Sports have always been a huge part of Craig’s life. School papers primarily revolved around the Eagles or Phillies, draft day has been a holiday since age 7 & every Sunday Craig and his dad went to church…aka the VET / LINC. Athletically, Craig tried his hand at virtually every sport throughout his life; however, his 6’ 4” 140lb string bean physique wasn’t always conducive to on field domination. While the baseball diamond afforded Craig the most success, he always preferred playing the sport to the perceived boredom of the gym. The competitive team angle entertained and engaged Craig much more so than the solitary confinement of early morning barbell or track sessions.

Fast forward to college where the allure of, well college, superceded any inclination to wake up for practices at 5 AM.  It was at this point that Craig started to notice the GAINs he’d always strived for materializing in all of the wrong ways. Carb overload padded the ole gut and facial regions, yet the arms luckily retained their otherworldly lack of tone, definition and muscle. It was at this point that Craig decided a visit to the gym wouldn’t be the worst idea & moved forward with a rigorous regimen of treadmill and bicep curls.  Not surprisingly, the impact was marginal and the excitement / dedication to the process even less so. With age and life starting to get real over the next few years (he turned 30) Craig was quickly coming to the realization that the globo-gym misery was not sustainable nor desirable over the long haul. While recognition is the ever important first step, it’s often much easier than the next – change.

Cue March, 2015 when Vinny’s little Sister, Kelli, returned from a year abroad….in New York City. While she’d often mentioned her brother’s gym, Craig only knew of the injury riddled conversation dominating misconceptions associated with CrossFit. Trying to convince himself that he was comfortable with being uncomfortably bored at the gym, Craig had zero intention of changing his ways until Kel forced him to drop her off at Thermal one fateful afternoon. Upon entry, he was immediately approached by Coach P asking if he had workout clothes and compared to another tall member, Pavan. While Craig abruptly declined that initial invitation for fear of failure, he did stick around long enough to observe the high energy vibe emanating from the daily workout. After a month of persistent nagging, make that convincing, Craig decided to swallow his pride and humbly walked into Karen’s 150 wall balls. Despite the initial OH SHIT moment, the sweat (this is what happens after a real workout), comradery and “friendly” encouragement from the likes of Drew and Sam, kept him coming back for more.

9 months later and the progress has been slow but meaningful for Craig. Coming in without an Olympic lifting, or really any lifting background & questionable coordination made even the most basic CrossFit movements a daily struggle. Overhead squatting for the first time is something Craig will never forget. After clumsily getting the empty barbell overhead and shaking about like a wet noodle, Sam quickly noticed the ‘I’m going to drop this on my head’ look of sheer terror on Craig’s face and frantically motioned for Craig to put the bar down. Needless to say, the PVC & lady’s bar were a prevalent part of initial WODS for this newcomer.

Craig’s come a long way since those early days. Still pretty damn lanky, he’s starting to add some muscle to those limbs and laying waste to that closet of hipster, skinny jeans. While the RX button is no longer a mere pipe dream, the excitement of checking out the next day’s WOD, hanging with the 6:30 crew & catching a daily Vinny-ism has not lost its luster.

Looking forward, Craig is counting down the days till Club Endure like Pitcher’s and Catcher’s strive for the warm sunshine of spring training and maintains the undying dream of butterfly pullups, handstand pushups and performing any Oly Lift with actual “grown man” weight on the barbell. CrossFit Thermal, the coaches and members, has pushed Craig to new limits and completely changed his outlook towards exercise. While the form is still a work in progress & Craig’s “Break Game” remains a bit too strong, his commitment and energy towards improvement is unwavering.

This workout is done in the same fashion as “12 Days of Christmas.” You’ll start by doing 1 rope climb. Then you’ll do 2 box jumps and 1 rope climb. Then 3 burpees, 2 box jumps, 1 rope climb. Then 4 toes-to-bar, 3 burpees, 2 box jumps, and 1 rope climb. etc.

“11 Days of Craig”
1 rope climb
2 box jumps, 24/20″
3 burpees
4 toes-to-bar
5 hang power cleans, 95/65#
6 wall balls, 20/14#
7 sit-ups
8 pull-ups
9 double unders
10 KB swings, 53/35#
11 front squats, 95/65#

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