Name: Richie Valdes
Hometown: Lawrenceville, GA
Occupation: Assistant Athletic Director/Athletic Trainer
When did you first start CrossFitting?: June 2018
When did you first start training at CrossFit Katy?: June 2018
What class do you generally attend (morning/afternoon)? 5:00 am #earlyrisers
Favorite WOD: rowing, cardio, deadlifts, and anything with a Partner!
Least Favorite WOD: burpees in any format, pullups, box jumps
Tell us about you sports & fitness background:
I went to a small Christian school so I was fortunate to play basketball, baseball, and soccer at that level. But I’ve always been a bigger kid and when I went to the University of Georgia, I really focused more on school and my social life than my fitness. I lived a sedentary lifestyle and had a horrible diet throughout my 20s and found myself at 350 on my 29th birthday. I was fortunate enough to a weight loss competition to help motivate me to make some changes and was able to drop 110 before my 30th birthday. Fast-forward marriage and 3 kids later and I had put about 40 back on with my wife’s baking, goldfish crackers, and a few too many IPAs at once
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?
Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel?My wife just so happened to stumble upon CFK and the free trial class and signed me up to try it to see if it would be something she would be able to do (which I just found out last week was a scheme in that she never intended to go and only wanted me to get back in shape!!!). First WOD was heavy push press which I hadn’t done in ages and conditioning of 10,9,8,…1 sumo deadlight high pull, push press, and box jumps (see above). How did it feel? It was terrible. But the pep talk my wife gave me was “don’t try to impress anyone and don’t get hurt!”So it was definitely a humbling moment as I have been a consistent runner and maintained a pretty good cardio capacity even during my body weight fluctuations.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)?
I really enjoyed getting into the community of CFK and working out with the same individuals on a regular basis and getting to know folks. But I used CrossFit more as a stress reliever and an excuse to be able to have a beer or two or an extra slice of pizza.I was noticing an improvement with how I was able to move the weights and get through the workouts and increase my numbers throughout the fall and winter. But it wasn’t until the New Year’s Nutrition Challenge that really got me motivated to go all-in in diet and exercise. I’ve always used cash prizes or a new pair of shoes or new running watch to get me motivated to get back out and attack some goals and changes. And when I got the email about the Challenge and the DEXA scans, I knew this would be a good opportunity to buy in again. I knew the opportunity to win some money, but even more so, seeing the actual DEXA data, would snap me out of my current state of affairs. With the help of the coaches at CFK, the support of my wife, and the power and grace of God, I was able to lose 7.6% body fat in the 8 week challenge and dropped 25+ lbs. I was fortunate to be able to win the men’s division of the Nutrition Challenge and grab a couple new pairs of jeans and Jordans!Plus I’ve been able to keep it going and really enjoy the increased energy and stamina I have and the changes to my physique as I set new goals to continue trimming up and getting stronger.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected?
The science backs it up but it makes no sense the amount of energy you have the rest of the day after waking up at 4:30 and burning 600ish cals. I feel better and have better afternoons than I do on the days I sleep in.I also have really enjoyed the community of CFK and the friends I’ve made.And finally, I’ve really enjoyed the mental changes I’ve noticed since being able to push myself farther than I thought I could or doing things I never thought I could do.
Name one goal you have reached since joining CFK and one goal you want to achieve (example: deadlift/squat/press___pounds; do a pullup; do a WOD RX’d, etc.):
I am still working on getting my double unders proficient enough to do unbroken in a WOD but I finally started getting them last month. I did a wall walk recentlyfor the first time so I’ve finally gone upside down and not broken my neck.I’ve done one WOD RX’d (just gotta pick the right ones!)
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFK moments:
My favorite thing about CFK was really starting to get comfortable in the 5 am group and getting to know the people in the #earlyrisers group. It was awesome at the start of my time to see that the coaches really knew what they were talking about and cared about proper form first then reps/weight.But it’s been really cool how the more experienced/seasoned CFK athletes have taken time to stop and give pointers and tips and tricks to help cut down on flaws and bad movement patterns.Lastly, last fall, I got shingles and had to sit out of workouts for several weeks and had several of the coaches email me to see how I was and check-in. It really showed that this was more than a gym or health club and really a legitimate community.
Any advice for people just getting started?
To echo the wisdom of my wife, “Don’t get hurt and don’t try to impress anyone!” Seriously though the beauty of CF for those of us not in shot of the Games is to really compete with yourself each WOD and to push yourself. So there’s no reason to be intimidated to try something new and push yourself. But there’s also no judgment to do a weight far below the Rx or see someone twice your age or much smaller lifting much more weight than you. You only know your story and that’s all you can control.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Any chance I get to hang out with my beautiful wife Sarah Beth and the three little humans that have me completely wrapped around their fingers: Caroline (6), Norah (3), and Maggie (2).
I love reading (theology, history, presidential bios, anything about NASA and space, and any and all Fancy Nancy books)and running.Being involved with the Men’s Ministry and community at our church, Christ Community Church. I love sports and college football in particular.