CFSBK Athlete of the Month: Dan Halioua
Fall is here and the new season announces a new CFSBK Athlete of the Month as well. It’s fitting that we chose Dan Halioua this month, since he’s a real sports fanatic and October has a lot to be happy about as a sports fan. The long wait for football is over, hockey is getting started, and of course Dan’s (and my own) favorite... October Yankee baseball! (sorry Sox fans, haha) We thought he was a great choice for a variety of reasons, but his commitment to improving his biggest weakness, mobility (or lack thereof), is the stand out. In addition to spending time in Active Recovery and DIYing mobility work for at least 15 minutes before and/or after classes, Dan has also really proven himself to be a heavier hitter than I had expected him to be. He’s been a great addition to the SBK Competition Team both in terms of performance and all around camaraderie. I got to interview Dan the day of the big fire down the block from the gym, let’s hope that’s not any kind of omen.
Fox - Hey, man...You’re the next athlete of the month!
DH3 - Wow, thanks man! That’s pretty awesome. I didn’t see that coming.
Fox - Well, here it is! Let’s get started? How did you first start CrossFit, and how did you come to CFSBK in particular?
DH3 - A buddy of mine, Guy, was training for the NYC Firefighters exam and had started doing CrossFit. I had joined him and some buddies in doing random hero WODs at the local NYSC. I had been working out for years doing the regular, you know bench, bis and tris, CrossFit was radically different. I liked it but then fell off the wagon for a while. Finally in August of 2010 Julia (Dan’s fiancee) and I signed up for Foundations and from then on I was hooked. I hadn’t intended on staying at the gym, I figured I’d do it on my own, but I decided to lay down the cash and join.
Fox - Cool, we’re glad you did! Why did you stay?
DH3 - It was a combination of things. The variety of the workouts, the competitiveness, the coaching, and the friendly people. The workouts weren’t the same old, same old I had been doing before. And the competitiveness was all around, from studs to pregnant moms-to-be! There’s a lot of levels of people here to chase, guys and gals who are beasts in their own right. I’m impressed by that. CFSBK has become the place in my life where I can come and unwind with cool people. People who are diverse but share a common goal to be healthy both physically and mentally. I really appreciate that part of it, aside from the physical benefits I get.
Fox - Well said, and we do have some baddass preggers working out in here from year to year! Tell me about some of the other benefits you’ve experienced since joining CFSBK.
DH3 - I play basketball and softball and I’ve noticed improvement in both sports I have some more ups on the court, I feel quicker all around, and I regained my stamina. I used to be able to play a few back-to-back games but had gotten really out of shape. Now I can do that again. Also, during the Paleo Challenge from last year, I severely cut back my coffee habit. I was hitting like 6 cups a day and they were more like sugar (up to 10 tsps, Dan told me) and cream with a little coffee. Now I have just a few cups a day and they’re black. I also learned that it was OK, even good, to enjoy red meat. I was in that Paleo Challenge to win it so I went hard at it. I was also pretty happy with the body composition changes that I made. (Dan is being modest. It was really hard to pick winners. If based solely on BC changes Dan would have been a clear winner). Doing the CrossFit Games Open Sectionals and Subway Series was pretty great also. I can’t wait until 2012. I just want to do better than 2011.
Fox - Let’s hear a bit about you outside of the fitness realm. What do you do?
DH3 - I currently work in online advertising where I basically sell sponsorship space for my company (Sorry, Dan gave the ‘non-basic’ version too, but I have no idea what half the words were). I went to school for TV production and worked in that industry for a few years, long enough to develop some unhealthy lifestyle habits. I don’t see going back to that again but I did meet Julia at SUNY so that makes it a worthwhile degree! In the future I’d actually like to do some kind of social work. I’d like to help under served people.
Fox - Any interesting hobbies?
DH3 - Well I’m a hip-hop junkee. The “Golden Era” of hip-hop from the early 90’s through the early 2000’s is my time. Outkast, Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, East Coast and Southern hip-hop, that’s what I love. I contribute to my friends hip-hop blog from time to time as well. I learned about rock (and drinking) up at college at SUNY where I got really into Radiohead, and still love them. I’m also addicted to a few TV dramas. The Wire is the best thing that has ever been on television, hands down. Breaking Bad and First 48 are also pretty sick. As some folks know also I’m also a bit of a fantasy sports junkee. I started the CFSBK league and it’s been pretty fun so far. I don’t know when the heck Dan Evans* takes classes though, do you?
Fox - Dan, I’m not positive but I think you’re the first born and bred New Yorker to be an AOM. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only native New Yorker in Park Slope! Tell me about growing up here in BK.
DH3 - Yeah, man, I grew up right here in Park Slope on 6th street between 5th and 6th avenues. I’m the product of a Brooklyn mom, a Moroccan dad, and a working class neighborhood. I grew up playing wiffle ball, hanging out with friends in the streets, spending time in Prospect Park...I’ve seen that park and the neighborhood as a whole go through some changes. There was a time when 5th avenue was not a cool place to be and if you were going to Mr Video it wasn’t to rent a movie if you know what I mean. I’d have to say that the park is my favorite thing about where I live and grew up. From concerts, BBQs, little league, it’s an amazingly diverse park populated by amazingly diverse people. I love that I can go there and feel like I’m away from everything, too.
Fox - I love that place too and it’s a big reason Jess and I moved to the nabe. Alright, last question. Tell me what we should look for in a future Athlete of the Month.
DH3 - Someone who is true to their goals, sets a goal and attacks it. That goal board is one of the best things in this gym. And any athlete of the month should also be someone who has fun and smiles. It’s nice to workout in a place where so may people are smiling at any given moment.
Thanks to Dan for sitting in traffic to meet with me in the smokey confines of the CFSBK office, and for being a great addition to the community. It’s been nice getting to know him and it’s nice to be able to acknowledge the hard work he has put in in order to get better. We look forward to having you here with us.
*Note - If you see Dan standing by watching Dan Evans or another member of the gym clean up his weights it’s not that he’s gone bizarro, it’s just that he won that week in the gym fantasy football league. Spoils to the victor, and all.
Dan thinks future AOTMs should be people who set and then attack their goals. So what goals are you going to achieve in October?