“The friends I’ve made on the journey – six AM folks are a tight crew and for me I need the personal connections to be satisfied.  Hands down. On the fitness realm – I feel better at 43 than I did at 23 or 33.”

Congratulations to Randy, our latest Cypher Athlete Spotlight!


Cypher: What were you doing to stay in shape before you started Cypher?

I was an aspiring cyclist.  I never raced and was more stoked on endurance rides and rode centuries all over Northern California.  I rode Levi’s Gran Fondo three times (103 miles, 9000 ft of climbing) and finished the California Tour of the Alps in 2013 (129 miles, 15,000 ft of climbing).   While training for death ride, I worked out with a personal trainer and went to ahem, Planet Fitness.  It was 10 dollars a month and if you went with a plan at 4:30 am, it wasn’t so bad.

Cypher: What do you do for work?

I’m the General Manager of Alameda Natural Grocery and the Alameda Marketplace.  We are an independently owned natural foods store in the island city of Alameda.  I love my job and always use the analogy of the natural foods industry being the land of misfit toys (those of us that don’t fit in professionally elsewhere can find success in natural foods).

Cypher: How did you hear about Crossfit Cypher and CrossFit?

I was friends with Molly M. IRL and on Facebook. She was always posting photos and talking about WODs and strength training.  I sent her a message asking more questions and went to a garage sale at her house to talk in person (she loaned me her copy of Becoming a Supple Leopard).  I intentionally met her at Cypher to return it to her so I could return the book, watch a class and have someone introduce me to the coach – for me this was much easier than cold calling.  I signed a waiver and paid for my On-Ramp that day.

Cypher: Describe your first day participating in a CrossFit workout. Do you remember what the WOD was? What was it like, and what were your thoughts when you left the gym?

I don’t remember what my first workout but I do remember being nervous.  Darlene was also in my On-Ramp group and I didn’t have to do a lot of talking.  I thought I was in good shape just coming off of Death Ride but quickly learned bike fitness is very different than CrossFit.

When I left the gym, I knew I would be back and this was going to become a consistent part of my life.  The same way I did with cycling – except the gear I needed was less expensive.  I was sore, still nervous but couldn’t wait to come back.

I need to backtrack because I like a good story.  After my first week I went for a longish bike ride on a Saturday morning – about 60 miles.  That night I was getting my daughter ready for bed and my back started to hurt (I thought I pulled a muscle on the ride).  About 20 minutes later I knew I had a kidney stone and needed go to the ER – 10 minutes later I was laying on my front lawn in agony.  Long story short, after multiple surgeries, I had to take 8 weeks off due to complications.  Bummer.  This is also happened again a year later – but I got away with only two weeks off.
Cypher: What has been the most challenging part of CrossFit for you?
Oh man, where do I start with this one.  I technically fall into the “masters’ end of the spectrum (I will be 44 this summer).  Some of the movement we do have not come naturally to me and it’s taken a ton of work to get to the place I am now.  Sometimes this feels shitty when you see the young bloods and their rapid progression.  Most of the time I don’t care.

What has been the most rewarding part of CrossFit for you?

The friends I’ve made on the journey – six AM folks are a tight crew and for me I need the personal connections to be satisfied.  Hands down.

On the fitness realm – I feel better at 43 than I did at 23 or 33.

Cypher: What is one of your most memorable CrossFit PRs or milestones? What did it feel like when you did it?

I’m a notorious “Hatch Squatter” and recommend the process to anyone who wants to improve their Back and Front Squat.  I hit two milestones in December and February – 245 lb Back Squat and a 235 lb Pause Back Squat.  At the time I was bummed because I missed at 250 and my gains on this are so damned incremental – like 10 lbs per cycle.  I will take it for sure and was stoked about it, I never thought I be able to do this in my 40’s.
Cypher: What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CrossFit?
My intent when I started was for CrossFit to make me a well rounded cyclist.  Riding fell off the radar when the logistics of my kid starting a new school interfered so I never got to test that theory out.

If anything, I’m consistent.  I haven’t lost or gained a damned pound since I started.  I can’t eat Paleo, doctors orders – I tried doing CrossFit vegetarian for a month, that was hard too.  I am constantly hungry.

Changes in Health and Fitness:  Better mobility, better functional awareness (how to lift properly in real life), stronger for sure.

Cypher: What encouragement or words of advice would you give to new people coming in?

Show up on time, listen to your coaches, ask questions.  Think your question is silly?  Ask anyways.  Don’t want to ask in front of the class?  Send your coach an email.  Hatch, then Hatch again and again.  Do the supplemental work if you have time – weighted sit-ups, work on your weaknesses (I say this knowing full well that I still can’t do a double under).  Ask more questions.

All things in moderation – I totally get eating good food to support the hard work we put in.  I’m also not going to miss out on an ice cream cone with my daughter or a slice of pizza with friends.

Be consistent. Show up at Open Gym.  Drop in at other boxes when traveling, do travel WODs if that doesn’t suit you (my fave is sit ups, push ups, air squats – perfect for hotel rooms, your parents basement or a bike path in the woods in Michigan).

Cypher: You have been with us for quite some time (almost 3 years and 356 classes), and are a regular at 6AM! What’s you secret for staying consistent for so long in the early morning?

Mostly out of necessity.  It’s hard for me to come at any other time – if you have a 5AM class, I would be there and stay until 7.  I also have a routine – I get up at 4:50, make my kid’s lunch and my wife’s coffee, that’s part of the trade off to come that early is to get the morning train moving before I leave the house.


Cypher: What are some of your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of the gym? Any fun facts your gym-mates might not know about you?

I just bought a new helmet so I could start riding my bike again.  I still buy records and have a turntable at home and another on my desk at work.  My daughter is my greatest accomplishment.  I was a vegetarian for 12 years and vegan for four of those 12 (Sometimes I think I should eat that way again to be a truly compassionate human).   I’m super tight with a group of dudes from Michigan who I met going to punk shows 20-25 years ago – those dudes changed my life.  I have tinnitus in my right ear, it rings constantly.  On occasion, I will go see bands play – basement and house shows are still the best.

Cypher: Spirit Animal & Super Power?

My daughter asked that I say Puffin as my Spirit Animal. Super Power would be too complicated, multifaceted and hippy dippy to list here.

Cypher: If you could describe Cypher in five words, what would they be?

Passion, Strength, Support, Friends, Soul.