November Athlete of the Month – Jeff Mau

Jeff Mau

Age: 58 (59 end of January) 

What is something people don’t know about you? I had a near death experience in 2007 while on vacation, sailing the Windward Islands. I found out that I am extremely allergic to Mangos. Yes…I do believe I entered a tunnel with a light at the end. Yes…I do believe I had an “out of body experience” and was able to see my wife care for me while having a severe anaphylactic reaction.

How does CrossFit influence your life? This journey has shown me that there is a better way of living. Improved fitness helps me in so many other aspects of my life. I am more active. I am more alert. I can to do more physical things. Think about it…when something as simple is being able to balance on 1 leg to put on your pants is not doable…then…after a couple of months in the gym…you can?? This was HUGE for me.

It’s those daily “wins” that improve self-confidence, one’s outlook, one’s attitude. And every time I am in the gym, I experience another win.

How long have you been doing CrossFit? 12 months as an active member. I signed up on 10/15/17. I attended an introductory WOD on 11/6/17. I started On-Ramp classes on 11/8/18. 

What class do you usually attend? Typically, I am at the 5:30pm class during the week and the 8:00am on Saturday’s. I will take either a Wednesday or Thursday and Sunday as rest days.

As a “traveling salesman”, I have attended WODs at 12 other CF Boxes.

What is your favorite lift? Deadlifts. Actually, anything lift I can successfully perform and improve upon (in terms of better technique and increasing PR’s), I enjoy.

What is your favorite move? Step ups. This move will help me get medically cleared for jumping!

What is your favorite workout? Scaling. All workouts are scalable. There has not been a WOD where my coach was not able to scale the movement or lift to my ability. Sure, I want to be like all the young athletes who are performing RX…but, I must remind myself that I am in a physical “rebuilding” phase. It is a process. It will come.

Why did you start CrossFit? In 2015, I had a hip replacement. Followed by a lot of “healing” (a.k.a. doing nothing physical). In 2016, nearly 1 year to the day, I had major intestinal surgery. Again, followed by lots and lots of healing. Of course, healing involved good food and drink…lots of it. Needless to say, Jeffy was a big boy and getting bigger.

In August of 2017, I was attending a nephew’s wedding. One of my sisters expressed her concern over my size (I was north of 285 lbs). I used the excuse of the fake hip and belly work to dodge the conversation, but these excuses were wearing thin. She knew it. Carol knew it. My whole family knew it. I looked in the mirror…I finally realized it. I had to do something.

In September of 2017, I saw the 60 Minutes piece on CrossFit. Intrigued, I began researching the program, watching videos and reading CF articles. With the emphasis on health, wellness, community and accountability, I thought I will give this a try. I also started “push aways”….push away from the table and stop eating so much!

In early October of 2017, I ran the idea of CF by my doctor, Megan Romine, and she was all for it. That evening, I reached out to Coach Kris and the rest is history.

What keeps you coming back? The community. While fitness and wellness are right up there, it is the coaches and the members that keep me coming back. Friendly, happy, helpful, respectful, welcoming, non-judgmental, encouraging, supportive, FUN. It is a fantastic atmosphere. I look forward to every WOD. But, I really look forward to the fellowship.

What did you do for fitness before CrossFit? I was a novice / beer league hockey goalie before the hip surgery. Occasionally went lap swimming with my wife. Lots of “12 oz curls”. I did not do much physical activity while “healing”. Hey! If the body is a temple, why sweat on it??

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit? Drive the MAUZDA. Hang out with my awesome wife, Carol. We are sailors but rethinking our sailing habit. And…collecting cool guitars.

What is your favorite song(s) to workout to? Classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s. Funk. Some old club music. Music that I can “BOX DANCE” with Shelly to! 

What is your favorite cheat/meal snack? Well, it was the Steak DeBurgo at Sam & Gabe’s. But, now that they have closed, I am sure I will revert to the 3 Meat Combo Platter from the Flying Mango (gonna to reignite my love for good BBQ).

What is your favorite healthy/meal snack? This is a work in progress. However, Lara Bars and vanilla protein powder shakes are mighty tasty.

What is the most difficult workout you’ve attempted? I think “Murph” on Memorial Day 2018 was extremely challenging, even with the applied scaling. 1600m row, followed by 10 rounds of 10 “Coach Kris method” banded pull ups, 10 push-ups, 10 air squats and finish with another 1600m row. I pegged the “puke meter” after the 8th round. After a brief run to the dumpster, I came back in the gym and finished!

How has CrossFit WDM helped you keep on top of your health and wellness goals? From Day 1 at CFWDM, I have had only 2 goals. 1) Weight loss. 2) Gain strength. I have no defined targets. I just want to change my body and get strong enough to do the stuff I could do when I was much younger.

These simple goals have translated into…

* Over 30 lbs in weight loss since mid-August of 2017. I started CFWDM at 279.9 lbs.

* It’s not about the total weight loss, it’s all about how your clothing fits.

*None of my old clothes fit. The tight fitting 3XB shirts all look like smocks today. My waist has reduced by 2 pant sizes.

* After the 1st year of CF, I am off my blood pressure meds.

*Hopefully, after a 4 week recall BP check, I can stay off them.

* I am making much better food and portion choices.

* I have regained my ability to easily bend over, get up and down, put on my socks. Simple things!

* I no longer walk with a limp. My gate is much improved.

* Much improved flexibility.

* For a majority of 1 rep max strength WODs, I can hit a new PR each time.

On a personal note…

I want to express my sincere thanks to all of the CFDWM Coaches who have worked with me over the past 12 months. Your instruction, support, encouragement and willingness to work with this old guy has been more than I expected. I often feel guilty for needing extra help during the WODs, as (sometimes I feel that) it takes away from the more accomplished athlete’s time. You have always corrected me when I share that. You have always made me feel as important as the rest of the athletes.

When I hit a new PR or gain the ability to perform a move with reduced or no scaling, I say, “Look what you did!” Each and every time, you tell me, “No. Look what YOU did.” To that I say, “I could not have done this without you.” 

I also want to give a HUGE shout out to the CFWDM community. You are all wonderful people. I have NEVER felt like the “token old person”. You all inspire me to stay the path. You always treat me as an equal. You have always been welcoming. You are always encouraging. You are a big part of why I remain a CFWDM member.

From the bottom of my heart and to everyone – Thank you.