Athlete Spotlight: Mark Ford

Mark_Ford
Name: Mark Ford
Age: 40
Occupation: Director of State Operations for Liberty Mutual
Which class time do you usually attend? 6am!!
Favorite WOD: Murph
Favorite Lift: Clean & Jerk
Deadlift Max: 265
Back squat Max: 150
Fran: 9:41 RX
Cindy: 19
Got Muscle-ups? Occasionally, when the planets align
1 mile run: 5:40
How long have you been CrossFitting? Since November 2011

What keeps you coming back/motivated?
“When I first started CrossFitting, the variety of the exercises and fantastic coaching kept me engaged and motivated. Now, I keep coming back simply because CrossFit is part of my daily routine. I enjoy starting the day off with a WOD. WODing early helps me focus and increases my energy level for the remainder of the day. And over the long term, I stay motivated when I see the impact of CrossFit on my health and daily activities. CrossFit makes me a better all-around athlete (I’m a sporadic runner and tennis player, and occasionally I wrestle my high school son to see if he can take me!).”

How did you find CrossFit?
“In the summer of 2011, I kept hearing several friends and co-workers talk about CrossFit. I had been doing P90X for a few years and was looking for more variety than just exercising in my basement, so I decided to try CrossFit. I was lucky and blessed to visit No Excuses, and never looked elsewhere.”

What is your athletic background (If applicable)?
“Growing up I played team sports as a kid, but I was never a strong athlete. I started running in my late 20s and completed my second marathon last fall. My family and I have enjoyed playing ATLA and USTA tennis since we moved to Atlanta.”

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness?
“CrossFit has dramatically increased my level of fitness. I have more endurance and strength for daily activities, and I occasionally eat healthier. CrossFit has really made me aware of my goats, like flexibility and coordination. In the past, it was easy to ignore the goats and just focus on strengths, but CrossFit WODs have a way of forcing you to address your weaknesses as well.”

What is the one thing you have done here that you never thought you could do? (muscle up, double unders, heavy deadlift, run a mile, etc.)
“I never thought I would do any power lifts, so learning the basic barbell movements and techniques at No Excuses was a first for me. But the most surprising movement was when I did my first muscle up.”

What motivates/inspires you?
“I’m inspired most by leadership that is leveraged for the sake of others, especially when that leadership is coupled with humility. Successful leaders that are generous, compassionate, and humble are rare, and when I’m around those types of people I am motivated to be a better man. I think our coaches are walking examples of humble leaders.”

What is your proudest CrossFit achievement?
“My proudest moment was completing Murph on Memorial Day.”

Name one goal/personal achievement you would like to achieve through CrossFit?
“I would like to string together consistent double unders.”

Hobbies/Interests outside of CrossFit?
“Right now one of my favorite hobbies is spending weekends with my 14-year-old son, Jack, cracking our knuckles on our fixer-upper 1965 Ford F-100. When I have some alone time, I enjoy reading, value investing, playing tennis, and running. I ran the Chicago Marathon last year with my wife, and plan to also run it again in 2014 and 2015 to represent my Liberty Mutual team.”

What is your favorite meal?
“I love grilled chicken and stir-fry vegetables, especially with chocolate cake and a nice craft beer.”

Any advice for new members?
“Make the most of each WOD. Every WOD is an opportunity to get a little stronger, faster, healthier, and encourage those around you. And always thank your coach after the WOD is over — they are awesome teachers.”

Coach Mario’s take: “Mark is a great athlete and a genuinely nice guy. He is always looking to improve his performance and I have seen such a change in him since we first met. He works extremely hard and gets better every day. Mark is also an accomplished marathon running, which translates into how he approaches CrossFit. Hard work, determination, endurance and drive. Mark has all these and more. It’s a pleasure to coach him and I am looking forward to seeing how much more he can accomplish!”

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