January Spotlight Athlete- Raul Cruz

Congratulations to RAUL CRUZ for being our January Spotlight Athlete!

Read all about him! :)

CFA Athlete Member Spotlight

How did you first get involved with Crossfit? Take us back to your first WOD – how did that feel? What did you think?

I had a few friends that had started Crossfit before I had in MD and back home in Miami and that’s all they could seem to talk about. After hearing about how great Crossfit is for months, I decided to check it out myself. My intro session was with Shannon. At that point, I was going to the gym and practicing judo, which I’ve been doing for about 15 years. I thought I was in pretty decent shape. I can’t remember what that intro WOD was but, the things I do remember about my intro session are Shannon continuing to say “let’s do one more set” after the initial two I was supposed to do, shortness of breath and thinking there wasn’t enough oxygen in Annapolis to keep me from keeling over, and leg cramps. It was at the point that I realized that I really wasn’t working as hard as I should be and that I had a long way to go to achieve my goals. I was hooked. Thank you Shannon! After PT, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Fran for my first WOD, and we all know how that story ends.

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting at CFA?

I feel like I’m the best shape of my life right now, more so than when I was competing in my teens and early 20’s. While I’m still not where I want to be, I’ve seen so much growth during my time at CFA that it continues to motivate me to do better. The most significant change has been my nutrition. After completing the Whole Life Challenge, I have become more cognizant of how food impacts every facet of life, from performance during WODs, to mood and sleep. It was definitely an eye opener and since WLC, I have mostly maintained a paleo diet, with some fun here and there, but all in balance.

What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

Doing my first rope climb and first handstand, two things I have never been able to do before Crossfit. Looking back it was never a matter of strength or ability, but a matter of overcoming that mental block that prevented me from doing them. Also, I recently did my first 30 inch box jump. Standing at a towering 5’5” that’s a little less than half of me! Can’t wait to add a plate or two on top of that!

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?

What I enjoy most about CFA is getting to work out and share time with an amazing group of people. It is awesome to be part of a community where both coaches and athletes support, motivate, and inspire each other to be better.

What goals are you working on?

About 6 years ago I stopped competing and thought those days were behind me. After going and watching the 2012 Hopper, I started to feel that competitive itch come back. While I still have a long way to go, my goal for 2013 is to be at a level where I can start competing at Crossfit events. In terms of technique, my Olympic lifts need some serious attention and I am determined to get that muscle up. I will also be working on not performing mini jump squats while doing wall balls, or as Coach Lu has officially dubbed this technique, “wall balls for the vertically challenged.”

What the coaches are saying:

“Raul has been hard working and determined since the moment he walked in the door. He always has a smile on his face no matter how challenging the workout. Raul also takes any opportunity to take part is all CFA events both in and out of the Box. He is a perfect example of CFA spirit.”  (Shannon)

“Raul is an absolutely fantastic person and wonderful athlete. He is positive, fun and such a hard worker. CFA is blessed to have him. It's hard not to light up when you are around him. He sets realitic goals and is diligent at working hard to achieve them. CFA wouldn't be the same without him. Keep up the great work, Raul!” (EK)

“Raul is committed to achieving his goals and challenges himself on a daily basis – whether it is by going faster, adding more weight on his lifts, or by tackling a more difficult movement. In addition to consistently pushing himself, he also encourages and pushes anyone around him to help them reach their potential. He has been a welcomed addition to the CFA community.” (Bryant)

“As the WODs get tougher, he's usually smiling bigger and/or laughing harder. HAHA”  (Josh)


  1. Awesome work, Raul! I didn’t know you were a Judo master…that makes you even cooler!

  2. Way to go, Raul! Keep up the great work :)

  3. Woo Hoo! Muy bueno! Congrats!

  4. Raul = Beast!! Congrats dude – well deserved

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