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Meet the Coach: Tanner Stafford

The basics…

Name: Tanner Stafford, Coach Tanner, or Coach T

Age: 31

Hometown: Katy, Texas

Occupation: Environmental Specialist for Centerpoint Energy

Fitness Background: I was always in some sort of sport growing up, everything from football to cross country. Additionally, I’ve always enjoyed the weight room.

Onto CrossFit stuff…

When did you first try CrossFit? I tried CrossFit when I lived in Colorado in 2011, but just with my brother-in-law at a traditional CrossFit box. The gym we went to had a “CrossFit” area, but no formal class. Later, when I moved back to Texas, I bought the beginner package from Rogue Fitness.

What was your first CrossFit workout? Fran…when described to me by my brother-in-law, I thought it sounded easy enough. I was not ready. Simultaneously, it made me hate what just happened and realize that I had to get better at this “CrossFit” thing.

What made CrossFit stick over other types of workouts? I am a very competitive person, not only with other people, but with myself. If you have done a WOD with me, then you know what I am talking about. The aspect of competition brought me in initially, but the people made me stay. Our gym has a great group of people, and more come in all the time. It is all about the community.

Changes you’ve seen because of CrossFit? There are several changes that I have noticed since doing CrossFit, both physically and mentally. The most drastic physical change was my legs; I was simultaneously the king of the bench monkeys and the leader in skipping leg day. Now every day is leg day! Equally important to the physical stuff is the mental strength you develop getting through these workouts. It really exercises mind over body - your body can always push harder than you think it can. Additionally, I tend to stay more active than I once was. After doing CrossFit I really try and find ways to use my fitness outside of the gym.

Certifications you hold: CrossFit Level 1

What made you decide to start coaching? I started coaching because I really had a passion for helping people achieve their goals. I knew I had fun doing the workouts and I thought there was an opportunity for me to try and help other people enjoy CrossFit as much as I do. Also, I got so much out of it that I wanted to give back and get people motivated, and I thought coaching would be the best avenue for that.

What’s your favorite part of coaching? My favorite part of coaching is the people. In CrossFit the people you work out with become your fit family. Building relationships with people you are coaching is a must, and I enjoy that process. In order to get people to their goals I try to push them just beyond that point where they feel comfortable, because that is where the real change happens - both physically and mentally. Of course, seeing people hit PR’s is great too because you know… the gains! Haha.

How do you encourage people who are interested in trying CrossFit or Bootcamp, but are new to working out or intimidated by the workouts? I guess the saying that comes to mind is “CrossFit is made for everyone, but not everyone is made for CrossFit.” I believe that if you come in with an open mind and are ready to really change yourself, we are there and want you to succeed as much as you do. I try to encourage people by telling them that all of the movements that we have can be modified to fit your needs and restrictions, whether that means using a lighter weight, a modified movement due to mobility issues, or a different time domain if necessary. It also helps that the first week is free!! So there is literally nothing to lose other than some sweat and maybe a few cuss words.

What do you think makes CrossFit a unique workout? If you consider what you would receive from your standard “Globo gym” compared to CrossFit Elevate, the two shouldn’t even be defined as remotely similar. For one, when you walk into CrossFit Elevate, everyone either knows your name or will shortly introduce themselves and welcome you to the box. In the Globo gym setting, you are isolated with your ear buds in listening to your latest workout mix on loop trying to avoid human interaction for an hour or more. Secondly, CrossFit is a functional fitness training program. CrossFit is designed to help you in everyday tasks such as squatting, lifting things off the ground, pushing and pulling objects, etc. No amount of bicep curls are going to help you stand up after using the restroom when you get old. Additionally, you are essentially sharing an attentive and knowledgeable personal trainer who wants you to succeed for that hour. The amount of attention received and direction given would not be available to you in a Globo gym unless you hire a personal trainer. The great thing is that all you need to do is show up and grind it out and you will see results.

Favorite WoD: Fran, because it sucks, but it is a sprint.

Least favorite WoD: I think it is a tie between Open workout 16.4/17.4 and Open workout 16.5. They are both just demoralizing.

Favorite movement: Double unders or light barbell cycling movements

Least favorite movement/something that’s especially hard for you: Heavy snatch

What gets you through tough workouts? When I am in the middle of a tough workout it is the fact that if I finish the WOD faster I don’t have to be in pain anymore. Also, I need to beat everyone because I am competitive.

What keeps you motivated? I am a goals guy. I believe it is important to set many small goals in-between large goals to keep you moving in the right direction.

Proudest CrossFit moment: The proudest moment that I have are the few local CrossFit competitions that I’ve been able to complete. They are always a blast and it is fun to see where your fitness level is outside of the home gym.

If you could tell everyone one thing about CrossFit, what would it be? Do not be intimidated. Everyone at Elevate is welcoming and excited for you to succeed! Everything can be modified to fit your specific needs and limitations. Also, it is the best, most ass kicking workout that you will ever do.

Hobbies outside of CrossFit: Hunting, fishing, hiking… basically outdoor activities.

Why CrossFit Elevate? Elevate has been a place that has always had a relaxed attitude. Luke is a great owner/coach and takes the time to get to know everyone. Additionally, he is the most knowledgeable coach that I have ever had. Everyone there is easy to work with and is willing to help out however they can. Also, the programming is challenging for all levels and the workouts stay fresh! It is a great place to improve yourself and get a great sweat in while you do it.