Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.
Our April Athlete of the Month is Derek Fons! Derek joined the CFA Family in June of 2021, but joined us with some experience under his belt. Immediately, it felt like he’d been part of the family for years. Derek has such a great mindset when it comes to training and he’s always a pleasure to coach. He is also providing an awesome example to his son when he brings him into class. We love seeing parents model a healthy lifestyle for the little ones! We’ve loved being part of the journey with Derek and celebrating the wins along the way! Derek, we are honored to have you as our April Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!
Words to live by?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable
What is your fitness background?
The only fitness related activity I did was riding BMX bikes in my teens and some mountain biking. Never got into sports or had any workout routine that stuck before CrossFit.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I don’t remember the first day exactly. I remember doing the on-ramp class for a few weeks and being very overwhelmed by all the movements and terminology. CrossFit wasn’t love at first sight for me though, but once I was in the actual group classes I really quickly became addicted. I remember being so obsessed with making it to my favorite class time that I would always cut out of work early and race to the gym; not much is different today. I do feel I have a better sense of my capabilities going into a workout and am less afraid to modify to make it a good and safe workout for myself.
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
Community. The gym is my only opportunity to socialize and I have met so many nice people. I especially love how warm others are with my son. It’s also really nice that we have so frequent opportunities to meet up, like the birthday socials.
Current Training Goals/PRs?
To focus on making what I do in the gym be my mental and physical therapy so I can be happier and feel better in everything else I do.
What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Enjoy the journey, you aren’t going to be awesome at everything and that’s kind of the point.
How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy?
My big life hack has been bringing my son Banner to the gym everyday after I pick him up from school. It’s a good way to give the wife some time away from the dudes, plus Banner gets exposure to fitness and to some really awesome people. Most of the time he is on his iPad, but it’s still our routine and most of the time he seems to like it.
What is your cheat meal go-to?
Chicken and dumplings from Cracker Barrel.
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
Attempting to wrangle my son and lifting more groceries than I should.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
When I started, as most people experience, it’s PR city. For the first few years it was just gains after gains, but age and life have other plans and thats actually a good thing. For me it’s been discouraging at times to have to be ok that I am not where I once was and may not ever get back there. I believe CrossFit is good for everyone and is something I will do for my life, constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity, but the realization that it’s not just a continuous ladder of wins was tricky and something I still have to remind myself of.
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I always find workouts more magical when I can make it more about just my performance and connect with others in the middle of suffering. That’s why partner workouts are my favorite. In recent memory I recall a couple of non-partner workouts where I was able to sync up with a friend in a workout and help keep us both on a pace. It’s a great feeling at the end of workout to know that I might have helped someone with their fitness.
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
I am a big fan of the simplicity and effectiveness of the burpee, so that would be a must. I especially like short sets so you can really sprint on them. I also really appreciate body weight workouts, maybe that’s some weird stockholm syndrome from the lock down days. Like I mentioned earlier, I also really like partner workouts, so this I what I would come up with off the cuff…
30 Minute Partner EMOM
One person works at a time, partner A works for the first 30 seconds and then partner B does the second 30 seconds of the minute
Minute 1, Burpees
Minute 2, Air Squats
Minute 3, Sit ups
Repeat for 30 minutes
What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
Just reminding myself that after I do workout I am always happier.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I am a software developer for a living, but I do that even for fun. Big fan of music, like punk, hardcore and hip-hop. I use YouTube and Podcast to further my knowledge on topics like fitness, cooking, home repair, wood working and technology. I like to read comic books. My favorite date with my wife is going to the Alamo Drafthouse.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I like butt stuff…yeah, anything that really targets the glutes I am a fan of, like squats. Oh and I am straight edge and haven’t had alcohol for 20 years.
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Thanks for being awesome and looking forward to the next time we sweat together!