“I want to be jacked like Jeff,” or “I want to be a bad ass like Jeff Green when I grow up,” are expressions commonly heard around Blackbird CrossFit in the evenings. He tries to claim the ‘Old Guy’ card at times, but don’t let him fool you, Jeff is quite an impressive athlete.  He walked into Blackbird in great shape, a typical gym rat and a regular runner. But after two years of CrossFit, he has gained incredible strength and muscle mass and a bevy of new skills. He and his wife Diane are our most consistent attendees– near-daily faces at the 7pm class. His wife even topped the Attendance Leaderboard of 2018 due her double days in CrossFit, Barbell Club, or P.A.C.E.R. He arrives every day around 6:15 and puts in a solid mobility and skill session before class even gets started. Jeff’s focus this year on his gymnastic skills, mobility, and Olympic Lifting have paid off. He could already crush strict body weight movements all day long, so he worked hard to become more efficient with his chest-to-bar and kipping pull ups. He even landed his first bar muscle up! With a true zeal for learning new things, Jeff sets a high standard for himself and is very deliberate in his attack on his goals. This guy even used his extra PTO to join Barbell Club to work on his Olympic Lifting. We love that dedication! Our software system Wodify, ranked him in 2nd place with the most PRs (personal records/bests) in 2018! At 56 years old, there isn’t much that stops him. Strong, stoic, zero excuses, and relentless.   MEET JEFF GREEN…

1.TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.

My name is Jeff Green. I’m 56, married to Diane, and have a (soon to be) 30-year-old daughter, Nikki. I graduated from University of Maryland with a mechanical engineering degree and have worked in the aerospace industry at the same company for nearly 34 years. Currently we’re called Orbital ATK but soon will be Northrup Grumman. I’m also proud to say I served in the U.S Air Force way back during the Cold War (79-83).

2. WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT?

I saw a segment on 60 Minutes (yes, I’m old). They interviewed Greg Glassman and a few CrossFit athletes. I was intrigued by his workout and diet philosophy and impressed by the brutes working out in the background. I have had other gym memberships but I quickly lost interest trying to program my own workouts AND wait my turn on the equipment.

I started hoping to strengthen my core because of chronic back pain. That is long gone. Now, I’m on my phone at 8:01 checking to see what we’re doing tomorrow. I enjoy having an activity I share with my wife, and I get a lot of satisfaction seeing progress on the lifts and some of the WODs.

3. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE JOINING BLACKBIRD?

I’m not 25 years old, not the strongest, and not the fastest (sometimes the slowest!). I get reminded at every class, and I’m fine with it. One reason is because I’m slightly more mature than I used to be. The main reasons though are how our coaches emphasize individual improvement and how my workout buddies and I support each other.

4.WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BLACKBIRD OR CROSSFIT IN GENERAL? 

That is hard to say.

  • I love the variety of exercises. I also love that I don’t have to figure out what to do. AND there is some method to the madness. I feel stronger and I can track continual improvement on Wodify.
  • All of the coaches are great- knowledgeable, helpful, positive attitudes. I genuinely like them all, and I can say every one of them has helped me immensely.
  • A group of good people to workout with. Previously, I trained alone in other sports such as running, cycling, and shooting (except for martial arts where there were huge egos and often unhealthy attitudes). It surprises me how enjoyable working out with others can be.
  • A fun activity I do with my wife (she made me say that).
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT? 

The one that put the biggest grin on my face unfortunately happened on travel. I was a drop in at CrossFit Palestine in Texas. We were working on ring and bar muscle-ups, and I was stuck. The coach gave me a couple of cues after I had missed about 10 attempts on the bar in a row. She started filming with her iPhone, and I popped right up. I don’t even know how it happened. I was so proud, I posted it on Facebook (I probably post things about 10 times per year, once again, because I’m old).

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVEMENT/LIFT? LEAST FAVORITE?

I don’t really have a favorite movement or lift. I like most body-weight exercises and lifts that don’t require any special coordination, range of motion, timing, or finesse. Having said the above I feel a greater sense of accomplishment when I improve on the harder ones (e.g. squat cleans, snatch, OH squats). If I had to pick favorite WODs, I guess Cindy and Linda (body weight and brute force).

Least favorite WODs would include Thrusters. Not too keen on TGU’s either.

7. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

Nothing specific. I have lots of short-term (?) goals to work toward: 400 pound deadlift (365), 300 pound back squat (280), 20 strict pull-ups (15), strict ring and bar muscle-ups, continuous double unders, RX pistols, etc.

8. WHAT IMPACT HAS BLACKBIRD HAD ON YOUR LIFE IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?

Two years ago, I would have told you that my age is catching up with me. I was constantly sore from old injuries, my running pace was slowing, flexibility was gone, et cetera. Now, I’m not really faster, but I’m stronger, more flexible, feel better, and I plan on continuing to improve.

9. WHEN YOU’RE CROSSFITTING, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO?

I have lots of hobbies. Probably my favorite is across-the-course high power shooting. The sport originated when Theodore Roosevelt determined that the U.S. needed more civilians with marksmanship skills in case of war. The matches have changed very little over the years. A competitor shoots three positions: standing, seated, and prone at 200, 300, and 600 yards, usually with a service rifle. 

10. WHAT IS ONE FUN THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE MAY NOT KNOW YET?

I think I mentioned earlier that I’m an engineer…

11. THE ONE TIP YOU’D GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT STARTING CROSSFIT OR JUST STARTED?

I guess be patient. It is something I have to tell myself constantly. If you do the work and stay consistent, it’ll happen. If you’re twenty something, it might take a week or two. If you’re over 50, maybe a little longer.

12. WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HAS IT CHANGED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT? 

I started the paleo diet almost the week we started CrossFit and follow it to this day with small modifications. After a couple of weeks, I noticed that I generally felt better throughout the day and I dropped about 10 pounds relatively quickly.

The only problem I found with the paleo diet was that I had trouble getting enough carbohydrates. I generally run 5 miles at lunch. I noticed that sometimes I ran out of gas during the WODs. After talking to the coaches, I added a little rice to my diet- two or three times per week and added more good carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes. The extra focus on getting a few more carbs definitely helped.

Other than the rice, I stay paleo- no cheat days or special rewards. I know that if I give myself “rewards”, I will continue to make justifications/excuses for more rewards, and soon I’ll slip back into old, bad habits.

Check out below one of Jeff’s 1st WODs where he strung his chest-to-bar pulls up together. Hard work pays off!