Robby in his early gymnastic years

Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit journey:

I’ve been involved in a lot of alternative sports since I was very young. I started with gymnastics around age three and ran with that for about ten years. I was also on a competitive water ski show team for most of my teenage years into college, and I swam competitively in middle and high school. After all of that, as I hesitantly approached adulthood I found myself missing physical activity and got into running. I eventually set a goal to run the marathon in New York City. I registered and trained in 2011, ‘12, and ‘13 but couldn’t race due to a broken leg, a hurricane, and a death in the family. In 2014 the stars aligned and I finally did it!

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?

About a week after I ran the NYC race, I decided it was time for a break from running. It was really all I did in the realm of exercise for several years, and I was looking for other ways to stay active throughout the winter. I came across some videos online of CrossFit and then discovered there was a box right here in Oshkosh. I convinced two of my friends to try it with me and we signed up for our introductory sessions with Ben.

Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?

Our first session was on a Saturday during open gym, so we got to see a lot of strong people lifting heavy things while we practiced with some PVC. It was a bit intimidating at first, but everyone was so welcoming that the initial shock wore off almost immediately. The eight minute workout we did was humbling to say the least, because I thought I was already pretty fit coming in. I remember being very tired and hungry after, I knew we had found something special.

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?

I had zero experience with a barbell when I started, I don’t think I had even tried a bench press. Most people come in with a bias toward weight lifting and have a harder time with the gymnastic skills. I am the opposite because I have more experience with gymnastics, so that comes easier for me. The Olympic lifts are intimidating for anyone just starting out, but the coaching and instruction is so great that you never feel alone in your struggles. Hearing a coach cheer for you when you finally get it right feels great, and all the encouragement motivates you to keep going when you feel defeated.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?

CrossFit does what you want it to do (make you strong and fit), and so much more. Starting out I had no idea that it would impact other areas of my life and I would make so many great friends. I absolutely love being able to improve myself in a measurable way every time I step into the box.

What are your current goals in CrossFit?

Clean and Jerk 200lbs (I’m 10 lbs away!), Snatch 150lbs, and hold a freestanding handstand for 30 seconds.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I’ve been an extra in a movie with Johnny Depp, I developed an iPhone app that never saw the light of day, and my favorite food is pizza. I assume that, deep down, everyone’s favorite food is pizza because it’s so good. There is just so much cheese and so many possibilities, who wouldn’t want that?