RJ DaPrato- May’s Spotlight Athlete!
A big CONGRATS to RJ DaPrato for being the May Spotlight Athlete of the Month. We are so proud of you!
How did you first get involved with Crossfit? Take us back to your first WOD- how did that feel? What did you think?
Complete coercion. My wife, Meredith, had been a member at CFA for about two months and in her own words had “drank the Cool-Aid”. She called me one day and asked if I wanted to do Foundations on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/ Thursday because she had already signed me up and there was nothing I could do about it. I begrudgingly said Monday/Wednesday and have thanked her every day since that first class. It took one session of Foundations before I too was hooked. I had tried CrossFit once in college, never really gave it a fair shake, and didn’t think it was going to be a good fit for me.
My first WOD outside of Foundations was a Friday Fran. I remember thinking that I was in over my head when I looked at it. 95 pound thrusters were going to have to be scaled down and I didn’t think I’d be able to do all the pull-ups even with the thick green band. Erin was very patient and quickly found a good starting weight for me (I think it was 65 pounds!). It was exhausting, but I made it through. It was probably the first day I got that feeling of accomplishment after completing a WOD I didn’t think I had any business attempting. I was truly impressed with the people in the class, though, because even though they all smoked me (most as RX’d), they were all genuinely pleased to meet me as a new member and congratulate me on finishing my first WOD. It was a great feeling of camaraderie and belonging I never had before at a gym.
What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting at CFA?
I’ve gained a lot of strength I didn’t have before. These days I feel I have a ton more energy throughout the day. I’ve dropped weight from 228 to 217. I used to struggle with shoulder pain whenever I did any heavy weight or high repetition work; however, for the past five months, I’ve been completely pain free. I attribute this to the flexibility and strength I’ve gained from CrossFit.
What is your favorite CrossFit moment?
Any day I walk out of CFA completely exhausted and I feel like I’ve given the WOD my all, it’s a great moment. The open was a great experience. I loved the competitive and team feelings shared by the CFA athletes. Personally, the day I successfully clean and jerked 205 pounds and the day I finally got a real pistol were awesome. If you had asked me a few months ago if I’d ever be able to do either of those things, I’d have to say probably not. The feeling of setting a goal in CrossFit, working towards it and achieving it is tremendous.
What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?
By far, the environment. Every day you walk into CFA, you get the feeling of support and competition. Everyone is challenging each other to give it their all and the coaches are always watching and improving your form, technique and efficiency. No matter how big the class is, I’ve always felt like I’m getting personal training. Not to mention my personal support system (Meredith!), keeps me very honest by constantly reminding me that she can go pound for pound with me on the deadlift!!
What goals are you working on?
I’m trying to get my timing better for double unders, linking my butterfly pull-ups more efficiently, and the allusive muscle up. I’d trying to add weight to all my
lifts. More than anything, I’ve been trying to keep myself to the RX weights and movements for the WODs.
What the coaches are saying:
It has been pretty amazing to watch RJ transform since he has been at CFA. He is a true example of you get what you put in. His strength has really developed and he constantly strives to improve on the technicality of each lift. It was awesome to watch him throughout the open- especially on the first snatch workout. Keep it up, RJ! We love you here at CFA! – Coach Erin
RJ has made some awesome gains. Notable for me, was when he was ripping through his clean and jerks doing his open WOD. Even when he tired, he kept his form intact and pushed through. Just a small example of what he does daily in the box. -Coach Josh
For the past year, RJ has showed up and approached each workout at 100% without complaint. He diligently listens to feedback, takes it and applies it to his workout; and, it shows in the improvements that he’s made in all of his movements. Keep on doing what you’re doing and you’ll be destroying your former PR’s left and right. -Coach Bryant
RJ is always pushing himself every time I see him in the gym. He’s constantly working on his form and getting stronger. The intensity and drive that he puts into every workout SWOtivates me! -Coach Lu
CONGRATS RJ! Thank you for working so hard and making CFA such a wonderful place!