3 Position Power Snatch:
Every 2:00 seconds for 7 sets
Mid-hang>Below-the-Knee>1″. Aim to work sets across at 60-70% with no misses. Keep these crisp, focusing on timing and speed. Press outs are misses. If you miss any set you must drop weight.
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Week 3 of 6
5 Rounds or 20 Minutes:
:15-:30e Single Arm Plank
5e Pistol Squats or Goblet Box Step-Ups
10 Dual Dumbbell Cuban Presses
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January Athlete of the Month: James Franch
As told to Chris Fox
New decade, new Athlete of the Month! James has travelled a unique path to the sport of fitness, as you’ll learn about below. His ever present smile and friendliness, not to mention his work ethic and improved capacity over the few years he’s been training at CFSBK, make him a shoe-in for the honor. I really enjoyed learning a little bit about what inspires this particular human, and hope you will too.
When and why did you begin your journey to CrossFit South Brooklyn? What were you doing fitness-wise prior?
I was watching the 2016 Olympics and I realized I always wanted to do something like that, but before I didn’t have the work ethic to do so, or to really even imagine it was possible. Because of the musical theatre program I went to for college, I developed a lot of self-discipline and started thinking about goals for my life, things I wanted but never thought I could achieve, and in time began doing CrossFit. Before CrossFit I was mostly doing body building and lots of ballet during college.
You’re in the right place! We do have a few Olympians training inside the walls at 597 and 608 Degraw. What were your initial impressions of the CFSBK environment?
The first thing I saw was the rainbow flag, and that made me feel really comfortable as a member of the LGBTQ community.
We place creating a safe, inclusive environment very high up on our list of values. The flags we hang are symbolic of that fact. Glad we made you feel at home, and we hope many more people feel the same way. What was your “athletic” background prior to dance?
I was fourth in the world at Guitar Hero in the eighth grade. So I had finger dexterity and rhythm in spades. I did two seasons of track in high school, running the 800 (PR 2:06) and the mile (PR 4:57). I used to blackout after races and get horrible cramps because I wasn’t fueling myself the way I should have been.
The truth is that I was dealing with an eating disorder at the time and that’s why resisting societal beauty standards is so important to me now. People rant and rave about big muscles and being skinny and how attractive people are, and it causes young chunky kids like me to starve themselves. Instead, we should obsess over how kind and generous people are rather than how they look. And we should have better education on nutrition in schools!
So beautifully said, James, and I couldn’t agree more. It seems we could all benefit from practicing more compassion toward ourselves and others, and a few more servings of veggies! Glad you’ve found yourself and are on a healthier path today. Also, holy cow you were fast! Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. My mom is a pastor, and I grew up in the Presbyterian church. That’s why I am a strong Christian today. But it made it difficult to be bisexual. I didn’t know that anyone thought it was wrong for so long. I remember being shocked when I realized some people weren’t okay with it in high school and in church. In my study of the Bible and all my research, LGBTQ people and relationships were capable of just as much goodness and love and generosity, fundamental Christian values. And I am glad to have found a place to live where there are churches, gyms, and communities that know this to be true. It’s allowing me to grow and flourish into a better, happier, more productive person!
And we’re fortunate to get to see glimpses of that flourishing! How’d you end up in Brooklyn?
I went to NYU Tisch’s New Studio on Broadway for Musical Theatre for undergrad, and that’s where I met my wife Emily. We got married right after graduation (my mom officiated the wedding) and moved in with my sister and her husband in downtown Brooklyn. We help take care of their son (our nephew and godson and cutest baby ever) Miro. My brother also lives in the city, and soon my parents are going to have a place here as well, which will be so awesome. I have plans for the whole Franch family to live together someday in a supportive communal compound…mwahahaha.
Communal family compound, heh? Have you seen the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country? Ah, nevermind…How do you spend your days?
I usually work out at Open Gym mid-mornings. Then I walk the dogs, do the laundry, clean the house, cook, and nanny for my awesome sister… #communal living. After that I do podcast related duties: edit audio, compose music, plan storylines, research dialects for characters, and generally mumble a lot to myself, freaking my wife out terribly. I am a member of The Brothers Pimm, and we host an audio drama podcast focused on fast-paced, cinematic storytelling, mystery and intrigue. Join us every Wednesday for the latest installment of City Limits! It’s one part high-flying superhero action, one part hard-boiled gumshoe noir, and a whole lot of fun. I’m getting to use my theatre degree and get better at storytelling in a very exciting medium! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter or search for City Limits wherever you get your podcasts to get started listening! Also, I eat six times a day just like my nutritionist tells me to, which takes up more time than one might imagine 🙂
Man, sounds like you regularly have pretty packed days. Do you have any time for hobbies other than CrossFit?
I like video games and anime and Rupaul’s Drag Race and board games and asking my wife to paint my nails (I’ll learn someday!) Also, and most importantly, I like to tussle with my little rescue dog, a chihuahua named Bampo.
Bampo is always a big hit when he shows up in that carrier! If you could place an ad in the NYC subway system, or on a huge billboard in Brooklyn that people would see every day, what would it say?
“Honesty with compassion.” This slogan has made my marriage the most wonderful gift of my whole life, and has led me to truly knowing myself and how I can best help serve not only my wife, but the world. We should tell the truth to one another, but come from a place of love. It doesn’t do anyone good to live in ignorance, but it doesn’t help if you scream and call people stupid while you try to educate them.
So well said again. Thank you. What were your initial health and fitness goals, and what did you struggle with at first? Or, what are you most proud of for improving?
My fitness goal upon starting CrossFit was to make it to the CrossFit Games, and it still is! But I’ve always struggled with strength. Strict Handstand Push-Ups are still a huge struggle. I never thought I would be able to do a Strict Muscle-Up or Handstand Walk, and while I’m still not great at either of those skills, I’m so proud of how far I’ve come! I couldn’t Snatch 95 pounds when I began 3 years ago and this year I snatched 225! CrossFit has taught me patience, diligence, and to enjoy this very, very long process (which hopefully will lead me to the CrossFit Games!)
What piece of advice would you offer to someone just starting CrossFit?
If you don’t have a lot of money, do a lot of research, and watch a lot of videos before you begin. The most important thing is to try not to get injured! I’ve learned a lot through injuries, but would I have rather learned through any other means? Yes. Injuries will happen. Go to a good physical therapist, even if it bankrupts you. Keep moving.
What keeps you coming back to CFSBK?
The nice people! It’s a bummer when I come to open gym and I have the whole place to myself. I enjoy working out alongside the Fit 55+ class. They inspire me to try to get my parents moving so I can have them around for longer!
What qualities are important to you for a future AOM?
That the next Athlete of the Month is Emily Franch, my wife and future queen of the world. No one else will do.