As the winter finally leaves us here in Brooklyn we honor in a Spring Chicken of an athlete…Carlos Guerra. Carlos much like a good handful of you came to CFSBK at the behest of a significant other, his wife Christine. Christine, who like previous AOTM David McGrath had found CFSBK through fellow Brooklyn Triathlon Club members, had been doing private sessions with David for a while. Somewhere along the way she convinced Carlos to attend a few sessions with her and so Carlos’ journey with CrossFit began. It so happened that when I told Carlos we had chosen him to be our Athlete of the Month he was in the middle of one of his busiest work periods of the year. We wound up meeting for the interview late night over food and a few drinks at a local pub; I hope our next honoree is real busy with work as well…
Fox – Carlos, thanks for meeting me after a long workday, and congratulations on being our March Athlete of the Month! We’re proud to have chosen you for a few reasons; your longevity with the program, your consistent blog posts, your ability to hang with the big young guns on any given WOD, and the fact that your entire immediate family is in one way or another involved at the gym.
Carlos – Thanks so much. I’m surprised it’s little old me you guys picked. It’s an honor.
Fox – Alright, let’s get into it. How did you first come to CrossFit South Brookyn?
Carlos - As with many things that have been good for me, Christine convinced me to try it. I had been working out at a Crunch gym on my own following a power-lifting program and was getting bored. I began tagging along on Christine’s sessions with David back at the Lyceum and liked it right away. I did that for a while and then began to get curious about Group classes. After some time working with David and Christine I asked and David told me I was ready. I remember this one time after doing classes for a while I was deadlifting maybe 375 or something and David came over to talk to me. “That was awesome! And, don’t ever do that again.” David then gave me a short lecture on safe deadlifting practices, as apparently this was the first time I was learning that form mattered and not just weight.
Fox – Do you remember your first group workout?
Carlos – I believe it was Helen or something, definitely a met-con and not a strength day.
Fox – You mentioned training on a power-lifting program, did you compete?
Carlos – No. Back in college at Texas University I took a Power Lifting class but there was no team. The instructor Jan Todd was great. She was a power lifter who had competed and won championships in the 70’s. We followed a periodization program with periods of stamina, hypertrophy, power, and strength with max-effort days. It’s basically the program I was still following until I began at CrossFit.
Fox – Cool! It sounds like you were put on a smart program early on. Did you compete in any other sports as a youth?
Carlos – In High School I played competitive golf but I was so small that no colleges would recruit me! Before college I weighed a whopping 118 lbs. During my power lifting days at UT I was able to put on more than 20 lbs of muscle. Now I try and stay strong for work, or rather I need to stay strong for work. CrossFit prepares me for life in a way that power lifting did not. I feel stronger all around.
Fox – You’ve got an interesting career, tell me about that. What you do, how you started, etc.
Carlos – I work in TV and movies on the steady cam. It’s a big camera that weighs over 75 lbs that I strap on and hold for hours at a time and sometimes 14 hr days. Sometimes when I’ve walked onto a new set I’ve gotten skeptical looks as if I can’t possibly be the steady cam man, but I’ve been quickly able to prove I can hold my own. Currently, for the last few years, I’ve been working on the set of. Law and Order Special Victims Unit. This is the first time I’ve worked on television, before this it was all on movies. I started while I was still in college working on movie sets as a loader and began working my way up through the ranks. I made a name for myself and eventually was offered promise of work in both LA and New York. As with other good decisions, Christine decided we should move to New York. A friend helped me get into the union and I did movies for a while until deciding to look for something a bit more stable and close to home. We had the boys at home so that made that decision easy.
Fox – You work with Ice T! Crazy. What movie sets have you worked on? Anything I’d know?
Carlos - The Departed, most everyone knows that one. My favorite was probably Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Then there was a bunch of others, some big budget ones that didn’t make it like All The Kings Men and The Lovely Bones, and some smaller independent ones also.
Fox – Sounds glamorous! Any hobbies outside of CrossFit?
Carlos – Oh yeah, Christine and the kids and I stay busy with lots of stuff. Snowboarding, surfing, yoga, I also skateboard but more as a means of transportation, no tricks. Our snowboarding trips got cut short this year when Manuel broke his arm. We’ve taken a surfing vacation to Rincon Puerto Rico also which was great. I run a bit too, although not too much over the winter.
Fox – You really are a busy dude. The boys (Manuel, Patricio, Carlitos, and Joaquin) are all in CrossFit Teens and Kids with Shane. What do they think of that?
Carlos – They love it. They really look forward to it and enjoy the challenges and variety. I know sometimes they can be a bit much to handle but once they get going they’re into it, and we love seeing them accomplish stuff in class. (Note: Coach Shane could not remember an instance when the Guerra boys were difficult. Maybe Carlos was thinking of someone else’s kids…)
Fox – You recently started doing our Competition Team class. How’s that? And, are you looking to compete as a Master this year?
Carlos – I love the class, and am nervously looking forward to competing this year. We’ll see how it goes.
Fox – What things do you like about CrossFit, and why do you train here as opposed to at another gym?
Carlos – I like the members and the community in general. In any other gym most people have their headphones on and are trying to ignore everyone else. I like that I actually know and like the people I’m working out with. We have dinners together and socialize. It’s a whole different experience. The coaching and programming at SBK is phenomenal also. I’d been lifting for like 20 years and still feel like everything in CrossFit was new to me.
Fox – Great stuff. Last thing; what should we look for in future Athlete’s of the Month?
Carlos – People who are involved in the extra-curricular stuff that happens at the gym, like helping to organize events and such. Also people who make sacrifices to train here, whether time-wise, travel-wise, family-wise or all of it. I see families handing off kids between classes often, like mom just finished working out and now dad is gonna come in. That is a lot of commitment to be here.
Fox – Well said, my man. Thanks again for meeting me late and good luck in the CrossFit Games this year!
Paleo Potluck & First-Year Anniversary Party Saturday!
Tomorrow (March 5th) at 6pm we'll be partying our faces off! Come one, come all and bring friends, bring family (even your kids!). All are invited whether you've been with us for three years or just finished Foundations. It promises to be a great night and we'll be announcing the winner's of the Paleo Challenge! For the full details on the evening go to the Potluck page.
Please RSVP with the number of people in your party and the dish(es) you'll be bringing to info(AT)crossfitsouthbrooklyn.com. We look forward to partying with you!