Interview With A Crossfit Coach

Interview With A Crossfit Coach

Last week I posted my thoughts on Crossfit, and in response to my post, Ryan Graveline made an insightful response to the article and it only made sense for me to feature him on my blog…..

Ryan is a successful Crossfit coach at Crossfit Southside in Jacksonville, FL.

Ryan and I actually played in middle school Jazz band together, well over 10 years ago. He’s moved beyond the trumpet and is now improving peoples lives in the fitness industry. Here is my interview with Ryan.

How did you get started with Crossfit? I know you were an athlete growing up, what led to this?

About six years ago I moved to Florida to pursue a career as a Punter in the NFL. While I was training I was introduced to CrossFit by my boss at the gym I was working at. I did a couple workouts and thought it was hard, different, and the more I read about it the more interested I became.

What fuels your passion for fitness and keeps you going?
I’ve always been active with sports or fitness from a young age and regardless whether it’s CrossFit, Sports or something else, I’d constantly have that itch to be doing something. CrossFit happens to fit a lot of the things I’m interested in fitness wise like power lifting, olympic lifting, and things I’m not so good at like basic gymnastics.
Since there is so much involved in CrossFit movements wise, there’s always something new to work on so that helps keep me motivated. Otherwise I like the competition aspect of it and whether I’m pushing to not let somebody catch up to me, or have my sights on someone whose a little ahead of my, I’m constantly pushed by the community to be better.
What is your current diet like?
Currently I eat pretty clean meaning good sources of protein, vegetables, fruits, and good sources of fat. I probably eat more fruit than I should, purely out of convenience and being lazy, but if I wanted to have better results physique wise, I know what to get rid of first.
What is your favorite exercise? 
I really enjoy the Olympic Lifts (Clean and Jerk + Snatch). They were challenging for me at first because they involve so much technique and I only knew brute strength at the time.
What is your least favorite exercise?
I think my least favorite thing to do it Run. There’s not a ton of running involved with CrossFit, and the running we do is relatively short. I see the value in it, and know if I improved my running I would improve a lot of other things… but I just hate it.
editors note: I also hate running, unless it’s in a sport or a short sprint, other than that…it sucks.
What are common mistakes you see people making in the gym?
I think the biggest mistakes people make in the gym is trying to hard. I know that’s weird to say, but almost of the movements involved in CrossFit are natural in the sense that their compound movements people do everyday (squat, press, deadlift & variations of). So even though there’s a ton of mechanics and it’s important to understand them, your body is designed to do this stuff, so instead of moving like a robot try to feel the movement out and what makes sense. We’re all different if you think of the geometry of our bodies like knee angles when you squat, hip angles when you deadlift etc. Understanding yourself and what feels right for you is sometimes something a coach can’t tell you, and it takes diligence to figure yourself out.
Any final words?
CrossFit is a great program and encompasses a lot when it comes to fitness. I think because it’s so different it’s easy to try to poke holes in it and only look for the flaws. At the end of the day you have to just level with people, regardless of their fitness perspective and just be happy they’re doing something. It’s not your job to worry about what other people are doing, only when they step into your world is it your concern, and when that happens hopefully you know how to teach them properly!
If you’re down in Jacksonville, be sure to check out Crossfit Southside and ask for Ryan Graveline.