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December ’16

December Athlete of the Month:

Ray Barksdale


When did you start doing CrossFit?

About a year and half ago.

What is my favorite WOD?

“Like” is a strong word.  I haven’t done one yet that I liked.  Maybe the question should be “what is the most tolerable WOD for you?”  I can tolerate all of them.

What is your least favorite WOD?

I pretty much HATE anything that includes the letter sequence B-U-R-P-E-E.

What is your favorite lift?

At this point it would probably be front squats since I’m seeing a lot of improvement there.

What is your least favorite lift?

I don’t think I have one.  There are some things that give me more problems like one-legged squatting movements but I still enjoy the challenge.

What is your favorite cheat meal?

I manage Mama Hamil’s.  Let’s just drop this one.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Carrie and I have been married for almost 20 years and have three children that look like they will end up being smarter and more productive than we are.  I grew up in Madison and we moved back 13 years ago after 6-7 years in the Belhaven area.  I am a professional engineer (Mechanical) having retired from MDOT (MS Dept Of Transportation) a couple of years ago.  I currently work as the General Manager for Mama Hamil’s as well as handling the three nights we are open.  I do consulting work on the side for a company in Huntsville which writes software to handle things like truck permitting and road information management (stuff DOTs are interested in.)  I’m 53, grew up in Madison playing basketball at MRA and MRHS, picked up the weights around the age of 20, went from 140 to 240 in about 7 years.Love college football although I don’t get to watch much due to work.  I’m also attracted to anything mechanical such as cars, trucks, trains, heavy equipment, machine shops and anything on YouTube about machining, welding and foundry work.

What were you doing before CrossFit?

I had been lifting again for a few years and doing some cardio on elliptical machines and bikes.  Mostly practicing sofa yoga.

What were your thoughts after your first WOD?

Well, at least I didn’t die and the people are nice.

What were your goals when you joined Coyote?

I wanted to drop some weight, get my bench back over 300, get Carrie off my back.

Have you achieved any of these goals?

I’ve dropped 25 pounds without changing my diet and it keeps slowly dropping off.  I may be eating more now than before.
I no longer care about the bench press.  I want to nail 225 on a clean&jerk. Now Carrie is on me about yoga.

Has CrossFit affected your life outside of the gym?

I feel better than I have in 30 years.  I no longer get as fatigued being on my feet for 9-10 hours at time.

Do you have any special memories/achievements during your time at Coyote?

Finding out I could row pretty good.
Hitting 225 on a front squat (almost got 235.)  
Having random coaches appear to be ready to dial 911.
Climbing a rope after 2 minutes of instruction from Coach Chris.
Cracking my shin on a box jump numerous times.
Stringing together multiple kipping pullups with no bands.
Having Meredith’s young ward drag his saliva soaked pillow onto my face while stretching.
Tearing cartilage in my knee trying to pass Carrie on a run.
One afternoon while watching a twenty-something walking on their hands, casually mentioning to Coach Chris I didn’t see myself walking around on my hands only to find myself upside down on my head the next afternoon.
Being around a bunch of good people trying to improve themselves.

What advice would you give someone just starting at Coyote?

DO NOT QUIT!  Outside of becoming a Christian and getting married, it will be the best thing you have ever done for yourself and your family.  Listen to your coaches.  Drop the weight and get your form correct.  Keep moving.  If you strain something, pull a muscle or just can’t do a movement, tell your coach.  They can help you work around it.  They can help you identify and fix your weaknesses. Your success is their success.

Tell us something we might not know about you?

I can’t seem to quit watching British detective/mystery shows and anything involving Jeremy Clarkson, Captain Slow and The Hamster.