NFL Combine Bench Press Test
Max Reps at:
RX – 225/125
Scaled – A) 185/95, B) 155/75, or C) 135/65
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Death By Burpee
At the call of “GO”, perform 1 burpee. Every minute on the minute thereafter add 1 burpee until you can no longer keep up with the clock.
Your score is the round that you cleared plus any burpees you completed before the start of the next minute.
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- Don’t forget to submit your Open scores for 15.4 by 8pm tonight!!
- CFSBK’s Hoopin’ Tacos have a game tonight at 7:45pm at John Jay. Come cheer them on!
Underneath The Hoodie: Arturo Ruiz
By Kate Reece
Weight: 185 pounds
DOB: September 19, 1975
Born and raised: Born in Puerto Rico, raised in Antigua
Place of higher learning: Alfred University
It all began in the Caribbean, on a tiny sun-drenched island called Antigua. The island stretches only 108 square-miles, the blue sky a vast dome disappearing into the kind of water that is clear as glass. Arturo Ruiz was raised in the 70s and 80s in Antigua mostly by his grandmother Rose, a strict Catholic woman, whose own parents emigrated from Lebanon at the end of the nineteenth century. He was born in Puerto Rico but when he was still a baby, his Antiguan mother divorced his half-Italian, half-Puerto-Rican father and moved Arturo back to the house where she had grown up. In 1981, when Arturo was five or six, his mother decided to move to New York. She considering taking him, but decided along with Rose that he should remain in school, at an all-boys Catholic school called St. Joseph’s Academy.
That house, where Arturo lived with just Rose and his uncle Bernard, was minutes from the beach. As he grew up, he became responsible for mowing the acre of grass that made up the backyard. He pushed the heavy mower around an old guesthouse and crumbling bandstand, where bands from around the island used to play into the late hours of the night. The government would occasionally shut water off due to shortages, and Arturo was also responsible for carrying rainwater that had collected in their underground cistern back into the house.
Rose, whom Arturo’s family called Granny, woke up early on Sunday mornings to begin cooking a large spread of Lebanese food—cabbage rolls, kibbe (crushed wheat, minced onions, and beef she’d ground herself), and stuffed grape leaves. She packaged it into containers that everyone in the family picked up after they’d had breakfast at his aunt Bernadette’s home, and they would all go the beach afterwards to windsurf or wakeboard. Arturo’s closest friends were his cousins—Yusef, Raymond, Stephen, Maurice, Toufik, Phillip, and half a dozen more—and living on an island meant that he saw them almost every day. His cousins always seemed to be running around and getting into trouble, but not Arturo. Rose was a kind woman, but she was strict: he didn’t get to play until his work was done, no questions and no exceptions.
That’s not to say he didn’t have fun. After studying and finishing his chores, Arturo passed the time dreaming about the annual Carnival, hanging out with his girlfriend Monique (she attended a neighboring all girls’ school), and riding motorcycles on Antigua’s long dirt trails with his cousins. The bikes offered them independence, a way to get around the island without their parents. Yusef and Raymond had a Yamaha Big Wheel, with fat knobby tires, three-gears, and no clutch, which was the first bike Arturo ever rode. He loved the euphoric feeling of freedom he experienced alongside the adrenaline that came from riding fast. As the boys grew older, that bike was exchanged for a CR80, then a 125, and eventually a 500. They were riding road bikes by his last couple years of secondary school (Antigua’s version of high school). Arturo also loved to draw—mainly graffiti and various figures. He drew every paper sign that needed to be made for his family or in school.
Arturo had visited his mother in Brooklyn a number of times over his summer breaks from school. She’d had another son, named Anwar, when Arturo was eight, and the two had become fast friends during his visits. When Arturo graduated in 1993, he knew exactly where he was headed. Soon after arriving, the culture shock began and lasted for the greater part of the next couple years. Arturo doesn’t remember anything notable about the five tattoos he accumulated that summer at a shop called Kaleidoscope in lower Manhattan, but don’t ask him what they mean. He got them back when you didn’t get tattoos because they “meant something.”
He soon left the city for a design university in Alleghany County where he began his degree in graphic arts—which means upstate New York is where he first encountered snow and what people mean by the word “freezing.” He spent time hovered over the washing machines in the dorms, trying to put his mother’s crash course in doing laundry to good use. He ate more Ramen noodles than he cares to remember, and would look askance at his friends when they tried to coax him out of the library to party. How many times did he need to remind them that he was paying for his entire education? It was the mid-90s, when AOL was a big deal, and he laughs now when he talks about studying HTML and Photoshop.
It took him five years to graduate, and as soon as he did, he bought his first motorcycle, a Suzuki GSXR—the kind of bike that’s meant to be noticed. It was 1998—the year of the Jonesboro shooting, Michael Jordan’s last game as a Chicago Bull, and Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress. Arturo says he went “a little bit nuts.” He took to racing in Loudon, New Hampshire and Bridgehampton, on Long Island. One day, the guy who had painted his bike asked to use it for a photo shoot at the Sound Factory Bar. Arturo came to the photo shoot, and the club’s owner asked him to ride his bike—through the club. Arturo blinked a few times, shrugged, and hopped on. He left that night with his bike, and a job as a bartender. So at age 22, in the early hours of the morning in the city that never sleeps, he started slinging cocktails under bright lights behind the bar of one of the hottest clubs in Manhattan, music playing at decibels that made his stomach vibrate. He only worked Friday and Saturday nights, pulling in a minimum $1,000 cash. “I thought, Who’s better than me?” he says. “Nobody.”
One of Arturo’s co-workers began telling him about Muay Thai, a combat sport that originated in Thailand. Arturo had grown up fighting with his cousins and he was intrigued. He soon started training three to four hours a day, six days a week, at various gyms around the city. He fell in love immediately. He particularly appreciated that Muay Thai wasn’t a team sport, that it was just him against one other person, and the best person always won. All the aphorisms that summarized the lessons he soon learned through fighting aligned perfectly with the way he approached life, and with what his grandmother had taught him: The work you put in is the work you’re going to get out. You are in control of your destiny. For every action, there’s a reaction. Get out there and execute, or bad things are going to happen. No excuses. The punches that hurt the most are the ones you don’t see coming.
A kru (Muay Thai coach or teacher) he was training with soon approached him and invited him to start fighting. Arturo didn’t hesitate. His first “smoker” was at Chok Sabai Gym, a historic Muay Thai gym in Manhattan. Arturo says he was nervous as hell, his stomach aflutter with butterflies. His headgear drowned out the sound of the audience and when the bell rang, he began pacing around his opponent. He still remembers that first time getting punched in the face—all his nerves melted away. “People can look good hitting pads,” he explains, “but shit changes when you get punched in the face.” For Arturo, shit changed for the better. He was undefeated throughout his amateur career. He also participated in a few amateur MMA fights out of Club Abyss in New Jersey (the cage stuff), and won each of those.
He spent a couple years fighting at Friday Night Fights and more-or-less being paid to party like it was (wait for it…) 1999. He took trips to UltraFest in Miami that turned into staying up for a week straight, and cruised to the desert for Burning Man in a well-stocked Winnebago. But soon, he was closing in on 30, and he started to feel like maybe it was time to grow up. He’d met a lot of people from his vantage point behind the bar at the Sound Factory, and one of his regulars, a car wholesaler, invited him to put his degree to use and become the Internet Manager of Bay Ridge Automotive Group. Arturo said yes.
As he often did in new situations, he spent time quietly assessing how he could add value, and then mastered his role quickly. It was now early 2000, and Arturo knew the Internet was beyond “You’ve got mail!” and had become a more nimble tool for doing business. He started by installing a number of computers at the Lexus dealership where he was stationed, and was soon soliciting and conducting business almost entirely by email. He sent dozens of photos to his clients, facilitating the sale of around 30 cars each month. Lexus was so successful that Arturo was asked to visit dealerships in the city in order to install computers and teach their employees how to use the Internet. He stayed in this job for almost seven years but eventually left out of frustration with how much the company was making off his work, without compensating him in a way he thought was appropriate.
Arturo had been dating a bartender he’d met at a club in the city for a few years, and his whole world shifted when their daughter, Chloe, was born in 2006. But it wasn’t just Chloe’s birth that changed things—when she was 18 months old, for various reasons, Arturo suddenly became a single parent. His own father had vanished after the divorce, and Arturo was determined not to make the same mistake. He and Anwar decided to get a three-bedroom apartment together, and they both began raising Chloe. Arturo has no complaints about the fact that he had to give up his daily training regimen and nights out for the new responsibility. He’ll tell you the easy truth that she’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
Since he’d recently left his job, he made the choice not to work as a single father for a little over a year. He’d always been frugal and saved money, so the uninterrupted time became a sweet gift as he hung out with his toddler. But one day, after yet another phone call from a friend, or friend of a friend, who asked him to help them train, he decided it was time to make some money off his experience and intelligence as an athlete. Anwar and their mother helped with Chloe as Arturo began training private clients. He was soon working 160 personal training sessions a month out of a 24-Hour Fitness in Manhattan, sometimes leaving at 7am and not returning home until 10pm. It was hard work but just as he’d loved developing relationships with regulars at the Sound Factory or customers at the car dealership, he loved helping his clients change their lives through exercise.
He figured he would train people for a short time before moving on to something else. But then, in 2011, he found CrossFit, and soon after, CrossFit South Brooklyn. He earned his Level 1 shortly after finishing Foundations at a gym in Manhattan (ask him how he feels about the fact that the gym made him take the classes), and trained at a few gyms before poking around online in February 2012 to see if there was a gym closer to where he was living on Bond Street. “Get outta here—Degraw Street?” he said to himself. “Between 3rd and 4th Avenue?” As soon as he walked in, he immediately felt comfortable and welcomed. He quickly became one of the gym’s top athletes, and David approached him a few months later and told him they were looking for a new coach. Arturo easily said yes. (It’s worth mentioning that he knew he was home after the Anniversary Party in 2012.)
Of course, nothing is ever only one thing. Despite the serendipitous shift in his career, the last few years have not been easy. Two years ago, Arturo traveled back to Antigua for the first time in 20 years to join the rest of his family in saying goodbye to his grandmother. Then, last July, his life changed again, in the middle of another trip to Antigua, when a cousin called to tell him that Anwar had died in a car accident. Arturo had seen his grandmother’s death coming, but his brother’s death was one of those punches he couldn’t have anticipated, and he struggles to wrap his mind around it. He will be 40 years old this fall—still a son, and in the thick of being a father. He doesn’t fight anymore and while he continues to carry the lessons that crystallized for him in the ring, those lessons have been tempered a bit by life’s mystery, and unfairness. And yet: You get out of things what you put in. No excuses.
How he likes his eggs: over medium
Favorite lift: snatch
Something he’d like CFSBK members to know: He doesn’t purposely match his outfits.