Justin is the guy at the gym who you look forward to seeing each day. He is one of the hardest workers there who will inspire you to push just a little bit more than you think you can. He is also the one cracking jokes making sure that you’re having a good time and feel welcome in our CrossFit community. We always enjoyed when Justin would drop in while visiting his family here in Carroll County, but it’s been fantastic having him as part of our Blackbird family since he has moved back home. He’s consistently adding pounds to his lifts, mastering the finer points of weightlifting, and he is shaving minutes off his workouts over the past year. He took over a minute off of his FRAN with a 4:24, took 20 minutes off his MURPH time even after adding a vest finishing at 43:05, 6 minutes off of LINDA, and almost 2 minutes off of DIANE with a 3:56.
This hasn’t been an easy year for Justin after the loss of his father, but even through his struggles and pain, he has selflessly brought such joy to Blackbird and touched the lives of so many here. Justin is not only at the top of our leaderboard, he IS a leader that our community looks up to and respects. MEET JUSTIN MEEKS…
My name is Justin Meeks and I am 28 years old. I was born and raised in Carroll County and have lived here my entire life besides my time at Towson University and the 3.5 years that I lived out in Phoenix. I work at Aerotek on the finance side supporting all of our local sales offices in the State of Illinois. I have an unhealthy obsession with Costco where I have been asked on many occasions to “save some of the samples for the other customers”.
2. WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT?
I started CrossFit two years ago while out in Phoenix after becoming bored with the Globo Gym scene. I was tired of walking into the gym and putting in my headphones to shut out the rest of the world. I needed a community that would help push me to achieve my goals because there was no way I was going to reach them on my own. I do it now because I have never gotten a better workout in my life and have never had as much fun doing it. Even when I look at the WOD and know that it is going to kick my butt I am excited to see how much further I can push myself.
First and foremost I would assume that I would be described as a jokester. My favorite part of the day is talking trash and making stupid comments during our strength portion of the workout. There is nothing that I enjoy more than laughing in between sets with my 5:30 crew, even when I am the butt of the joke.
But, I hope that people find me helpful when it comes to making certain movements make more sense. I am no coach, and will never claim to be. But, I know what cues helped me get to where I am at now and I want to share that knowledge with anyone who will listen. Even if that involves binding someone’s arms together with a Sling Shot Hip Circle **Cough Cough Bianca Cough**
I think that most people would be pretty surprised to find out that for a good portion of my life I was nowhere near as outgoing as I am today. CrossFit and the community that it embodies helped pull me out of my shell and has made me so much more comfortable when talking to people I don’t know very well. Whenever I see new members enter the gym I try and be as inviting as possible because it wasn’t that long ago that I was the guy working out in the corner of the gym by himself.
5. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CROSSFIT?
I enjoy CrossFit because it is different every single day, week, and month. The fact that every day is a mystery and I have no idea what will be next makes it that much more exciting when 8:00pm rolls around and I can see what is in store for the next day. But more importantly, CrossFit to me is family. I get way more excited to see someone else hit a movement or a weight for the first time then I do for myself. The support that I receive from my fellow Blackbirds pushes me to be a better version of myself every day.
My proudest moment would have to be coming in 3rd at the Mid Atlantic Affiliate Challenge (MAAC) this year. The events were brutal and our competition was tough, but we were able persevere through as a team and finish out victorious. The strength and determination that Steve, Ashley, and Michelle showed throughout the entire weekend was inspiring and made me push myself to do things that I didn’t think that I could. I never imagined that I would be attacking the Worm with a team and come away with the fastest time in the competition. And PRing my snatch in lift-off didn’t hurt either!
7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVEMENT/LIFT? LEAST FAVORITE?
My favorite lift has to be the handstand pushup; I have no idea how the motion became so fluid for me but whenever I see them in a workout I get a little bit giddy. My least favorite movement would have to be the burpee. I know that it is cliché but I can honestly admit that I have never been excited to see them programmed in a workout. I fall down enough as it is, I don’t want to have to experience that 50 times in a row!
8. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
I have goals written up on the board and I know that most of them revolve around numbers for certain lifts or learning/becoming more comfortable with certain movements. In all reality my goal is just to come in everyday and be a little bit better than I was the day before. As long as I can say that I accomplished that then I am happy.
9. WHAT MAKES CROSSFIT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FITNESS PROGRAMS THAT YOU’VE TRIED IN THE PAST?
CrossFit is different because you have more than yourself pushing you to reach your goals. It is all about a community getting stronger together. You can do CrossFit workouts in your gym and get in shape but that is not what it is all about. I started CrossFit because I wanted a better workout and ended up finding what I hope to be lifelong friends. Someone will always be there to get you push yourself a little bit harder. Whether it’s your coach yelling at you to keep going or the person in class that you always compete with giving it a little bit more so you dig deep and give it all you got.
I also cannot forget about the coaches. I have seen numerous people hurt themselves in Globo gyms by doing movements completely wrong or letting their ego get in the way and try to put up too much weight. I don’t care if you’re benching 225, you went down three inches and still struggled to get it up. Form is so much more important than weight.
10. WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HOW HAS IT CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED CROSSFIT?
Thanks to Coach Steve helping me figure out my macros to achieve my goals I am in a much better place. I like to think that I have always eaten pretty clean but I was severely under eating carbs. I eat so much Jasmine rice that it is stupid. I have felt such a difference in the gym with my nutrition change. I actively seek good carbs and even get to eat waffles every morning! Carbs are not the devil, just be smart about what kinds you are eating. AND there is always room for ice cream as long as you are smart about it ☺
11. IF YOU COULD CREATE A WOD, WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
My favorite WOD of all time is Diane; very simple just deadlifts and HSPU’s. The workout could only be made better if you added a 400m run in between each round.
I could not be happier about my decision to join Blackbird when I moved back to Carroll County. I had a lot of mixed emotions when coming home after living in Phoenix for three and a half years; but this gym has made all of my fears disappear. Not a lot of people know that the reason I moved back to Maryland in August was due to my father unexpectedly passing away last June. The thought of being home without him was the most daunting hurdle that I have ever had to face in life and I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it. Blackbird provided an hour everyday where nothing else in the world mattered; the pain that I was feeling was gone and I felt like who I was before.
It has become so much more than an escape from the real world in the last 10 months. I have made amazing friends who support me just as much outside of the gym as they do inside of it. At the MAAC my mom was finally able to see me do what I love and having her tell me how proud my dad would have been of what I was able to accomplish sealed the deal for me, Blackbird is my second home.
I cannot thank each and every single person who has made it that way enough; from the coaches, to my 5:30 crew, but especially Matt and Rebekah. You have created an amazing space for all kinds of people to come together and become healthier. I look forward to the countless memories that I will continue to make inside of these walls!!!