June Athlete Of The Month: Chris Balfer

My CrossFit Journey
Chris Balfer

Hi. My name is Chris Balfer. This is the story of my CrossFit journey. First, here is a little information about myself. I love to eat (no salads please), I enjoy movies, and can waste entire days watching television. I can’t sleep unless I have at least six pillows on my bed with which to build my “pillow fortress”. And I once had a full head of hair, but no longer. I spent the first six years of my adult life in the Marine Corps. Upon my exit from military life, I worked a few different jobs until I finally settled into the Oil and Gas Industry, where I am working today.

In February of 2014, I had only heard of CrossFit in passing. I had heard it mentioned on television during football season, and in interviews of Sean Payton, head coach of my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints. I had heard about how he had gotten into the best physical condition of his life through CrossFit, and how he had incorporated CrossFit elements into team workouts. But I still had no idea what it was.

In the meantime, I continued to work out at whichever “traditional” gym that I could find in whatever area that I was working in at the time. Like so many others in the oil and gas industry, my work requires my packing and moving to new locations on a regular basis.. I believe that my workout progress reached a plateau long ago, but I stuck to my normal routine. I also struggled with the idea of how to balance weight training with cardiovascular training. I found that I was getting bigger, but had no endurance whatsoever. Then one day at work during a conversation with my friend and coworker, Bethanie Buerger, she told me about this great place that she worked out at, and loved. That place was CrossFit XLR8. She recommended to me that I should go and speak with Molly, and she pretty much guaranteed me that I would love the place. So I did, and I do. So I guess that make Bethanie my “maker” (TrueBlood fans will understand this).

My first workout was lead by Jason, and pretty much consisted of three 200 meter rows,three sets of 10 pushups, and three sets of 15 air squats. i walked away thinking that it wasn’t so bad, and then I woke up the next morning feeling more sore than I had in months. That’s when I knew that this was my path forward, so I signed up the very next day. Then I went through the seven o’clock program with Zeph, who had the unenviable task of teaching me to perform the basic CrossFit movements. I did not catch on quickly, so I was taught the same movements several times over.

Over the past several months, I have been introduced to many other movements and exercises, and have struggled with pretty much all of them. But luckily for me, Molly and her staff of amazing trainers have been extremely patient, and are always there to offer sound advice on how to correct technical mistakes that I make on an almost daily basis. The trainers are infinitely skilled at getting maximum effort out of each person while making sure that no one gets hurt. I still have much to learn, but in just a few months time I feel one thousand percent more healthy than I have in several years. The atmosphere at CrossFit XLR8 is more positive than I could have ever imagined. I have made so many friends in the short time that I have been here and met so many amazing people. I love that everyone is so encouraging, and I love that we all suffer through the same workouts together.

Sometimes when I feel like I cant do one more repetition, I only have to look at the person next to me who is still working and that’s when I know that I can’t stop. We all start together, and we all finish together. That camaraderie is what gets me through most of our WOD’s. That, and knowing that my pillow fortress awaits.