Athlete Profile: Andrew Oliver

AndrewWhat brought me to Catalyst? It was the culmination of a lot of things. First off, I just wasn't as healthy as I used to be. I used to consider myself "in shape" (Note that pre-catalyst definition of "in shape" vastly differs from my current definition) but found that I couldn't run as far or as long as I used to. Biking and hiking (activities I enjoy in my spare time) took more out of me than they used to as well. 7 years working a desk job and eating crap all day were taking their toll. A good friend of mine (Richard Belair) was getting married to Allison Dalton. We had been talking about getting a gym membership in order to get 'in shape' for a while (work gives us a discount at Goodlife) but motivation was hard to come by. For myself it was because I'd never really been to a gym… ever. I found the idea of trying to do something I had never done before, in front of a tonne of people I didn't know intimidating to say the least. Allison had tried crossfit before and recommended the OnRamp program. We figured we didn't really have much to lose so we gave it a shot… I've been hooked ever since.

My favorite part of Catalyst has got to be the community. I think everybody feels this to some degree. I remember the first Saturday with OnRamp. The entire week we had been at the gym on Queen street with just the six of us. Saturday was our first day at the park (well for me anyway). I was surprised that everybody was just so normal… I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this. Everybody was just kind of hanging around, chatting about regular things. As expected Mel broke us all up and mixed us in with the regular group. Goodbye comfort zone. But when the WOD started and everybody was yelling for everybody else, you just felt like the whole box was behind you. That kind of motivation makes you forget all about nerves.

OnRamp to Crossfit just seemed like the next step. I remember doing a lot of reading. The philosophy was sound and I liked learning about everything I was doing. I noticed a huge improvement in my endurance just in those first few weeks, recovery time was getting faster (the near-crippling pain wasn't nearly as horrible as it was the first week). It seemed silly to just go back to my regular sedentry lifestyle. I guess what it all came down to was that I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the challenge, the competition (even if it was mostly with myself) and I enjoyed the results. As for competing in the open there was never any question. I started OnRamp in July and everybody was still talking about the 2011 Crossfit Games. A month and a half down the road and we had our own catalyst games locally. I had the good fortune of hesitating when Coop asked me if I was in (I was considering just coming to watch) and he said "If it takes you that long to think about it, you're in". Challenge accepted. When the time for the 2012 open came about, I knew I was going to compete. I saw this more as an opportunity to learn about my weaknesses in a competitive environment.

I was going to say linking pullups, but I think the biggest highlight so far is HSPU. The first time I touched down and actually came back up to full extension without falling down was great. Hell, the first time I could actually spring into a handstand against the wall was almost equally fantastic. I'm still not good for that many in a row, but it's something I work on in fairly regular intervals.

Something I want to do at the end of the summer? I bet you think I'm gonna say "muscle up". Well, I do want that muscle up – but I also want unsupported handstands and handstand walks. Everytime I think of something I want, there's another two or three things that come to mind that I also want. I guess I'm just not good at setting goals. Either that or I'm greedy.