The Brothers Font
Alex and Marcos Font have been long time members of the FireBase. Their journey into CrossFit is similar to most, but their perspectives on training, community, and longevity in fitness are unique. They truly embody the essence of what makes the FireBase so special.
What are your sports or fitness background? What was your fitness routine like before joining the FireBase?
Alex: Growing up I was always in to watching and playing any sport that I could and did so throughout high school. When I moved to Florida in 2001, to attend UCF, I played intramural soccer and basketball and played on the UCF rugby team for two years. Prior to starting CrossFit I never really had a normal routine of working out outside of attending a few globo-gyms (which never amounted to really working out) and running (which I did more religiously).
Marcos: Prior to joining Firebase, my fitness routine consisted of struggling to get into a gym and fighting with hundreds of other people to get a spot at one of the coveted globo-gym machines or the treadmill. While I played some sports in high school, I’d certainly not say that I have a fitness background so fining to motivation to actually go to the globo-gym and make use of the overpopulated machines was draining. I’d say that, on average, I’d make it to the gym about once a week (on a good week) and try to do some jogging a few times a week if I got home early enough.
How long have you been a member at the FireBase? What prompted you to look into CrossFit and how did you end up at the FireBase?
Alex: I have now been a member of FireBase for over 4 and a half years (started in early 2012). In retrospect when I first heard about CrossFit I was intrigued but was never really interested in giving it a shot. After being stagnant in the ‘workout world’ for a while and knowing that I was going to be getting married in a year (2013) my wonderful wife, after seeing a FireBase sticker on a neighbor’s car and talking to them, convinced me to come in for the free Saturday work out because hey, what was there to lose? I remember showing up on Saturday and there being about 10 people there (including Rhia and Marcos) for the free class. Luckily, the first class was not too hard and consisted of ball slams, wall balls, sit-ups, push-ups, air squats and rowing all of which I had either never done or hadn’t done in a long time. Believe it or not I was sore afterwards which was both a bad, because it hurt, and a good feeling, because I did something that I liked and actually felt like I was exercising. Everyone was super nice and after going home and talking it over with Rhia and Kos we all decided to take the plunge and sign up for foundations. It’s been up hill since then and the only regret that I have is not having joined earlier.
Marcos: My first venture at FireBase, and CrossFit in general, was in February of 2012 but I’d say that I’ve been doing it consistently since October 2014. I first gave CrossFit a chance because my brother and sister-in-law wanted to give it a try and I had nothing else better to do that Saturday. Since then, I’ve come to absolutely love walking through the bay doors and getting my sweat on for an hour at a time.
What have you noticed as the biggest difference in your fitness level since joining the FireBase?
Alex: Ha! Before, I didn’t have a fitness level, and now I’m somewhere between meh and pretty okay :). In seriousness though, I feel stronger, faster, and overall more healthy and content. Being able to set my own benchmarks and see myself hit my goals is always satisfying and doing so with the peers and coaches that I have had over the last 4 plus years has been a blessing.
Marcos: The biggest difference, apart from physical changes, is the mental health aspect of working out regularly. A lot of people don’t realize that working out actually helps relieve stress. For an hour a day, after working all day, I get to clear my head and only focus on throwing some weight around- whether that’s barbell weight or my body weight. Whether I had a great day or a crummy day, when I leave the gym I generally feel refreshed and in a great mood. As far as the fitness level goes, when I first started I couldn’t do 30 sit ups, 15 push ups, couldn’t do a single pull up, and couldn’t run 200m without getting super winded. I was overweight, had high cholesterol (yes, it can happen even when you’re young!) and was generally just out of shape. Now my life has turned completely around- I no longer struggle with high cholesterol and can do loads more of every movement than when I started. It’s a great feeling to look back to when I started and how far I’ve come since then.
What do you enjoy most about training at the FireBase?
Alex: I love the ambiance. Friends, new and old, feel like family and everyone pushes each other, in a positive way, to be better today than we were yesterday.
Marcos: To me the best thing about FireBase is the feeling of community. Actually, I think that’s the absolute best thing about CrossFit in general. Like I mentioned before, one of the things I hated about globo-gyms was the fact that I was in there with hundreds of other people who didn’t care, or looked down at you, or were just doing their own thing. You were one amongst many. At FireBase, we are one. When I finish my workout, I peel myself off the ground and help cheer one of my buddies until they finish. When someone finishes before me, they come over and help cheer me on. They keep me honest and we finish the WOD together.
What one movement in CrossFit do you think elicits the best fitness results and why?
Alex: Honestly, I am not quite sure as I feel like there are several movements that each contributes to certain muscle groups differently. If I had to pick one though, and I never thought I would say it, I would have to say a thruster as it is a combination of a few movements that I think are critical to CrossFit workouts.
Marcos: That’s a good question. When I look at it, I think the one movement that’s critical to all other CrossFit movements is the Deadlift. Sure, you could front squat 300lbs from the rack but if you can’t get that 300lb off the ground with an efficient first pull, there’s no way you’re going to be able to clean or snatch it up. Although it’s not a movement per se, as an honorable mention, as much as I absolutely hate them, I’d like to say Interval Sprints. Intervals Sprinting can help greatly increase your cardio fitness level and stamina, which are both absolutely crucial to your WOD.
What you say to anyone thinking about trying CrossFit, but are afraid of doing it?
Alex: Just give it a shot. It may not be for you but you won’t know until you give it a try. I personally never thought I would religiously go to a gym and I took the chance and fell in love with a sport that has changed the way I live. Also, work out for yourself. A lot of people try to hard to compare themselves to others and too many times I have seen people fall short of unrealistic goals which have caused them to become unmotivated. Set yourself some realistic goals and set out to crush the GNARR!
Marcos: What are you afraid of? Most of the times, and it was true with me, people are afraid of having to start from zero when others around you are already at a higher level. Another aspect could be the social anxiety aspect of doing something around people you don’t know. That’s the absolute best thing about CrossFit- nobody cares how “bad” or “good” you are at something as long as you give an honest effort and are committed to progress. I remember my first WOD after foundations classes I was trying to do front-rack lunges with a 45lb bar and 5lb plates on each side. My form was terrible. Nobody made fun of me. Instead, the coach came over and explained that my fitness goals would never be met if I was hurt so I should lower my working weight and get my form right. I went down to just doing a 35lb bar and, still, nobody made fun of me. Even at such a “low” weight, I wasn’t the first one finished with the workout and people cheered me on while I finished just the same. You’re not the weakest person in the world and you probably won’t ever be the strongest so you have to start SOMEWHERE! Get after it!
For all the craft beer lovers out there, what is the one beer you will most certainly buy if you see it on tap?
Alex: Damn, I should have seen this before I answered #5 as I think the one movement that elicits the best fitness results are 16oz (a pint) curls. I mean look at my body enough said. 🙂 Depending on the season I will tend to order different beverages but as of late if there is a nice Berliner Weiss on draft I will definitely try that first.
Marcos: Oh man, this is a hard one! For this one, I’d have to say Westbrook Gose, which is a beer from a brewery in South Carolina. Unfortunately, at this time at least, that means it’s hard to find here in Florida. I recently went up to Buffalo, NY for a friend’s wedding and the evening before the wedding everybody went to a local bar where they had 2 cases of the Gose. Sure enough we drank them out of it that night!
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