Athlete Profile: Tom Leonard

Where to start? Tom is probably one of the most friendly guys you’ll meet. Always smiling, challenging himself workout after workout…and willing to try anything. He’s progressed by leaps and bounds during his time at DCF, and is always eager to learn more and make himself a better athlete. Way to go, Tom! 🙂

What’s your athletic/fitness background?
I played tee ball and some CYO basketball when I was younger. And I’ve always enjoyed biking around. But I was never very active. After undergrad, though I got a job at the FDIC and there was a gym in the building. They subsidized the membership (including 2 personal training sessions a week) such that I only paid $8 a month. I started out with yoga and personal training, losing weight and gaining balance/coordination. When I left the FDIC, I joined a globo gym and continued working out on my own. I took some yoga and spin classes and began to run a bit. In March 2014, I joined DCF and haven’t looked back. It was a great 29th birthday present to myself. Since joining, I ran a 10k for the first time and then a 10-miler (the longest distance I have ever run). More recently, I’ve hit several PRs, including a 205# clean and jerk at the Flex on the Mall and a 212.5# clean just a week later.

What was your first CrossFit workout and what did you think of it?
My first CrossFit workout was probably with my first trainer at the FDIC, Angela. She did CrossFit for a bit, but was also a certified trainer. Angela adapted CrossFit workouts from her box to meet her clients needs. My first workout at a box was at CrossFit Balance on 14th St (a 45 minute trial/assessment). We warmed up with a quick 400m run, then went over squats and kettlebell swings. I knew the workout was exactly the challenge I needed, but I was unsure about which box to join. I tried a few more out and landed happily at DCF!

What’s been the biggest change for you since starting CrossFit?
I have been able to lift heavier and more efficiently since starting at DCF. There is no way I would be able to bench 230# today if I continued to workout on my own. My balance and form are on point, most of the time, too.

What’s been your favorite DCF moment up to now?
#Murph. It’s a tough grinding workout. But so many people come. Plus, we grilled, drank, and played games afterwards. I wish I would have participated in some of the challenges this year, but I know the wonderful coaches are cooking up some fun times ahead.

What’s been your least favorite DCF moment up to now?
Last summer we had some really hot days and grueling workouts. And we didn’t have those Big Ass Fans. Ugh, those were the worst.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/WOD?
Thrusters are probably the most annoying movements. The (usually) high repetition thruster metcons just wear me out.
I could say pull ups or double-unders, because they were the bane of my existence for a while, but I know I just need to practice more.

Favorite CrossFit movement/WOD?
I can row all day. I love the feeling of deadlifts and squats (but maybe that’s just because I know they help me get the CrossFit ass 😉

When did you know you were hooked?
It was the fourth or fifth real WOD, probably. I was out of breath. I felt like I couldn’t walk. But when I looked around the box, I saw everyone else gasping for air. And then everyone bumped fists and congratulated each other on a great effort. No judgement for how much weight you lifted–we all recognized that we gave the WOD everything we had at that particular time.

Any advice for people starting out?
Just believe in yourself and be open to the community. You are stronger, more capable than you can imagine. And we’re all here to cheer you on to personal bests and pick you up when you’ve just run out of gas. Challenge yourself, but make sure you are having fun, too!