The People of CrossFit®: My Untold Story #31

February 06, 2019

Photocredit: Rob Hammer Photography
NAME: ADNAN ALI
AGE:  31 
BOX: CROSSFIT 852 AND CROSSFIT 9 

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).

I work in technology and operations management consulting for a major financial services company. I’m a foodie at heart and have a severe case of the travel bug - so much so that I moved to Hong Kong in 2018 and in that year alone flew over 65,000 miles too far-flung places wandering streets, eating amazing food, experimenting with new ingredients and dropping into various CrossFit® boxes.

Which affiliate box are you training at?

Currently, it’s CrossFit® 852 in Hong Kong and I still maintain a close relationship with my home box in the USA, CrossFit® 9 in St. Petersburg, Florida

When did you start doing CrossFit®?

Summer 2016

How did you first hear about CrossFit®? Did you want to try it or were you reluctant?

My former partner was a Crossfitter and he absolutely loved it. I wasn’t as keen and really only embraced it much much later (... after we separated 😉). Fitness programs like CrossFit® were very much out of my comfort zone — the anxiety of being in the box setting was quite real for me. Fortunately, I had coaches who believed in my potential and went above and beyond to help me build confidence in myself, my abilities and helped me take ownership of my journey and work towards the outcome I wanted out of that journey.

What were you doing before CrossFit®? Do you do anything else besides CrossFit®? 

Prior to CrossFit®, I tried HIIT training programs but always seemed to hit a wall. About a year into my CrossFit® journey I began ASHTANGA Yoga which was its own journey. I nearly completed most of the primary series until I had to take time off due to a knee injury. I hope to get back into it again sometime in 2019.

How has your approach to CrossFit® changed since first starting?

I have a better appreciation for the fact that there is a progression to everything and it varies by individual. For example, I can do a ring muscle up but have yet to land a bar muscle up. People laugh and it is funny I suppose. I’m sure it’ll happen, but I’m not losing sleep over it. I try to have fun and if I don’t have a movement down, I give myself the space to get it in my own time.

Favorite WOD or movement /Least favorite?

Most favorite: Hand Stand Walks - there’s something silly and fun about grown adults walking on their hands. It’s a challenging movement for sure but I just can’t help but laugh every time I do them. Least favorite: Running — I’m not a runner and I just struggle with endurance in general. In fact, my 23 and Me DNA analysis supports this — my genes are not common with athletes, runners, etc — I really have to put the work in to keep myself moving.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit®?

I’m a new person. Definitely more confident; I’ve made many social connections through CrossFit® and by dropping into various gyms around the world; physically I look and feel the best I’ve ever been and I have loads of energy; mentally — less stressed. If you met me 3 years ago, you’d be quite shocked. Everything is more balanced these days.

What motivates you?

The people around me motivate me — whether it’s the new person taking that first step to change their lives (takes courage and commitment) or the experienced athlete that invests the time to continuously improve and to get better — it’s all inspiring.

What would you say to someone starting CrossFit® for the first time?

Show up, listen, know your limits ... understand that everyone in the room started where you were at one point. Double unders? You’ll get those. Pull-Ups? It’ll happen. Are you last to finish? No shame in that.

Any embarrassing gym moments you'd like to share? (optional to answer)

Haha, no that’s alright. 💩

How do you feel about nutrition? Are you super strict/flexible? 

I abide by a “Paleo-ish” mindset ... eating Whole Foods and eliminating grains and rice as much as possible. But also appreciating that I live in Asia and that I am of South Asian descent. I give myself the space to have rice, noodles, exotic treats, and my moms home cooking when I visit home in the USA. I also started intermittent fasting - 16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating — helps me not to overeat throughout the day. I love it.

Thanks for reading our untold story,

Adnan