Name: Chris Williams
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
When did you first start CrossFitting?
I started Crossfit 601 in Ridgeland, MS in March 2012. I then moved to Raleigh-Durham, NC and started Southpoint Crossfit in December 2014.
Tell us about your sports & fitness background.
I never competitively played sports, but I swam, played basketball, and football recreationally. Fitness was such an afterthought to me. Every now and then, I would get the urge to workout at the local gym, but it never took.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?
My personal trainer in Mississippi opened up a local CrossFit along with his buddy. The initial experience was physically and mentally overwhelming. I had never been exposed to Olympic lifting and such an intense workout. I struggled in the beginning, but over time, a long time, I started to improve my stamina and performance. It’s laughable the way I struggled back then because I could’ve done a lot more than what I thought I was capable of doing.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness since starting CrossFit?
For body, I have seen muscles develop that I never knew could! It’s weird sometimes looking in the mirror because I don’t think I’ve ever been this fit. In fact, I know I haven’t. For health, I feel way more energetic which is key as I hit a new decade in my age. I’m eating much better and I feel much better. Before I improved my eating habits, I constantly felt sluggish. For my overall fitness, it has tremendously improved. I have a lost a ton of weight and it has changed my whole outlook on getting physically fit. It was never a priority until I started seeing positive results from the workouts. Once I saw the results, I was motivated to stay on track. I never thought I would be able to ever do strict pull-ups, toes to bar, handstand push-ups, or running without stopping.
What impact has CrossFit had on your life?
It has definitely kept me more positive. Working out definitely gives you those endorphins, and with that, my self-esteem, confidence, mood have all improved. Fitness and healthy eating are now two top priorities in my life. I don’t miss the way I used to look, feel, and eat. It also has connected me to great people, many of whom are my closest friends here in Durham.
What is your advice for people just getting started or thinking about starting CrossFit? Pace yourself and don’t compare yourself. Crossfit is very intense. However, if you work at your comfort level, your conditioning skills will improve. I would say Crossfit isn’t for everyone, but it was for me. I was never particularly athletic growing up, so being physically fit almost seemed impossible to me. But Crossfit was the saving grace. For those who are thinking about it, I would say try out the free classes, either you would love it or hate it.
What are your hobbies, interests, and/or talents outside of CrossFit and does CrossFit help with those?
Good thing there’s Crossfit because I like to eat out…a lot. Though I’m still mostly careful with what I eat, Crossfit allows me to “cheat” every now and then. I also like hanging out and meeting people. Social events are very important to Crossfit, and it has allowed me to network and develop friendships outside the workouts.