08 Jan This is my story
I am a learner, and I like to help others learn. I am a coach. I am a movement analyst. I am animal lover. I try to make my life about helping my others being more connected with their bodies so that they can connect better with the world. This is my story.
I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. After graduating from intensely academic oriented high school were sports were only extra-curricular and gym class a joke, I enrolled in College for a Bachellor’s in Mathematics. I loved numbers, was good with them, and loved the kind of social reverence, or cultural prestige that math gave me. Don’t get me wrong I was honestly interested in the intellectual pursuit of mathematics, that was my main drive, but it is never about just one thing, and I loved people believing I was smart. College was not high school, and I soon realized that your baggage only can take you so far. If I wanted to keep up with the best I had to study hard. And so I did. In doing so I realized a teacher can inspire you, guide you, and encourage you, but learning comes from you trying. Learning comes from failing over and over, until you break the wall. A math problem is solved when you find one route that works, but only after trying all the ones that don’t. This realization drove me from the numbers to the person, the joy was not in the problem was in the solving, in the drive, the persistence and the tension, in the personal challenge. As a result, something shifted inside me and I decided to study literature. I finished a Master Degree in Latin American literature that quickly turned into a PhD in Spanish at the University of Chicago.
At that point in my life, I drank and smoked religiously, and my only physical activity was drunk dancing. I lived the life of mind, and my relationship with my body was strictly sensual, pleasure or pain, nothing more. Unfortunately, you can read all the books in the world and still learn little, you can have immense academic success and achieve no wisdom. My poor eating, drinking and smoking habits soon caught up with me, and I had to realize in harsher ways that I would have wanted to, that the mind is the product of the body, there can be a body without mind, but there cannot be a mind without a body. I knew I needed to change. I decided to start exercising, I started going to the gym, following videos online, training myself. It was slow and choppy, but it was the one thing I was doing for myself that was not fueling my habits, and I think that’s why I kept doing it. There was not instant transformational magic, nor I started to feel better all of a sudden. I did enjoyed having something that seemed so far away from me, that it seemed unreachable, I enjoyed having the disbelieve of others. I enjoyed having to work hard to make the impossible real. The skinny, hyperintellectual math-book-loving guy would get fit. It sounds silly but there it was, that is how I got to escape from the wake and bake life I was living. I got to escape a lifestyle that was filling my body with smoke and leaving me empty.
I started to love moving, I applied what my academic endeavors had taught me, and so I read, researched, tried and failed. Soon enough I had developed a routine and my body was allowing me to do stuff I could not do before. And so I wanted more. Browsing the Internet I found this thing called CrossFit, it was a training methodology and it was open source, it looked cool and difficult. It mixed Olympic Weightlifting, Gymnastics and Cardio, it was old school and super innovative all at the same time, I liked it. I am a read the instructions first person, so I started with the Crossfit Training Guide. Reading this well written article was the first time I thought critically about moving, it was Fitness for Nerds, it was not a get a 6-pack in 90 days bullshit, it was not chicks-dig-biceps, or strength is for men, it was none of that, and it was awesome. I watched every instructional video on the crossfit.com website, the old ones, not the nice tidy ones we have now. if I was good at something it was at teaching myself: I can do this! Armed with a video camera, and a home made Barbell I taught myself how to deadlift, squat and clean. Back in the day CrossFit gyms were more scarce and finding a coach was rare, so I had to be my own coach. Fortunately for me I had my wise wife by my side, and so she pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me go find coaches and mentors, classes. Everything that I could take to perfect my craft, and that was beyond my habitual secluded academic self. I did, I took seminars, classes and certifications, and I still do and will do. Learning is personal, nobody can learn for you, but you can learn from others.
Change is viral, and soon enough a close friend of my wife came to me and wanted to do whatever is I was doing. She was very out of shape, she barely could power walk a mile. It was alright, when I started I could only squat a home made barbell that weighed 12 pounds. She believed in me and I believed in her and so I started training her. We both were hooked and she worked her ass off, I was there to watch it all. We ran her first 5k in a cold, cold january morning in the Chicago South Side. It was her first 5K and the first time I was there to really do something for somebody else that had required worked time and patience. We both won that day, the best 5 frozen kilometers I have ever ran. We are still good friends and train religiously on Sundays.
From then on I knew I wanted to keep training people and that is what I do. I moved my personal gym to my garage, where I train me and others now. I love my garage and the people that trained with me love it too. It is big enough to forge fitness, but it small enough to develop a solid coaching relationship that can get lost in bigger contexts. It is a playground for betterment, it is a platform for challenges and small victories. It is a training ground for life. Come and join me anytime you want.