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Male Athlete of the Month: Keith Gardere

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Athlete of the Month: Keith Gardere
Keith is our Male Athlete of the Month for April 2017 after only starting one year ago. He has completely transformed his body, losing 40 pounds while gaining a good amount of muscle. Keith is Mr. Consistent at 6am, making sure he attends every weekday, Monday through Friday. He has a great story about having a rough start at first with CrossFit but staying determined to commit himself. Check out his full video interview and transcript below. Congrats Keith!

Andrew: Hey guys welcome to Crossfit Palm Beach. My name is Andrew Frezza and I’m joined by our athlete of the month Keith Gardere. Keith started with us in April 2016 and we picked him as athlete of the month because he has one of the fastest transformations we’ve ever seen in his first couple of months with us and then since that time he really hasn’t really slowed down. He just completed his  first CrossFit open and all the workouts RX. He achieved things like muscle ups and a bunch of other skills over the last couple of months and he’s pretty much RXing and RTGing most of the workouts on a daily basis so you can find him at the 6am class on most days. He’s pretty consistent and we will learn more about Keith. So Keith can you talk a little bit about what was the first couple months like and what transformation did you see in those first few months since it was a pretty fast transformation?

Keith: The first week was rough, even the fundamentals. Steve Walker is the one who got me involved in this and he kept trying to get me to come to bring-a-friend Saturday class. So one Saturday he finally convinced me to go and I went to the class and going into the warm up. We did a 400m run and came back and started doing some turf drills and I had to stop in the middle of the turf drills because I felt like I was going to throw up. Then went outside and try to get some fresh air and literally couldn’t finish the work out. So I was a little defeated at that point, even for the ‘bring your friend’ day, but I still convinced myself to go and try the fundamentals class so that next week I went to the fundamentals. First the fundamentals I did throw up in class, second day had to stop half way through class I didn’t make it and from there I made it through a class, made it through another class and then finally by then at the end of the week I finished the fundamentals and then started the CrossFit class. It was definitely tough but you just got to tough it out. So from there, basically I just took one class at a time, one workout at a time. It was my goal to make it through a class, make it through a work out and I did that week after week. My goal the first month was  just to go three days a week, I started off kind of slow, three days a week going and the same time every day and then after that the second month I said I’m going to go four days a week so I went four days a week and then the third month, I went five days a week, basically where I’ve been the whole time now. There are a couple of Saturdays where I did six days a week and thought I was a little burned out, so I stepped back from that a little bit and right now I’m just going five days a week Monday to Friday.

(Keith’s first beach WOD with the guy who convinced him to try CrossFit, Steve W.)

Andrew: Remember those first couple of weeks there was a small fundamentals group that was like we got to get Keith through a workout. Every time you had to keep stopping and a couple of days he did throw up. It’s not really normal for a lot of people to do that, sometimes it happens the first day but it was kind of funny that that was kind of the goal for the first couple of weeks it’s just like get through a work out.

Keith: Baby steps for me.

Andrew: But you stuck with it, you got a lot of credit for sticking with it. What were some of the results you saw, I know you lost a lot of weight but what were some of the results you saw in your first three or four months as you worked through that five day of week schedule?

Keith: Basically when I started I weighed 215. I was definitely on the heavier side for my size. I think in the first three months I lost 27 pounds, somewhere around there, then in 10 months I lost 40 pounds exactly. I went from 215 to 175. So the first few months I know it is muscle tone, lost a lot of weights, belt sizes, had to change my clothes twice actually which was annoying but in a good way.

Andrew: Awesome, and what was your background before starting CrossFit, immediately before but also growing up did you play sports or anything like that?

Keith: Yes as a kid I was always outdoor playing sports, playing basketball, baseball, pursued baseball, played baseball through high school had a couple of small scholarships for college. But I had a bigger scholarship for academics so I took that. Went to college and I did the typical guy work out five days a week, four days a week and skipped leg days. So I did four days a week I was in the gym pretty consistently but thought I was in shape, but nothing like this. Then I graduated, started working and didn’t step foot in a gym for I don’t know 8 or 10 years after college. Then just went straight into CrossFit from that, so basically 0 to 60 for me as far as working out.

Andrew: And what made you decide to finally come in? I know you knew Steve through work, but what made you decided that hey I’m going to come and try this bring-a-friend day and keep persisting with it?

Keith: He was very persistent and I always said I wanted to get back into the gym but I don’t have the time and I can’t find the time and work, after work I don’t feel like going this late, I want to spend time with my family and making every excuse in the book really. But when it came down it’s just like I’m going to do it! I committed to something, I said okay I want to do this and when I commit to something I commit to it, so I went for it.

Andrew: Nice, haven’t looked back since.

Keith: Nope

Andrew: So what are your favorite CrossFit movements?

Keith: I love handstand push-ups. I think they’re just fun.

Andrew:  How long did it take to get your first one?

Keith: I think I got them right away to be honest, I don’t think they were much of a problem to me. I didn’t do the kipping right away, kind of just a strict push up but they were pretty easy from the beginning for me.

Andrew: What’s your least favorite CrossFit movement?

Keith: Definitely thrusters! The last open workout was not good for me. I don’t mind front squats and I don’t mind overhead press, but when you put them together, for some reason, they kicked my butt. I definitely know I can do better at them so I’m going to work on that.

Andrew: Cool do you have a favorite benchmark workout?

Keith: Definitely I have a love, hate relationship with Diane, deadlifts and handstand push-ups. I like handstand push-ups, dead lifts I just can’t do you really heavy weights sometimes. I have problems with my lower back, it gets sore sometimes so I just don’t always push it. It’s hard with deadlifts and that’s something that I want to work on as well. So that’s one of my favorites and Barbara as well. It’s a long one, but I like it push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and air squats.

Andrew: Do you have a favorite cheat meal or go to dessert food?

Keith: Dessert, when I think cheat meal I think desert. You can’t go wrong with the hot brownie, corner piece preferably I’m a corner guy, with some ice cream and drizzled with some chocolate and whipped cream. Good to go!

Andrew: As it relates to the weight loss, was it just the work outs for you or did you think that you have to do stuff beyond that outside the gym?

Keith: I definitely changed my eating habits for sure. At first it wasn’t 0 to 60 with the eating habits, but at first I tried to scale back certain things. I tried to cut out breads and some of the carbs and stuffs like that. I was also used to eating big portions as well and I tried to carve that down and just slowly, progressively started to see results and I’m like wow I’m in the gym every day, working out I want these results to be the best of their abilities so you start really paying attention to food. I definitely pay attention to my food intake as well. I am not strict Paleo or any of that as of yet.

Andrew: What was it like competing in your first open? You just finished your first open and might re-do your last workout but for the most part you’re done here. What’s it like going through that experience and did you see any accomplishments in those five weeks that were unexpected for you?

Keith: It’s a really cool experience; it’s cool to go on the website see where you are in the world placing and all of that. As far as me, the big thing that I like was I think it was 17.2 the one with the muscle ups?

Andrew: Yeah 17.2

Keith: For me that was a big one get through. 11 ring muscle ups so for me that was good. I definitely pushed myself a little more. I decided personally because you know I’m pretty competitive and it was a competition so you are pushing to do your best to put your best score out so for me it definitely push me to do more than I probably would’ve done in a typical work out.

Andrew: What’s been your proudest achievement inside the gym so far?

Keith: As far as in actual work out it’s probably ring muscle ups. That was a good day, with you were there.

Andrew: Yeah that was awesome!! Do you have any favorite quotes or motto’s that motivate you and keep you going through a tough workout?

Keith: Do your best in everything that you do. Basically it’s a saying that goes, what you plan today, what you invest today you will harvest in the future. So anything you do whether it’s working out, family, work whatever just put your all in and the results will show later on.

Andrew: Have you add any setbacks since starting?

Keith: Not yet, knock on wood.

Andrew: Besides those first couple of weeks…

Keith: The first week or so but no, no injuries. I had a sore back after some deadlifts, but I just ice it and I took it slow and try not to go too heavy with weights when it comes to deadlift because I know I have a tender back sometime so I do try to take that into consideration along with my form and a lot of my stuff.

Andrew: Do you have any tips for staying consistent and you are usually getting here at 6AM on daily basis, you’re a CPA so you have a busy job, you have a wife you have a kid…

Andrew: So what’s your secret?

Keith: For me it’s my personality, the way I am, when I commit to something or make a goal I stick to it. So I guess for people trying it out I would say just show up, everyone says it just show up. You show up, you listen to your coaches, you guys know a lot about CrossFit obviously, I’ve learned a lot from you guys. So I just basically show up and do the workouts and listen to what you guys have to say and push through. The first week is hard, the first two weeks is really tough and even the first month can be tough get through that it just becomes a routine, people are routine people and that’s what they do, they get in the routine and then it’s a part of your day and you basically go about your day so if you prefer in the morning to do your workouts to start your day, that’s what I prefer that’s what you do and then before you know it it’s like brushing your teeth.

Andrew: What do you love most about CrossFit Palm Beach?

Keith: Once again, I really want to say this all the time the family feel, but you guys are very tight knit. You guys to care for your members, I mean you guys are constantly walking around, you’re in the workouts giving little tips. I love when you guys are doing that because not only am I getting tips for myself but it’s when someone else beside me is working out I would listen to what you guys say and check that as well and make sure that I don’t do that. You guys really do care!!

Andrew: Last question, what advice do you guys have for a person who is just starting CrossFit or who is considering to start CrossFit, either one?

Keith: Just do it! Show up, do the workouts and I guarantee you once you start seeing results you are not going to want to turn back. It is a lifestyle and you don’t think that you can do it and it’s too much work, but once you give it a shot and realize that this is attainable or I can do this, it’s a good feeling.

Andrew: Awesome, thanks Keith. Congrats again.

Keith: Thank you, I appreciate it.