CrossFit Strong  -- Athlete of The Month
  Strong Heart, Strong Mind, Strong Body
 
We chose Andy Luten as our Athlete of the Month for August for many many reasons! He has pushed himself physically since the day he has started. He never backs down from a WOD and his progress is a testament to that. His weight loss & WOD gains are a direct result of Andy pushing himself and being determined. Besides the physical changes, he is a tremendous leader in the box. He welcomes new faces, helps current members - whether it's with double unders or now, mobility - he is always willing to help others! And....he definitely keeps the boards and blogs interesting!
 
 Andy Luten -Q&A  
How long have you been Crossfitting? — I’ve known about Crossfit since my days at Texas A&M, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Pluto was still a planet. I even started reading the mainsite wods from time to time. This had an astonishingly minimal effect on my fitness (turns out you actually have to do this stuff for it to work, not read about it). On May 17, 2010, I took one of the scariest walks of my life into the box and got to work.
What is your occupation? — I’m an Implementation Consultant at Markit, a financial services company in the Galleria. Quickly, imagine the most awesome, sexiest, fast-paced work in the world. What I do is around 25% as cool as what you’re thinking of right now, but I love the people on my team, which makes my job one of the best in the world. Before this, I sold cars for Sewell Hummer and Sewell Cadillac (I LOVE helping people by cars, by the way, so let me know if you ever need help.
Where are you from? — Waco, Texas, but I feel most at home in College Station.
How did you hear about Crossfit Strong? -- My boss at the time (Charlene Mallay) was at Strong, in fantastic shape, and was always talking about Crossfit Strong and how Gale paid her to say really nice things about him in front of the other coaches. It took her forever to get me out here, but I’m so thankful she did. It was awkward though, she’d yell at me to keep going with the same tone as when I had screwed something up at work, so I always felt like I was in trouble.
AUGUST Featured Athlete
 
See His Profile
 
 Andy's Transformation  
How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of CFS? -- I’m not sure that saying ‘completely’ would be overstating it. Physically, I’m stronger, faster over longer distances, and can pick up heavier stuff and put it back down. Additionally, my shirts are no longer tight around the stomach, people/cars no longer hide behind me to protect them from a stiff breeze, and radios no longer skip when I walk into a room.

Mentally/spiritually, wow. I’m not sure how to put it to words. As Gale says, trust the programming, it works. But it worked for me in ways I couldn’t imagine. For the better part of the last 10 years I struggled with body-image and self-hatred because of the way I looked. I’d try to control those emotions, ironically enough, with food, and gluttony overtook me (imagine a bulimic without the purging). I still battle it daily, with more victories than defeats for the first time in my life. Those victories are the result of a heart changed by Jesus Christ, but I also know for a fact that Crossfit Strong is being used God to provide for me encouragement, hope, and a family that is willing to battle with me and for me every single day.
What is your favorite move? — I LOVE power cleans, especially heavy ones. Nothing like looking at your shoulders, looking down at a bar with lots of plates on it, and deciding, “Hey, that should be up here.” There’s something delightfully nonsensical about it. Also, I feel like some of my best post-rep roars have been after power cleans. I once had to yell up a thruster for a 1RM and I think it was Cat who said, very unimpressedly, “I don’t know why you yelled on that one, the weight was already up.” Ouch, Cat.
What is your least favorite move? — I don’t know if you can punch an exercise, but if I could I’d punch manmakers. And bear crawls. And bearmakers. I don’t think bearmakers are an exercise, yet, but we all know it’s only a matter of time. I pre-dislike it.

What has been your favorite WOD so far? — The 12 Days of Christmas. You look at the screen and at first think you’re insane for wanting to do it but it turns out to be a lot of fun.
What has been your least favorite WOD ? — The 12 Days of Christmas, because it turns out you are insane and it’s really tough.
 
What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? — My weight will start with a 1. I will do a muscle-up. I will have a Crossfit Total score over 1000 pounds. I will run a half marathon (December 11). I will get even more excited about mobility. I will develop a hit sitcom about an IT consultant and his hilarious pet ostrich Bernard. Ok maybe not the last part.
How do you see CrossFit as different from other programs? — Well, mainly that I’ve been able to stick with it! Crossfit is a completely unique, best-of-breed solution that’s open-sourced, variable, and lets me throw around big amounts of weight. Plus people call me “funny” instead of “jolly”. Show me a globo gym or dog yoga program that could do all of that!
 
Did you think a sport of elite fitness would ever be for you? — Kind of. I thought it’d be fun to do someday, but never though someday would come so soon. What I didn’t expect was that by participating in elite fitness I’d also meet an elite family like CFS.
 
How can other people relate to your story? — I hope they don’t believe the lies that I did: no way I’d ever do bandless pullups, no way I’d run more than 400m without my legs exploding, no way I’d leave 15% of my weight in that box. That’s a really gross way of phrasing that last part. Ew. But anyways, back to motivation: trust your coaches, know that you’re capable, and don’t listen to your body screaming “STOP!” when your family around you is screaming “KEEP GOING!”

More important than that, I hope that, emotionally and spiritually, no one is as afflicted as I was with doubt, worry, fear, and self-loathing. It will ask of you everything you have, but it is beatable, and I want to help if that’s the case for anyone.

 
What is something that others may not know about you? -- Let’s see. I’m very painfully shy (not kidding), I play bass guitar in the worship band at The Village Church in Dallas, and I was once chased down a mountain by Moroccan government officials.

What is the dumbest thing you have heard at CFS? -- “Gale, I can’t keep going.” – Andy Luten
What is the funniest thing you have seen done at CFS?--Me saying the above during a warmup. Ok, kidding, but not by much.

What is your most memorable moment here-- There are two. The first is the last minute of every Opens workout earlier this year. The explosion of volume, the strain of the last rep, and the thrill of competition was very special.

More recently, Regionals. On Sunday, our team was bloody and injured. Plus I had rolled my ankle in the parking lot. As Team Amanda started, a song called ‘I Will Not Bow’ came on. What a perfect song for our team. The chorus hit as we watched Leah and Malachi fight through the wod with no skin left on their hands. That feeling was matched watching Kyle, Gale, Stephanie, and Mama Cat destroy the final workout. You could tell that every rep hurt, but they weren’t giving in. They didn’t bow. They didn’t break. Instead, they ferociously fought for every rep and took our breath away. Crossfit Strong won that day.

This place is a blessing, and I’m honored to call it home with all of you.