Athlete of the MonthJune

Steffon Thomas

Career: Freelance Writer, Creative Consultant

Years at CrossFit Crowned: 5

"Today, I am more motivated than ever to get to the gym.... looking at a workout, acknowledging it’s hard, and doing it anyway because I know the struggle is worth it"

Steffon Thomas is our June Athlete of the Month! Steffon has impressed not just himself, but the coaches/members this past year with his all of his progress and consistency at the gym. Steffon is someone with a back story like many others, a nagging past injury, heavy work travel, busy family life, all very common obstacles that people battle with when trying to get to the gym and establish routine. Steffon has attacked those obstacles this past year and has been more consistent than ever, not only has his conditioning/strength improved, but his mindset when approaching workouts is inspiring. Steffon definitely brings an infectious energy to the gym, and is always reaching out a hand to new members in class, giving them tips on movements and assuring they feel welcomed. Unfortunately for Steffon, because he is so welcoming he’s the first target new members try to compete with every day! Steffon has found a love for his fitness journey once again, and no matter what kind of face he might wear during or after a tough workout, we assure you he’s enjoying the process.

Give Us Your Story: 
I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, and from the age of 12 I knew I wanted to be a writer. I absolutely loved NYC, but I ended up leaving for Ohio where I attended Oberlin College, got a degree in English and Creative Writing, and met my tag team partner, Sharon. We got married and graduated the same weekend. That was Memorial Day weekend of 2003. That was also the last time for a long time that I exercised consistently. I had spent 4 years on the basketball and track teams but now without any athletic structure I was left to fend for myself. A new job writing for American Greetings, a new marriage to my favorite person, a growing family and an old knee injury gave me all the excuses I needed to not stay active. By 2016, I had two daughters and a son, a solid freelance writing career, a move to California and back to Ohio and a second knee surgery under my belt. Speaking of belts, my belts were also fitting a little snugger than I would have liked. After meeting Kathryn Housepian - whose daughter and son-in-law I had befriended while living in SoCal from 2013 to 2016 – I was invited to check out CrossFit Crowned. With aspirations of getting more active already beginning to burn deep down inside and a desire to no longer walk with an admittedly sweet limp due to all the weakened muscles surrounding my right knee, I happily accepted the invitation and dropped in on some intro classes. Within a couple of weeks, I had officially become a member.
What CrossFit Means To You:
When I first started attending classes, I loved trying and doing the movements, but I hated learning them. I was self-conscious and awkward and embarrassed about needing to scale down. I was a little frustrated that my body ached all over - I mean, I was feeling strain and pain in places I didn’t know I could feel strain and pain. As a result, for the first year or so, I found myself making excuses for skipping classes for days (and sometimes weeks) at a time. However, after swallowing my pride, I decided that I would go to class whenever my schedule permitted and do the WOD regardless of what it was. And before long I started seeing results as my level of competence in the movements and my fitness began to rise dramatically. Additionally, thanks to my continued trips to the gym coupled with a few weeks of physical therapy, that sweet limp of mine started to become less and less noticeable. Today, I am more motivated than ever to get to the gym and that’s what CrossFit has meant to me – looking at a workout, acknowledging it’s hard, and doing it anyway because I know the struggle is worth it. Which is an ideal that has become more and more applicable to life and work outside the gym too. Ultimately, however, the biggest thing that keeps me coming back is the community – the coaches, the other members, the drop-ins and even all the kiddos make the workouts so much fun and enjoyable. I love the fact that everyone is always so supportive and friendly. It’s incredible that fellow members are cool with taking time to give pointers and encouragement. Being part of the CrossFit Crowned Community is truly amazing!
Advice For Someone New Or Considering Trying CrossFit:
If you’re thinking about trying CrossFit and you’re not sure about it, I need you to remember two words “Infinite Scalability.” The most intimidating thing for me going in was looking around and seeing other athletes lifting large amounts of weights and doing some movements that I had only ever seen Olympians do on television. I was like, “you want me to do what?” But then I learned that you could scale down on the amount of weight and that you could modify a complicated movement to be simpler and more manageable for a beginning or progressing athlete. Furthermore, the scaled and modified options are designed to help you practice and build up to doing heavier and more complicated things. With that in mind, I was able to approach CrossFit in a different way. I love looking around the gym and seeing two people next to each other doing the same lifting exercise but with drastically different amounts of weight. Oh, and if you think that lifting lighter weights means you’re not gonna get a great workout in, think again. These CrossFit workouts are designed to make you sweat regardless of what level you’re currently at. My second piece of advice is this: Be OKAY with finishing last. Be OKAY with doing less reps in the allotted time than other athletes. Be OKAY with not finishing the entire workout before the time cap. Once I stopped feeling self-conscious about taking the longest to get through a workout, it freed me up to just do my own personal best every single time. PLUS, nobody in the gym is judging you. In fact, they are rooting for you! Along with attending CrossFit Crowned for the past few years, I’ve also dropped in on a couple of other CrossFit boxes around the country when I travel, and I’ve received the same supportive atmosphere. So, keep that in mind - as long as you’re giving it your best effort, be okay with not being the best performer all the time.
What is your favorite movement in CrossFit:
Speaking of being or not being ‘the best’, I’m gonna give you TWO of favorite movements in CrossFit. The first one is a movement that I can’t even do yet! It’s the bar muscle up. As I continue working on gymnastics movements and things that involve pulling my bodyweight more and more, I’ve decided that before 2021 is over I’m going to achieve the ability to do a bar muscle up. We’re almost exactly halfway through the year, and I’m steadily making progress! My other favorite movement is the back squat. It’s a simple one but it’s also a movement that has helped strengthen my surgically repaired right knee, so for that reason throwing a bunch of weight on a barbell, putting it on my back and getting as low as I can go holds a special place in my heart.

Previous AOTM:


Next AOTM: