Warren joined Blackbird in August 2017. None of us had any idea what a life-changing decision that would prove to be! After a year of working out, Warren had an epiphany…the real results from working out are only going to show if he made serious changes to his nutrition. In November 2018, he began working on his diet using the tray method and committed to getting on the InBody Body Composition machine monthly to hold himself accountable. At the end of each month Coach Rebekah looked forward to their check-in meetings when Warren would show off his hard work with a steady trend of weight and body fat declining and muscle mass increasing. Motivated by the changes and ready to dial it in even further, he signed up for Blackbird’s HSN Customized Nutrition Program with Coach Steve and has been absolutely crushing it.
“Warren has been a continued inspiration to me every time we sit down for a nutrition coaching session. We set a plan and he executes it perfectly. His success is a direct result of his willingness to be coached and trust the process completely. I’ll never forget the day Warren started at Blackbird and he was struggling to do even one single with a jump rope. We gave him drills to practice and he put in the work and is nailing double unders now. As coaches, oftentimes we learn as much from our athletes, as they learn from us. And I couldn’t be more thankful to have someone like Warren as part of our community, inspiring others with this coachability and work ethic, and encouraging others to seek help with their nutrition. Warren’s life-changing story is the epitome of “What is CrossFit?”–Coach Steve
Meanwhile, as Warren is transforming before our eyes, his performance in the gym is soaring from just one year ago. He has added 70lbs to his deadlift, 45lbs to his back squat, and 30lbs to his shoulder press. Last year for The MURPH Challenge, Warren did the Half Murph, had to row instead of running, and did seated pull ups. This year, he was able to complete the full 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats and another 1 mile run as prescribed!
Warren is a treasured and inspiring member of the Blackbird community and a staple at the 6:30am class with his buddies deemed “The Breakfast Club.” Coach Steve said it best, because Warren has been patient and trusted the process of getting into shape, getting stronger, and losing weight, he has seen amazing results. He never gave up when progress was slow. Warren will be the first to tell you that it hasn’t been easy. It’s hard work to make big changes, but it’s totally worth it! MEET WARREN…
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
My name is Warren Naviasky. I guess I am far from the typical CrossFit profile as I am 52 and started this at age 50. I am born and raised in Baltimore and went to Towson State University where I received a B.S in Psychology and M.S in Human Resource Development. Kathy and I met in graduate school. When I am not in a t-shirt and shorts, I am a V.P / Sr. Director of Marketing and Sales for Life Care Services based in Des Moines, Iowa. We are the second largest provider of senior living services in the country operating about 130 communities which serve about 40,000 seniors. I lead a sales division of senior living communities across the country that we have ownership interest (Fairhaven is pretty similar to what I manage). I’ve been in this field for about 26 years and a necessary part of this career is pretty regular business travel. I have been on the road for 18 years and for many years, a normal work week was leaving on Monday night / Tuesday morning and coming home on Thursday night. Kathy always had the much tougher job of working full- time and managing all that comes with two kids and the tons of activities they had while I was on the road. Kathy (who is also crushing it at BBCF) and I have been married for 26 years and our twins have just finished their junior year at University of Maryland, College Park.
WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT? WHAT HAS KEPT YOU DOING IT? HAS YOUR MOTIVATION CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED?
A good friend of mine has been doing CrossFit at another gym for 3+ years. I was always curious about it but never had the courage to try it. Kathy and I were on a cruise a few years back and while we were sitting on beach, I was watching a group do a HIIT type workout in their CrossFit t-shirts and it looked fun. I remember texting him that I wanted to give this a shot when I came home. I went to his gym and liked the workouts and decided to try different CrossFit gyms. I walked into BBCF, did not know anyone, gave it a shot and never looked back. What has kept me doing it is the constant variety, the awesome coaches, and the community. What keeps me motivated is seeing what I can do now that I could not do the day, week, or month before.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE JOINING BLACKBIRD?
I’ve learned to have more confidence to push myself and don’t underestimate what I can do. I’ve also come to realize that it’s better to set small goals to get to a bigger accomplishment.
WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HAS IT CHANGED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORKOUT FUEL?
Nutrition has been my game changer. I had a terrible diet and could not understand why I was working out regularly but not losing any weight. In January 2018, I was at a heavy point and blamed it on some medications that I was taking. In March, 2018 I gave up diet coke (I was drinking at least 6 cans a day) and started feeling better. In August, I got on the Inbody for the first time. It was pretty frustrating but a good reality check of what to change. My weakness was junk food and have no control when it comes to moderation. I can start with the intent of only having a few Tostito chips and 15 minutes later the big bag will be gone. Kathy and I cut a good amount of junk that we brought into the house which was a big help to eliminate the temptation. I got on the Inbody each month since then to hold myself accountable. Our son started working on his nutrition with Coach Steve and the Healthy Steps Nutrition program in October of 2018 and started seeing results. I decided to give nutrition coaching a chance in January and the impact of measuring my food was eye opening. Kathy and I meal prep together on Sundays gives Kathy which gives us a feeling of control of what we eat during the week (vs. just tossing a pizza in the oven when we are both busy). Overall I have lost 40 pounds and have reduced my body fat by 22%. Kathy has lost a bunch of weight too; and it is much easier when your spouse supports what you are doing. The next goal is to focus on building more muscle mass.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
There are a few. When I first started, I could not do ONE single under. I remember Rebekah had me doing jumping jacks due to my complete lack of coordination. I spent about 15 minutes during one open gym with Coach Steve on some drills and now about 18 months later, on a good day, I can string 100 together. I can do a DU, but can’t string…yet. Finishing the 2018 Open was an awesome experience. At that point, I was about 4 months in to CrossFit, knew very few people and had only started to figure this stuff out. I was terrified to sign up but knew it would be a good experience. The environment was awesome and even though I hit the time cap on some of the workouts, the feeling of accomplishment from just finishing was totally worth it. Getting a first strict pull up was a pretty good feeling and getting the first few kipping pull ups in the 2019 Open was pretty sweet. The last one was the 2018 Murph Challenge when Kathy, myself and our son Josh did it together (our daughter was away). He had the best time in the ½ Murph so he has parental pressure to do the full Murph this year.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LIFT, MOVEMENT, OR WOD? LEAST FAVORITE?
For some crazy reason, I really enjoy any Fight Gone Bad type WOD. I also like pull ups and cleans now that I am getting better at them. Least favorite are overhead squats, thrusters and wall balls (as I have a tendency to catch them with my face). I think I may have actually cried when 19.5 was announced with all of the thrusters and thanked the lord for time caps. When I used to see movements that I did not like come up I would avoid coming in. I’ve come to learn to just embrace your weakness and work on them.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BLACKBIRD OR JUST CROSSFIT IN GENERAL?
As a sales guy, I live in a world of metrics and quantification, so I relate well to CrossFit as everything is measured and you can see progress. I love the concept of progressions as you can modify anything and work up to a level and when that is achieved, move it up to the next. What I love about BBCF is the community, encouragement and friends you make along the way as well as the friendly competition to get that one extra rep in! What I enjoy about BBCF is that whatever your goals are, we all just want to be better in our own way. I also appreciate the attention to detail, different suggestions and personal connections that the coaches have with each one of us. I laugh when people call this a “cult”. When people make that comment to me, I just tell them that if a cult is a community that pushes you to be your best and is all about encouragement and positive thinking than I am fine to be a part of it.
WHAT IMPACT HAS CROSSFIT HAD ON YOU IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
I used to drag myself to a gym because I knew that I should. Since getting in to CrossFit, I look forward to working out each day. It’s given me a good one hour mental break from “life”. It’s also given me more confidence. There is a certain feeling you get from being able to do something you have been working hard to accomplish. Outside of the gym, I have seen first-hand how functional fitness helps seniors through my work life. Many of our fitness centers are managed by the National Institute for Fitness and Sport who specialize in senior fitness. Most communities have full time trainers who lead classes and personal training sessions for our residents. Many have incorporated “CrossFit like” functional fitness classes into their programming. I have seen and met with many seniors who have improved their balance, decreased their risk of falls and have improved their health with CrossFit type programming. If I were not in a suit or in meetings, I would love to join them in a class someday!
WHAT CROSSFIT GOALS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING TOWARDS?
I’ve been working on pull ups as well as toes to bar. I can do several strict so I need to work on better kipping to string them together,as I want to Rx and wear a vest for Murph in 2020. I really need to work on my mechanics and form most lifts. For the next few months, my goal is to not worry about the weights or PR’s and just focus on good mechanics for the PR’s to come later. I also want to Rx at least one of the 2020 Open workouts.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT CROSSFITTING WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO?
Playing in my band(s). The only think that I like as much as being on the floor at Blackbird is being on the stage. I love playing guitar and have played everything from Metallica, Wolfmother, Cranberries, Rick Springfield, Foreigner, Foo Fighters, Audioslave, Ramones and a bunch of stuff in between. I will sing if I have to but would rather just play. I’m a classic / hard rock / metal guy so when the BBCF playlist has Metallica, Wolfmother, AC/DC and other harder stuff, I’m in my happy place.
WHAT IS ONE FUN THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE MAY NOT KNOW YET?
Our family was chosen to be in a Disney parade. It’s really hard to smile and wave for an hour. When I retire, my encore career is to be a sports mascot or a Disney character. I have no idea why but I have always wanted to do it. Yeah, I’m weird.
WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU’D GIVE SOMEONE CONSIDERING CROSSFIT OR WHO IS NEW TO CROSSFIT?
The hardest thing is just to walk in the gym but it can be life changing. It’s can be intimidating to watch people around you doing things that you cannot do. The key is to compare yourself to you and not everyone else or the whiteboard. Any small accomplishment is a win and try not to get frustrated when you have one of those days.
RESULTS! TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESULTS!!
- I have reduced my mile PR by over 2 minutes by going to PACER.
- Working with Steve, I’m down 40 pounds, lost over 18% body fat. Clothes totally fit differently.
- Have eliminated some medication and reduced others after the focus on nutrition!!
- Finally got a 130 lb clean.
- Working towards 5 strict pull ups (have gotten 4).
- Can string together knees to elbows and now working to string toes to bar.
- 100 unbroken SU’s.
To say that I was shocked and honored to be June AOM is an understatement. I may be pretty atypical of most at Blackbird as truthfully, I was never an athlete growing up. I didn’t play sports in high school or college (I was the shy, nerdy kid in high school). I have always been competitive with myself. I never really did much structured working out except for the regular stuff at big box gyms. I have a family member who is an Ironman veteran and I had this crazy idea to do a triathlon at 50 years old. I ran the local Meals on Wheels Sprint Triathlon twice and saw it was kind of fun to push your body beyond what you think you can do. I can honestly say that I may be in the best shape and healthiest I have ever been in my life since coming to BBCF. Besides the physical progress, I am off of some medication I have been on for 20+ years and my cholesterol is down to the lowest point it has ever been thanks to nutrition and exercise. Kathy was always supportive however some other family members thought I was crazy starting CrossFit and warned me that I should not do this as I would get injured. While I’ve had a few tweaks along the way (one from slipping off of a stack of bumper plates during the Open), I’ve had worse injuries from skiing and overtraining for the triathlons. Special thanks and love to Kathy who has gone from watching and supporting me in the fun to being on the floor and being a partner in better nutrition. Special thanks to every coach who has been a huge help along the way and Dr. Chip for helping with the bumps and bruises that come along the way.