CrossFit Strong  -- Athlete of The Month
  Strong Heart, Strong Mind, Strong Body
Big Mike has been such a big part of CFS since he started! He has a GREAT attitude - no matter the WOD, he is ALWAYS smiling, and ALWAYS encouraging others. He has really embraced who we are here at Strong. Thank you Big Mike for never slowing down and giving your all and representing Strong!
 Mike Townsend -Q&A  
How long have you been Crossfitting? — 1 year and 1 month
What is your occupation? — Vice President, DX Electric Company
Where are you from? — Born in Dallas and raised in Mesquite. I have lived my whole life in Dallas County.
How did you hear about Crossfit Strong? -- ? An employee at work talked about working out at some garage gym and all of the crazy things they did, and a Soccer Dad knew that I liked to work out and he went to a Crossfit box in Allen, TX. Getting stories from both of them about the workouts really intrigued me and made me check this Crossfit thing out. I went by and visited a few boxes, no workout just listened to their game plan, some impressive and some not, but the first time I walked into Strong it was different. I felt like this was home immediately, it was at noon and a WOD was going on and I was so impressed by the effort everyone was pouring out. I wanted to start right then; I wanted to be part of that FAMILY! Also, It did not hurt that on the way out I saw all these boxes and bottles of liquor stacked up against the wall. Ashley said that they had a party out at Jimmy Buffet that previous weekend and this was left over. I was SOLD! My Gawd you get to workout hard then party hard, count me in!
JULY Featured Athlete
See His Profile
 Mike's Transformation  
How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of CFS? -- Absolutely, I thought I was in ok shape until I did my first WOD, man was that an eye opener. I immediately had to challenge myself to get better, I wanted to do the whole WOD and I wanted to do the prescribed weight. I hated not finishing the whole WOD. It took time and effort, but with determination and the support of great coaching and my box mates I have progressed along the way. I made myself a Mantra that I use when I am WOD challenged, ER-ER-EW -- Every Rep, Every Round, Every Wod, which I use often. Since coming to STRONG, I feel so much better both physically and mentally. Being healthy is living life the way it is supposed to be.
What is your favorite move? — Kettlebells abd Overhead Press
What is your least favorite move? — Thrusters and Man-Makers
What has been your favorite WOD so far? — Any HERO WOD, they are butt kickers but doing them is honoring someone who has sacrificed so much more than me. The pain we go through is nothing compared to what they endured. I am proud that Crossfit recognizes the sacrifices of these great Americans with these WODS.
What has been your least favorite WOD ? — Anything with lots of Burpees. It’s like being punished; we always had to do these if we jumped offsides or missed an assignment on the football field. Sometimes when I am doing these at the box I think; Did I miss the snap count? There has also been a few WODS where I thought; Someone had to be mean to GIA, where in the heck else could Gale come up with this WOD?
What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? — I need to master double unders and do pull-ups without a band (gotta get rid of the UHaul I carry around first). I can do a few of each but not enough to get me through a WOD. Overhead squat is another mountain to climb as well, my mind says yes, but my body doesn’t want to do the Gumby thing so I don’t fall over on my face. I also need to eat better.
How do you see CrossFit as different from other programs? — ? It is being a part of something bigger than yourself. Even though you are personally lifting the weight, running, jumping and so on, there is a spirit of teamwork that is permeating in the box. It is like everyone is pulling together until that last person is finished. The daily challenges that Crossfit gives us does not allow for us to get complacent, there is always something that we can work to get better at. Everyone shares in the same pain and struggle to complete the same WOD, it makes you feel part of a team, and that is special. Gale, Ashley and the whole Strong coaching team do an outstanding job creating this FAMILY environment and if you don’t know it, that is the “magic in the box”. They care! And it shows all the time because in the year I have been here I have seen so many changes to try and make the box so much better, from different specialty programs they offer to more equipment such as weights, pads, wooden boxes that don’t rip your legs open to my new best friend: That Very Big ASS Fan! Many other places would just stay pat, but not STRONG, always moving forward.
Did you think a sport of elite fitness would ever be for you? — Not at this stage in my life. I played sports all my life and loved the competition. When I was young, yes a few decades ago, I boxed for a few years and this is the closest thing I can compare Crossfit to. To compete well you had to leave everything out in the ring, you could not hold back or you would get your head handed to you, literally, in a hurry. Crossfit is like that, just when you think you can’t go any farther someone is yelling at you to push one more time and you got to dig deeper than you ever have to survive until the next round. It reminds me of an old boxing coach I had that was like Mickey in Rocky, he was always telling me; “If you ain’t bleedin’ or pukin’ then you ain’t working hard enough”.
How can other people relate to your story? — Just a few years ago I was sitting my lazy rear end on the couch and one of my best friends called and said she was working out with a trainer and I should come join her. After doing this for a while and having great success, I had lost weight and inches in my pant size, muscled up and felt the best that I had in years. I was looking at turning the half century mark and I said “to hell with that” I am not going to be an old man, I will attack it and live like the saying “How old would you be if you did not know how old you were”. Life was good and I felt like a kid again. Then scheduling made me stop working with the trainer and I tried to keep it up on my own by going to the cookie cutter gyms but over time it started slipping away. Thank God I found Strong, the training and the friendships are equal to none. Now back to being a kid again.
What is something that others may not know about you? -- I will probably catch hell over this, but when I was a kid I was a pretty good roller skater, I competed in races as well as I could do spins and jumps. Also, back in the day, the 70’s, yes that decade, I went disco dancing almost every Friday and Saturday night. Yes, I did have platform shoes. This is what is probably screwing up my overhead squat.

What is the dumbest thing you have heard at CFS? -- ? I will tell on myself on this one. I had not been at the box very long when we had a WOD that used kettlebells and Gale told me to use a one POOD bell. I went over to the kettlebells and was there for quite a while, finally someone ask why I was holding up the WOD and I said that I couldn’t find one that said POOD on it, just KG’s and LBS.
What is the funniest thing you have seen done at CFS?--Lots of smiles and laughs along the way, but it has to be the costumes that are worn from time to time. You have to be pretty confident to wear some of those. Great stuff!

What is your most memorable moment here-- I actually have two. I have played in a Men’s Baseball League for 21 years now and we had a game not too long ago that pitted my undefeated team, 45 and older against the first place undefeated team in the 35 and older division who was throwing a pitcher who played in the minor leagues. We were in the last inning with a one run lead, two outs and they had a man on third base. I was playing First Base and the batter hit a ball off the end of his bat that came my way down the first base line, it hit inbounds but then careened into foul territory. I had been cheating to the right because he was a pull hitter, so I had to move to my left very quickly to try and make a play. I kept going out of bounds to get to the ball, which I finally did. When I turned around no one was covering first base so I just ran to the bag and barely beat the runner, which ended the game with a win for us. Everyone on my team went nuts and even the other team was telling me that was a great play. Standing in a large group after the game having a cold one, someone asked “How did you do that?” I just looked at all of them and truthfully said “Crossfit Strong Baby!”

The other one was at the Jimmy Buffet concert this year, I showed up late and had the idea that I needed to catch up with everybody else. Somewhere along the way I had too much fun and over-served myself and had no business driving home. Without asking, that’s when the true spirit of friendship at Strong showed up, not only did they take my keys but they piled me into Kyle’s truck and drove me half way to Oklahoma to find me a motel room for the night. On the trip there I was pretty much gone but I remember waking up because they were singing loud. I looked around and saw I was surrounded by 3 beautiful women and one big bouncerman/chauffer and I thought to myself “Damn, Big Mike is doing alright!” I woke up the next morning to the sound of Gospel Music from a Church who rented meeting rooms across the hall from my room to have their Sunday Service; I thought the Rapture did come. It was a fitting tribute to the Guardian Angels from Strong that took care of me in my time of need.

A personal shout out to Gale and Ashley and Gia too! Thanks for having a dream, so the rest of us can live our dream too. You change our lives for the better.