Name: Juan Alfonso Blanco
Hometown: Queens, NY
CrossFitting Since: October 2009
Favorite Workout: Diane (21/15/9 reps for time: Deadlift [225#], HSPUs), because it incorporates deadlifts and handstand pushups – two of my favorite movements! That said, I injured my shoulder a year ago and haven’t been able to do the HSPUs as well as I used to.
What is your fitness background? What were you doing before CrossFit?
I’ve always been an active person. When I was younger, I played a lot of sports (soccer mainly, but also football and others!). I went through a triathalon phase for about a year and a half, trained at your run of the mill globo-gym, and also did velodrome bike racing.
Despite the fact that I was extremely active, I was overweight (weighing in at 280lbs!) which posed a serious issue for me both mentally and physically. I couldn’t figure out what else I needed to do to lose weight and become a healthier person.
How did you finally start Crossfitting?
One of my friends introduced me to it. I hadn’t seen him for about a half year when we met up and he looked great. I asked what he was doing and he simply replied “Crossfit”. He wouldn’t explain it to me – he just said that I had to try it for myself to understand. I gave it a go and never looked back.
How have you changed since starting CrossFit?
Prior to starting CrossFit, I was overweight, depressed, and my confidence was at an all time low. I was living a very negative lifestyle. After having somewhat of a “crossroads experience”, I acknowledged that I needed to make a change. Crossfit was the change I needed.
As a result of CrossFit, I’ve been able to achieve my weight loss goals, my confidence has improved tremendously, and I became inspired to share that experience with other people.
What made you want to become a coach?
For the first time in my life, I had faith in what I was doing. I wanted to inspire others by sharing my life-changing experience with CrossFit. If I was able to make such a positive change through CrossFit, then I knew I could get other people to believe in themselves, too.
What is the most rewarding thing about coaching?
I love watching my athletes grow. They challenge themselves and ultimately achieve things they thought they couldn’t. I love teaching and assuring my athletes that they have the abilities to not only achieve, but to surpass their fitness goals. There’s nothing more rewarding than being a coach at CrossFit Virtuosity.
Any favorite/best “Coaching Success Stories”?
Very early on in my coaching career, I had one of my colleagues (who had been coaching much longer than me) in my class. Initially, I got nervous that they were in my class. I thought they’d be judging my abilities as a coach and worried that I wasn’t good enough.
I decided that I wouldn’t think about it, went into my “coaching mode”, and taught class as I typically would. When the class ended, my colleague told me that I’m a great coach. It was very flattering to hear that from a colleague who I admire greatly as a coach.
What advice do you have for people just getting started?
Never be afraid to challenge yourself. Don’t give up. Don’t get overwhelmed. Believe in yourself!