programing provided by a coach also related to my past experiences and I knew this was exactly what I needed.

When did you realize that you wanted to make a change?

I weighed more than I ever had in my entire life and I was letting work interfere with my personal life, which in turn affected every other portion of my life. My eating habits were terrible, I drank beer regularly throughout the week and weekend and lastly, I was no longer the fast/quick skater I had always been known for on my men’s league hockey team and that just ate me up every time I hit the ice. Having the younger college guys skating laps around me and them having seemingly endless energy was plenty of motivation for me to make this change and get back to where I once was.

What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment while at SYCF?

Becoming a stronger more fit athlete all around and becoming friends with so many of the great people in the Herd. Since the start of 2019, making the goal to attend a minimum of 3 classes per week. Convincing my wonderful wife, Erin, to join me in the awesomeness that is SYCF——she loves it :)

What keeps you motivated every day to keep doing what you’re doing?

Feeling revitalized and stronger each week. Working on and studying the many dynamic movements and lifts that Crossfit workouts require. Nothing is ever the same and you constantly need to think about the best approach for the workout and how you’re doing the movements. Being a new student to the Olympic lifting category is huge for me and I really enjoy learning new ways to improve technique, become more efficient and improving my overall mobility. The constant feedback provided by the coaches is a huge motivator for me to become better and that is one of the many factors that leaves me wanting to attend as many classes as possible.

What has been or was your biggest struggle to stay motivated?

Simply ignoring any and all excuses. I try to go by the saying of,” anything worth having doesn’t come easy.” I knew that if I wanted to feel healthier, look better and be a stronger husband and father, this was not going to be something handed to me. I had to take some personal accountability and ownership and make this a priority. I knew that nothing will change if nothing changes. Simple as that.

What has brought you the most happiness in your journey?

Getting to know so many of the great people and coaches at the SYCF has brought more to this fitness journey than I ever expected. I can’t imagine ever going to a typical gym where you're surrounded by a bunch of strangers with no sense of community. The Stockyard community and my overall health improvement is where it really hits home for me. My kids love going to SY, my wife Erin loves going to SY and I of course love it as well.

How is your mindset different than from the first day you walked into SYCF?

I’m more motivated and confident to do just about everything in my life now. I take more initiative and I’m more willing to take on bigger challenges. I now view food as fuel for this lifestyle change and I have become much more conscious of what I’m eating so I can perform at a higher level. Weird how getting in shape can transform that part of your mind and body!

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment since you started your fitness journey or CrossFit?

I lost over 20lbs in by first year and I feel better and stronger now than I have in over 10years. Prioritizing “me time” into my busy work and family schedule has been a huge accomplishment over the past 2yrs and making it a point to stick to the program has made me a stronger father, husband, friend, employee etc.

Lastly, what is one short term goal and one long term goal that you have for 2019 and how do you plan to accomplish them?

In the short term I’d like to combine 30+ double-unders in one set and complete a muscle-up. This year a huge focus for me has been on my lifting technique and less focus on how many reps I do. Mindset being; with improved form and technique, heavier weights and higher reps will come. By doing this consistently, results are bound to follow.

Tell us some things about your life outside of the gym...

I have a wonderful wife, Erin and two Kiddos, Ethen (3yrs 8mo) and Jane(15months) and a Brittany Spaniel named Lily. I’ve been playing Ice Hockey my entire life and enjoy playing just about every sport. I am a VCU School of Business Alumni and as of the last year I have gotten into Obstacle Course Racing(OCR’s). Last year I did the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and BoneFrog Navy Seal OCR and this year I am completing the Spartan Race Trifecta which will include the 3 different course lengths 4mi, 8mi and half marathon distances – and I have a personal goal of being in the top 20 for my age group for each event. I manage commercial landscape for James River Grounds Management and have been doing so for nearly 9 yrs.

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