All smiles and easy going, that’s Stephan. Even after a tough day on the job with the Baltimore PD, he’ll always greet you with an uplifting smile. He has a GREAT attitude on the gym floor during training. And he’ll somehow even give you a big grin after a grinding workout. Stephan has been with Blackbird CrossFit since October 2017. He’s incredibly strong, especially in the power lifts, he’s methodical and smart in his training, and he’s just a cool guy. His claim to fame in our community is his Open Prediction Game he started on his own during the 2019 CrossFit Open. Each week in our Members Only Facebook group, he’d offer a prize to the person who guessed the first movement in the WOD being released. It created excitement among everyone involved in our Open Team League and a whole new level of anticipation during our last two Open seasons. The banter and fun it created in our community was awesome. Every gym needs a Stephan!
Stephan’s long-time encouragement on the home front also finally paid off when he got his wife, Kelly, to give CrossFit a try back in June. She cautiously and successfully trained through her first pregnancy and has quickly become yet another beloved member. It must just be a Robinson family trait, because she too is full of smiles and a positive attitude. We love the Robinson’s!! MEET STEPHAN…
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
My name is Stephan Robinson M/37/MD, all you AOL IMers remember that. Hopefully you enjoy sarcasm and bad jokes, because it’s the only way I know how to answer personal questions. One a serious note, the AOTM program is great and it’s a touching gesture. Now to abuse this platform that Matt and Rebekah mistakenly gave to me to go on and on about myself!
My wife Kelly and I both graduated from Towson University, but we never met being 5 years apart. I majored in Sociology/Psych a.k.a beer bonging. She was also a Psychology major, which makes sense if you know us. Our love story book romance began at a bar, had some laughs and near death experiences on the open sea in the middle, and then we ended up married Sept 2014. Since, we’ve bought a house in Eldersburg, got a stupid cute dog “Finn” and had the adventure of our first baby Girl Lexi, who is known at the gym as the curly haired screaming child. Curly haired screaming child #2 coming June 2020, good luck Kids Club. Kelly is a saint, she voluntarily married me even though at the time I was heavily involved in my career on the Baltimore City SWAT team. Many of you know what it’s like having a spouse who is on shift work/on call, so you know why it’s a miracle Kelly chose this life. After years of cancelled parties and dates, and her supporting me throughout, I knew she was my person. When we decided to start a family, I transferred over to the Bomb Squad, which is my current job. It still has its challenges, but is much steadier for family life.
WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT? WHAT HAS KEPT YOU DOING IT? HAS YOUR MOTIVATION CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED?
In 2008, I went through my first SWAT school and the PT instructor was swinging kettle bells and doing these things called burpees, he even had us doing crossfit.com workouts. It was my first experience with flipping tires, doing endless amounts of air squats and pull-ups. I think most of my workouts since have been influenced by an unorganized version of CrossFit. Working out for me has always been the best part of my job. Unfortunately, for 10 years I didn’t take very good care of my body, and it started to break down. This was when I decided to focus more on form and moving better. At first I was doing great, learning all the movements and feeling strong. Then my old habits crept back in, a combination of strain outside of the gym and pushing it too hard inside the gym had me right back in the doctor’s office with my back. Anyone with a painful debilitating injury knows how frustrating it can be. I wasn’t going to come back to the gym.
They say CrossFit gyms are lifeboats, like the ones that save you when you’ve been trying to keep treading, but you can’t do it alone anymore. What I found at BBCF is hard to quit. The community that noticed when I was gone and encouraged me to come back, and the coaches that never hesitated to scale people through pain is how CrossFit is different.
Having my first injury/pain free year in over a decade has convinced me that CrossFit will always be part of my life. I don’t consider myself as a very competitive person. The PRs are fun and pushing my friends at the gym to go a little faster or harder is great. Shout out to the Vesticles for always tearing that s**t up! What motivates me the most now is how I feel after leaving BBCF. I feel good if I know I pushed myself harder that day, did a movement right for the first time, or helped make someone else feel the same way.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE JOINING BLACKBIRD?
I think I learn something new every day/night that I go to BBCF. With my schedule I am all over the place as far as class times. I started doing mostly nights, then mornings and now a combo. I like it because I get to see and talk to a lot of different athletes and coaches. I’m getting my money’s worth at the gym, even if it’s only for 5 minutes at a time, I’m getting all kinds of life advice from people who have done it all before. I’m bad with names, but I try my best to learn something about everyone at the gym. If you see me at the gym I would love to get to know more people, even if I’m being quiet and seem zoned in on the WOD. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I was missing out on that community before I joined BBCF.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
Finally convincing Kelly to come to the gym, so she would know what I was talking about all the time. But really, I think getting that first muscle up was special after many failed attempts and because I was with a bunch of guys who were really excited that I did it.
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE NOW HAVING YOUR WIFE AT THE GYM WITH YOU?
We don’t often get to work out together, but when we do, it’s fun cracking jokes and pushing each other. I’m excited to see what she can do, especially if I ever let her stop being pregnant for more than a year at a time. Not likely, have you seen how good she is at making cute babies?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LIFT, MOVEMENT, OR WOD? LEAST FAVORITE?
High Box Jumps and Cleans both require explosiveness and I think prepare you for real life challenges. For instance, the baby is sleeping and the dog is now barking like there’s an actual tiger in the backyard. You must clear the kitchen floor minefield of mega blocks and power clean your furry friend out the door in 1.25 seconds.
The heavy dumbbell box step up is probably my least favorite movement. Awkward, painful, and usually they program a thousand of them.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BLACKBIRD OR JUST CROSSFIT IN GENERAL?
The space itself is great. Being able to have room to get moving and stretch out is really nice. The coaches all seem to care about the product being put out every day and each year they are clearly trying to make it better. The constantly varied functional movement is what makes it interesting and challenging.
WHAT IMPACT HAS CROSSFIT HAD ON YOU IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
I feel more confident and prepared to tackle physical challenges that come my way. Whether it’s a complex gymnastic movement at the gym or handling home improvement jobs. I’ve seen someone install gutters before, how hard can it be??
Walking into the gym before class, I see the way I’m feeling sometimes on a lot of faces. Tired, stressed and even nervous expressions. Walking out, usually everyone is joking and grinning. There’s a positive correlation between classes and how your mindset that day will be.
WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HAS IT CHANGED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORKOUT FUEL?
We’ve always eaten pretty well, but we really dialed in the macros when the gym started the 3-part containers/The Plate Method. We still eat processed food here and there, but we have found what works for us for the long run. I have noticed a change in the way I feel in the gym after eating clean.
WHAT CROSSFIT GOALS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING TOWARDS?
2020 Goals = Finish 2019 Goals… well I checked off a bunch last year, I need to get on the rings more and get that ever-elusive ring MU. General mobility and flexibility is always a battle. Specifically, I have some percentage body weight goals for my back squat, snatch, and front squat that I hope to achieve by just putting in the extra work. Sticking with my nutrition and focusing more on sleep and recovery will be ways that I know I can obtain them. Staying positive this year and just being happy to be healthy enough to get to work out are two things I’ll strive for.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT CROSSFITTING WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO?
Spending time relaxing with friends and family at breweries, wineries and around the dinner table. I guess anything involving drinks… hmm might have to look deeper into that one. We love to hike, boat, shoot, and pretty much anything outside. I want to raise children who really appreciate nature and the simple beauty it can add to life. I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen making food for everyone, although a lot of it gets eaten in the process.
WHAT IS ONE FUN THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE MAY NOT KNOW YET?
My mom is from France and growing up I spent summers there. I am French citizen, which is why I can’t think of doing anything better than drinking wine and eating cheese on good bread.
WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU’D GIVE SOMEONE CONSIDERING CROSSFIT OR WHO IS NEW TO CROSSFIT?
It’s hard to make the first class, but it’s even harder to try to stay away once you’ve experienced how different CrossFit is. New members should try their best to be patient and learn how to move well before increasing the weights. Good luck and welcome to the family!
RESULTS! TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESULTS!!
I’ve never felt this all around healthy and capable of getting things done. Sometimes getting things done entails having some fun with my fitness; climbing trees and playing with my kid. The energy level increase and actually being excited about working out again are my favorite results. I know you mean numbers though, so I’ve lost over 35lbs (some that I found again) changing my food choices. I’ve gained pounds of lower body muscle. Went from over 18% bf to 11.8%. I’ve seen some serious physical results, but how I feel is why I keep coming back.
I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone that has made Blackbird such a special place for my family. Here we go, first of course Matt and Rebekah for creating such a great space for likeminded people to gather for an hour a day. Coach Michelle who first got me into the gym. Coach Steve for helping me move better. Coach Justin for always bringing the energy. Coach Jack for being so supportive and wise beyond his years. Coach Jordon for his weightlifting tips. Coach Danny and Coach Kacie for adding their own style to classes. Coach Chris I have nothing nice to say about you (you know you’re great, don’t need to make your head bigger). Kids Club has been great, thank you Christine, Marcia, Kayley, Jess and Kelly for helping keep my little one happy.
In case you were wondering if I was really gonna thank everyone.. yeah I am.
Well, I’d like to thank everyone in all the classes that make Blackbird so great but I would need another page. It really is the people and the energy that we create that makes BBCF so awesome.