June Male Athlete Spotlight - Ralph Cardin

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When did you start CrossFitting? Who/what got you started?I started CrossFit just about 5 months after CF913 opened the doors! So 5 years now!! I was working out at a small gym doing bootcamp style class and they abruptly closed the doors. I had a patient that had been telling me about crossfit workouts and from what he was telling me I had to give it a shot. As a family, we went to three CF gyms in the area and tried a work out at each one. We then sat down and discussed which one we all liked the best and without a doubt we all agreed on CF913!! And we have been here ever since.What is your favorite/least favorite WOD?Favorite WOD’s are the Hero WOD’s without a doubt. I love the stories of the people they represent and it makes me take a pause in my life to be thankful for the men and women and their families that have sacrificed so much for me to have the privileges I have each day. I love the suffering that each of these workouts bring. I think I have done over 50 different Hero WOD’s and several I have done multiple times.What is your favorite/least favorite movement?I have learned to enjoy all movements! I have been horrible at all of them and consequently they ALL were my least favorite! However, I have become obsessed (like most of us doing CF) with becoming better at all the movements. I have no fear of any movement. Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, sports, interests, etc.)Short version (it is possible TJ!). I was a multi- sport athlete my whole life when kids were allowed to play 4 different sports a year!! I went from football to basketball to track to baseball over the summer and eventually found myself being recruited for three of those sports to play in college. I eventually ran track (for a very short period) at University of Michigan. Fast forward - I have been a chiropractor for the past 20 years and love what I do each day helping people obtain and maintain health through chiropractic, nutrition, acupuncture and brain balancing with neurofeedback. Married to Heather, who is also a chiropractor; and we have 4 awesome boys; Mitchell (23), Nicholas (21), Christian (20) and Isaac (15). Interests? Is there anything else besides Crossfit?

What was your workout routine before CrossFit?After dropping out of college I realized I was burned out from training and sports and took about 10 years to get really fat; to the tune of about 255 pounds!! I then had the great idea to train for triathlons because lots and lots of cardio helps you loose weight right?? I did that off and on for a few years and then found the bootcamp classes that I did for about 2 years prior to CF.What did you think after your first CrossFit workout?Holy crap!! That was awesome!! And I realized I was not in very good shape!What were your goals when joining CrossFit? Have you achieved any of those goals?Really to just get a great workout and to encourage my boys to find a workout that they would be able to sustain for a lifetime. My professional career has been about leading and guiding people to a better life and better health through nutrition and movement. Chiropractic philosophy is centered around healthy eating, stress reduction and proper movement. I feel that Crossfit’s philosophy aligns perfectly with the very principles of Chiropractic.

I have been able to get much better shape and I feel that my boys have found a system of working out that they will continue for their own lifetime.Has CrossFit affected your life outside the gym?Overall continued good health. I do feel that my sleep is good, energy throughout the day is good, my motivation to do more and inspire others to move better is higher. I talk more openly with patients about better movement and to take more control of their journey. I encourage them to be an advocate for their own health.Do you have any other special memories/ achievements during your time here?The great friends I have made and the great positive energy that everybody brings to the gym is so awesome. Some great memories I have is being able to workout with all my children at the gym. To see them struggle and overcome a hard workout or to learn a new skill and to be able to take that success and to translate it into their daily lives. I believe that Crossfit has given my family a stronger bond cause we all have something in common that we can struggle, work hard and succeed in and then encourage one another to be better.What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit 913?Scale often! Don’t let your ego get in the way of progress. We are all on a journey that is individual; not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. And don’t try and fix all your imbalances in the first month or even the first year. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the great athletes around you; almost all of them started exactly where you are right now and struggled with the exact same things you may be struggling with. On that note, my advice for those of us that have been around for a while - turn to the newbie’s and give them a word of encouragement. Remember, you were once in their place trying to learn all the new words, new exercises and new faces. Reach out a hand and lift them up.Something you might not know about me is?It’s more about my family than it is about me. A little over 4 years ago my wife was involved in an accident that triggered a rare neurological disease that is defined as a chronic pain dystrophy; in fact, it is the most painful disease known (even more painful than child birth, kidney stones, or fractured bones!) and 24/7 they suffer with this condition. There is no cure and the only hope is to find a way to manage the condition. Those days where I am down on myself for missing a lift or quitting when I could have done one more rep or pushed myself just little more I turn to Heather and find all the inspiration and positivity that I need that there are more important things in life. To watch her struggle with the simple of tasks of daily living like just getting a cup of water to drink or just being able to wear a sock without if causing pain inspires me to keep things a little more real and to focus on what is really important.

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