January 2018 Athlete of the Month
Congratulations to Ken Helgren for being selected as January 2018 Athlete of the Month. Ken has been one of the most hardworking athletes over the last 18 months. You can usually find Ken arriving early to class and staying late to work on his favorite ,…mobility. He has made amazing changes just by dialing in his nutrition. He is always encouraging to his fellow athletes and has become a great part of the Mission community. For those reasons and many more he is deserving of Athlete of the Month.
Started CrossFit: My first ever drop in was June 10th, 2016 at Mission
Favorite WOD: 12 Days of Christmas
Least favorite WOD: Josh (I’m weak on overhead squats)
Favorite lift: Overhead squats (because I don’t do them well but will one day)
Least favorite lift: Overhead squats (yes…this is a love/hate relationship)
Story: I’d like to first say how surprised I was to hear I was selected to be the athlete of the month. At first I thought the email was a mistake until I received a text stating the same. Disbelief ran through my mind as there are so many amazing athletes and wonderful people at Mission who are more deserving. To be singled out among this crowd is truly an honor I can only repay with continued passion for CrossFit and Mission.
My CrossFit journey should have started years ago. A close friend of mine and Mission Coach (Amy) encouraged me for years to give CrossFit a try. Coach Amy observed first hand my futile efforts spending 2+ hours a day in a gym without obtaining the results I sought. Although I personally observed Coach Amy’s amazing physical transformation and her soaring confidence as a result of CrossFit, I did not make the correlation. Coach Amy was the health and fitness role model I wanted to emulate so I asked her the secret to her success. Of course she said “CrossFit” but I guess I was not ready to accept that my workouts were ineffective. However, in 2016, as I reflected on my health, my fitness, and my goals, I knew what I was doing was not working. Call me stubborn. I finally decided to drop-in to see what CrossFit was all about. About an hour later, as I lay on the floor in a pool of my sweat starring at the ceiling, I realized CrossFit is exactly what was missing in my life. I was 48 years old with all the pain, wear and tear, and limited range of motion that comes with a 22+ year Military career and poor form. I knew I wanted to be part of this life-changing community and accepted that I had considerable work ahead of me to achieve my goals.
My first goal was to transform my body composition and live a healthy lifestyle. I thought my goal to reduce my body fat below 15% in 12 months was a bit aggressive. Thanks to CrossFit and dramatically changing how I think about food I achieved my goal of less than 15% body fat in 6 months. As I reflect on “how” I achieved this goal I quickly realized is was a community effort. The coaching staff at mission is phenomenal. The continuous advice, form corrections, and recommendations tailored so I can achieve my next PR has helped immeasurably. My fellow athletes are a constant source of inspiration. In every WOD I’m surrounded by amazing people trying to be their very best, non-judgmental, and always offering a word of encouragement when a WOD seems too challenging to conquer. An unexpected benefit of being part of this incredible community is that I no longer need Statins to control my Cholesterol. After 10 years using prescription Statins to control cholesterol, and only 8 months into my CrossFit journey, my Doctor informed me I no longer needed Statins. Even better, after 6 months of Statin-free living and 14 months into my CrossFit journey, my Cholesterol is still well under control.
My experience with CrossFit and Mission has made me a bit of an evangelical. I’ll tell my story to anyone who will listen and encourage all I encounter to give Mission a try. The coaches are the best, the programming is challenging, the athletes are the most wonderful people you’ll ever meet (you know this of course), and the results are life-changing. As I approach my 50th Birthday and 18 months into my CrossFit journey, I know this is just the beginning as I have much work to do. For every success, like bar muscle-ups, there are challenges. I have yet to conquer DUs, HSPUs, and OHS. These, and many other goals are on my horizon. Through CrossFit and the Mission community I know there is no goal I cannot achieve. I joined this community to be a better me. I may not always bring my “A Game” but I continue to make progress. I hit another PR on my first 2018 WOD and look forward to many more. I’m in better shape now then I was at 40 or even 30 years old. I’m looking forward to turning 50 in a couple months and hitting more PRs in 2018. You’ve helped me realize my dream of being a better me and for that I thank each of you. I promise to pay it forward as I continue my CrossFit journey with the wonderful coaches and athletes at Mission. I hope you all enjoy considerable success and good health in 2018. Go Mission!!