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May 5, 2023
December Male Athlete Spotlight - Paul George
When did you start CrossFitting? Who/what got you started?Well what do you know. You are asking ME questions? How funny is this? Here we go.I joined Crossfit913 in March of 2017. Or better yet, thought I'd give it a try. So one day while I was fiddle farting around on Facebook I saw an ad for a 6 week challenge at a local gym(box) called Crossfit913 and as luck would have it, I was just saying to myself, since January, how I wanted to do something, join a gym, something, to get back into some kind of shape because I really didn't like what I was seeing in the mirror everyday and I sure as hell wasn't getting any younger. So I responded to it. I've only heard of the Crossfit thing and I wanted to see what it was about. I got a quick response from Nick and I set up a time to come to the gym for more information. Honestly, I was really nervous about going at all. But I went anyway. As I walked through the doors, right away, Nick was there to greet me. He was very enthusiastic and glad that I had not only responded to the ad but that I had showed up to check things out. He asked me about what I had been doing before i thought about giving 913 a shot. Do I work out? Have I worked out before? Did I play any sports? Then he began to tell me what the challenge was about, what was going to happen and about a diet plan. A diet plan??? Oh boy. Anyway, he started showing me around and since it was a Saturday, there was quite a bit of activity going on in the main gym. He made it clear that it wasn't going be easy, that it was going to be like nothing I have experienced before in traditional type gyms and that hopefully, I would enjoy it. So, still nervous and even a bit apprehensive, I liked what I heard and saw. So I whipped out my credit card , plunked down my money and here I am, a proud member of the 913 family. What is your favorite/least favorite WOD?Favorite or least favorite? Ya know, since I started, there have been WOD's that I really liked and then there were the ones that were so damn nasty that I wished I was dead. So to be honest, good, bad, or deadly, I would have to say that they are all kind of my favorites really. I may not like what it says on the whiteboard but I do it. Why? Well I'll tell you why. It's because it's a new challenge to overcome. Kind of why I come to the gym right? I don't always defeat the WOD mind you, but I do it to the best of my abilities and thats good enough for me. The movements, the weight, whatever, I do it the best I can. And when its done, I can say that not only have I bettered myself but I faced the challenge dead in its face and did it no matter how terrible it was. However, there is one particular WOD that has stuck with me. But like all of them, this one just struck a chord for me . Are you ready for this? Might wanna sit down. Ready? MURPH. Yep, I said it. That has been my favorite. And yeah, I know what you're saying, it has running in it. I know it does but that doesn't mean I need to be afraid of it. That WOD was and is special. It's a group effort. Not only for us 913ers, but its done in gyms all over the country on or around the same day every year. And to me, that's pretty cool. But let me tell you how MY Murph was better than yours. You all did rounds of 5,10,15 reps right. Well I, with my brain now turned to mush after running the first mile, I did a rep count of 5,10,20. So while you did a mere 300 airsquats, I did 400! Ha! Yeah, I'm some kind of genius aren't I. But as far as my least favorites, I would have to say that any WOD with 100, 150 reps of varied movements. Like, oh I don't know, Frickin' Murderball 150+ times. Yeah, those are my least favorites. What is your favorite/least favorite movement?Where should I begin? Let's start with the obvious shall we. And mind you, these aren't in any particular order. Least favorite "movements" to date are, drumroll please, that GD Murderbike. Is that a movement? To me it is! That frickin' thing kicks my ass even when I'm just walking by it. I can feel it staring and laughing at me! Another one, GD Murderball or wallball as you so lovingly refer to it. But honestly, I do kinda like it. However, I haven't gotten too heavy, 14#, and since I'm vertically challenged, I have a hard time tossing that GD torture device into or above the red line. Next, Thrusters. Or better yet, Satan's Squats. Ha! I just made that up! The name just came to me. Weird! Anyway, I am not a fan those at all. Never knew what they were and now that I do, I wish I never did. And last but not least, as I'm sure alot of people already know, running. Again, is that a movement? Regardless, it's a least favorite for me. Because I'm not a good runner by any means. Even if the police were chasing me? Yeah, I'm not frickin' running! I would rather sit through a double root canal than run ANY distance. But, in all fairness, I have actually been pushing myself in that aspect alot more since joining the gym. But not too much, wink wink. Those are my least favorite hands down. My favorite? I really like the Split Jerk. Handstands. Butterfly pullups. Most of the gymnasty stuff. But no matter what movement is in the different WOD's, I do them all. I may piss and moan about it, call BS on the men/women standards, right Kim, but I do it because thats why I'm here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, sports, interests, etc.)Born in Cedar Rapids and raised in Clinton, Iowa. And what do you do when you're from Iowa? You wrestle. I wrestled from the age of 4 to my freshman year in HS. In fact, I learned from 2 of the most badass wrestlers that ever came out of Iowa, Steve and Danny Knight. Look them up and see for yourself. Google that sh**! I am a single father to a 9yr old, 36lb Frenchie. His name is Cledus McGee and that little guy makes me smile and laugh every single moment of every single day. I met him when he was 3 weeks old. And since he was the smallest of his brothers and sisters, I knew we met for a reason. I honestly don't know what my life would be without him. I love that little boy of mine. And if you haven't met him, you are missing out on one very special frog dog. I'm the middle child of the family, the Blacksheep if you will, I have an older brother and a younger sister. 2 nephews and 1 niece. And lastly, my Mom. She's an awesome lady. Seen alot in her life. Good and bad but has always powered through. She is awesome. She likes Jim Beam and Corona too. Great cook, great friend. I love her alot. You should meet her if you haven't already. Since starting at 913, my main job has been truck driving. I've been driving for about 8 years now and I currently work for a local auto parts company, but as of late, I have been over the road alot more so that's why I havent been around as much. My frickin schedule is always different from week to week and it sucks that my gym time has suffered but hey, you gotta pay them bills. I've been to 47 of the 50 states and I gotta tell you, this country has some really amazing and beautiful places. And hopefully one day, I can visit them all before I'm done. Before driving, I spent 10 years in the Harley-Davidson business. From washing bikes to Asst. GM and everyhting in between, I really loved it. And during my time at Gail's HD, I spent alot of time at KCIR drag strip. Gone but not forgotten. Yeah, I was fast, I promise. That job took me to alot of cool towns. Lafayette, IN is were I started, but I've worked in San Diego, CA, Carson City, NV, Eugene, OR, Columbia, MO. and of course, right here in KC.You probably already know, but my sports team, the best damn team ever, THE Green Bay Packers. 13x NFL Champions. GO PACK GO! And even though they haven't been playing very well the last 2 seasons, they're still better than your local team. That's right!I said that. LOL! I've made a pilgrimage to the Holiest of Holy lands, Lambeau Field, 5 times. And my current record, when seeing The Pack play in person, 9-2. In 2015 I witnessed GreenBay defeat your local team in Lambeau. Some pay back for when you beat us here in KC when we had a 13-0 record. Am I poking the bear yet or what? LOL ! OMG, its just some good clean fun guys, jeez, R-E-L-A-X. See what I did there? HA! I've gone on 3 cruises in the last 5 years and can't wait to go on more. So much fun! Have you ever gotten drunk with people from Germany, England, Ireland and Australia all at the same time, in the same place? No? Try it. You'll thank me later. And now, thanks to 913, a new interest of mine, NoBull shoes. 5 pairs and counting. That's not weird is it? What was your workout routine before CrossFit?HA! Thats a good one. I guess my "workout" routine before 913 was very sporadic. I was always active from a young agebut as I have gotten older, I've tried, from time to time, to do some kind of working out. I've tried gyms here and there over the yearsbut they just never stuck. Going to a typical gym, for me, was just going through the motions, by myself, and eventually lost interest and money. But again, when I was younger, I always did the physical type jobs, roofing, construction, just to try and keep in whatever shape I was. Even now, I much prefer a more physically demanding job just so I could get some exercise. I know, I know, Truck Driving is not a physical job. Guess thats why I have a 16# Murderball and a jumprope with me all the time. I sure wish Crossfit was around during my younger years thats for sure. What did you think after your first CrossFit workout?My first CrossFit workout as I already mentioned, was when I started the 6 week challenge. So, I guess I had an idea but it wasn't even close to what it really was. It was hard. It was embarassing. It was humbling. But it was fun for an out of shape middle aged truck driver and I was ready for the challenge it presented. I did the best I could though. I had poor mobility and even worse strength, in my opinion, but I had a very positive attitude. I got done with the workout and was excited about it. I was looking forward to the next day, and the next day and all the days that followed. I couldn't walk straight or even proper for the entire 6 weeks but I didn't mind. I was going to get stronger and better. No pain no gainz. Everyone in the challenge was different. Not only physically but also by age and background and it didn't matter because we were all there for the same thing, same goal and that was pretty cool. Even though I felt like dying after some of the workouts and I am forever SOREAF, I really liked it. I liked everything about it and couldn't wait to complete the 6 weeks so I could join the main gym. Not only did I finish the 6 weeks, with great results, but I joined the 913 for good. Guess my "completion certificate" must have got lost in the mail or something right Benny. Ha!
What were your goals when joining CrossFit? Have you achieved any of those goals?You know, I didn't really have any real goals in mind when I began. All I knew is that I wanted to get in better shape than I currently was and I knew that I wanted to have a place where I didn't feel out of place or awkward or judged due to my level of fitness, or lack of it. Just going every morning, 4-5 times a week was my real goal. I wanted to stick with it and get stronger and happy at the same time. So yes, I have definately achieved that. But thinking about it, now that you're asking, my goals are pretty simple for right now. I want to do everything with proper form, full depth, etc. I want to be able to lift my body weight doing Front/Back Squat, benchpress, Cleans, S2OH, basically all the weightlifting stuff. Some of those I have already achieved. It's a work in progress. TJ was right when he told me, "I'm gonna make you stronger." He wasn't lying. I have done things, T2B, Skin the Cat, Butterfly pullups, Split Jerk, etc since coming to 913. I never thought that I could do any of those things, ever. But I can now and that's all due to 913. To this day, the coaches and every member of the 913 family keep pushing me to do the best that I can.But TJ still won't let me do T2B on the rings.Has CrossFit affected your life outside the gym?Before coming to 913, my diet wasn't a diet at all. It was sporadic, nonexsistant and straight up pathetic. Never gave it much thought. Now I pay attention to what I put in my body. When I'm working and I stop driving for the day, I always try to get in some kind of work out/exercise and I never did that. I like what I see in the mirror more and more. I see the results and it keeps me motivated. For the longest time, when I had the opportunity, I would schedule my start time at work to allow me to get to the gym in the morning. Hell, when I was in Florida for 3 weeks in January, I searched out Crossfit gyms to drop in on for crying out loud.Since March 2017, 913 had become a priority for me and I was going to do whatever I could to make it the start or at least a part of my day. I never thought that I would start using words like WOD, AMRAP, EMOM or Tabata but I do now. Overall, I just feel better. Stronger. Faster. Oops, thats the 6million Dollar Man. You younger kids wouldn't understand. Would they Jim, Mitch, Terry? Ha! But seriously, yes. Yes it has affected me in a very positive way and I look forward to the future gainz. Do you have any other special memories/ achievements during your time here?One memory jumps out immediately. Its the question that made me the most popular kid in school. Anyone remember what it was? Anthony, I'm sure you do. Oh hell, who am I kidding, EVERYBODY remembers. It was something about L/R, hmmmmm. Yeah, that was fun week at the 913.Ever since I started coming to 913, I have been in awe of all the athletes. So many strong men and women. We have a great group of people here.I remember telling TJ that if I had a body like Anthony, I'd never wear a shirt. I always gave TJ a hard time for NOT taking off his shirt. After certain WOD's I would tell TJ that my arms felt as big as his forearms, LOL! Watching Stephanie Strong run and lift and do the WOD's at 110%, she was never slow. First time I met Rachael Zdeb I had no clue she was already a badass athlete until she started busting out muscle ups on the rings. Yeah, I was staring. Dang! And her hair flip?? Double dang! First time I got aquainted with Francisco, again, I had no idea by looking at him, that he was a monster in the gym. Always gave him a hard time about leaving some weights so everybody could use some too. And Lacey, with your "Monica Gellar" strength. But squats are your "jam" right? My first comp, which was definately an achievement as well as a great memory, was with Big Jim King. We complimented eachother pretty well. He did ALL the strength work and I did the gymnasty stuff. I even set a PR that day. And don't let him catch you using his bar. I competed in the Open for the first time as well. That was fun. But I was really hard on myself a couple of times because I felt like I didn't push myself hard enough. I've always just seen Bender doing the weather on TV then there he was, in my gym! And what?!?!? that guy is jacked! Mitch Gold, an old friend from HS, jacked as well. Great to reconnect with him after all these years. Anthony always calling me by my full name and no repping me from across the gym. TJ giving me shit for always asking questions. Walking in the door and being greeted by Benny's smile and enthusiasm. Laughing with Kim as I call BS on the whole "20cals for women/100cals for men thing. My biggest achievemnet though, is that I found 913. I really love this place. But I could go on and on about it all because I have so many memories and funny moments and experiences. I've met some really great people in my time here. Some I've even got to know outside of the gym. When I first started, I had no idea that a gym could be like this. Its been a priviledge to a part of it. We're all different but we are the same because of 913. And to think all I wanted to do was get in shape. Thank you for putting the ad on FB. Thank you for welcoming me into your always growing family. Thank you for laughing with me. Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for cheering me on when I wanted to quit. Thank you for being Crossfit913.
What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit 913?913 is awesome. Try it once and you'll see. You came here for a reason didn't you? Take it from a middle aged truck driver, if I can do it, you can do it. It's so much better than a traditional gym. The coaches, the members, they are all there to help you, push you and to cheer you on. They are all there to celebrate your success and acheivements with you. Crossfit913, for me, has made working out/exercising fun. Yes it's hard. It's intense. It challenges you. But if it weren't any of those things then everybody would be doing it. Something you might not know about me is?I'm adopted. My Mom and Dad adopted 3 kids, 2 years apart, before they had one of their own. When I was 18 I was hit by a car and spent almost 8 weeks in the hospital. Broken hip, dislocated left leg. Broken left femur in 2 places. Broken pelvis in 2 places. Broken right ankle. Bruised liver and kidneys. 3 surgeries. I was married for 7 years. Divorced for almost 19. The usual boring type stuff. But hey, if you really want to know stuff about me, just ask. Or take me out to dinner and we can about shit all night.