Congratulations to our November Athlete of the Month, Francisco Camargo!

Francisco Camargo

There are many different definitions of success when it comes to CrossFit. It could be getting your first pull-up, doing the Open for the first time, losing weight, or even just keeping a promise to yourself to try something and stick with it. At CrossFit Hierarchy, we try to support and celebrate each persons success, whatever that means to them, big or small. However, when someone's definition of success includes everything mentioned above and more, and then they achieve all of it, that makes us take special note. That is why we are pleased to announce that the November 2018 Athlete of the Month is Francisco Camargo!

Francisco is likely a familiar face at the gym for many of you since joining in October of last year as he mixes in both morning and evening classes (though he may be better known as Jorge the Frenchie's dad at this point). Quick with a smile and encouraging to his classmates, he has become part of the fabric of Hierarchy quickly over the past year. Yet,what you may see if you don't coach him every day is the incredible progress and success he has earned over the past year and how that fits into his larger story. I strongly encourage you to read below for the full story. Francisco started CrossFit as part of a focus on fitness after a gastric bypass. When he joined Hierarchy he had already come quite a long way, but still had work to do.

While he has always been strong (take a look at his squat some time), Francisco often slowed quickly in workouts, lacking the cardiovascular capacity to keep up in metcons. He also lacked familiarity and comfort with many gymnastic movements. Having already overcome so much, Francisco put his mind to fixing this and the results speak for themselves. His successes over the last year include achieving his first pull-up, completing his first Open, dialing in his diet, losing seventeen (!) pounds, hitting numerous lifting PRs, and improving his cardio capacity by leaps and bounds. Throughout this he has been a pleasure to coach, always interested in feedback and suggestions, and a great presence in class.

We as coaches are so proud to have a small part in his success, but the credit truly goes to him. We thrilled to have Francisco as our Athlete of the Month and hope that you all will join us in congratulating him! Please read below for our interview with him.

When did you start CrossFit?

I started CrossFit around May 2016 at CrossFit Diamond State in Delaware.  

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, sports, interests, etc.).

I am 27, originally from Brazil and work as an engineer for a Biotech, managing the end to end supply chain for some brands. I first came to the US in January 2016 for a temporary assignment in Delaware, then in September that year I was offered a role in Gaithersburg MD that brought me to the DC area. I have no family around, and try to visit them in Brazil whenever possible. I live in DC with a great roommate, his dog, and my puppy. I am a big fan of pop culture and music, I love going to concerts (any concert), internet memes get me through the day to day, and my interest in politics ended up being quite useful when I moved to DC.

What were you doing before CrossFit?

I was a chubby kid with busy parents, so exercising wasn't very much encouraged... When I was in high school I started the cycle of being on and off regular gym, but never established a routine.

At the end of 2012 I weighted 308lbs, that was rock bottom for me. I was pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even moving was becoming difficult. Then I looked for support from a cross functional medical team, and after 6 months, I had a gastric bypass, the procedure that changed my life and basically gave me another chance.

Having in mind that the surgery wasn't any type of cure, I got into running and started doing some martial arts, that introduced me HIIT training. Then I moved to Sao Paulo city and I only kept a regular running training and "weightlifting" at the gym.

How did you find CrossFit?

I heard about it through some friends when I was living in Sao Paulo. Then, a few months before moving to the US, I decided to try it out to see what the hype was about.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout?

"They didn't make me feel flip a tire on the first class"

"Oh, I DO have a triceps"

"It's been only an hour. I am dead tired. I wanna do it again"    

What were your goals when joining CrossFit?

Lose weight, improve my running training, feel better about myself.  

Have you achieved any of those goals?

YES. And I am so happy!! From day one I felt great, not only for the health improvement, but for the accomplishments during the WODs. CF helped me to lose some weight, and maintain it during the crazy transition from Delaware to Bethesda, and then to DC.

In the past 3 months, I started going the extra mile at the classes, put some effort in adjusting my diet and calories intake, and I lost 17lbs!

Has CrossFit affected your life outside the gym?

Absolutely! When I am able to attend the 6AM class, the rest of my day is so much better, and when I go to the evening class, my night of sleep is much better. Also, normal activities are easier to go through... There's no more fatigue after climbing a few stairs (or after that short run when you have 2 seconds to cross the street).   

There is also the social aspect that got much better... my mood is improved, CrossFit is a good conversation starter, and all the new friends that came from the gym into my life!    

What does Crossfit Hierarchy mean to you?

It is my safe place. I never felt so welcome at a CrossFit gym before (and I went to a number boxes in the area). I feel like whenever I go, I will have support from the coaches and the other members, there will be no judgement, there will be laugh, and it will be fun! It's the hour of the day that my only concern is to be better, and to do better than I did last month, last week or last WOD... And Hierarchy enables me to achieve it, and get there.

Do you have any other special memories/achievements during your time here?

I have a few: my first double unders unbroken, first strict pull up, and being able to get into the handstand position.

The biggest one is from the Open this year - it was the first time I signed up and completed all the WODs (even got a PR on power clean!). The support from everyone was fantastic, and I felt included in an awesome community.  

What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit Hierarchy?

Just keep going and don't give up. The coaches are amazing and eager to give you the right scale, right movement tips, and the right push to finish that last rep (and they also accept songs requests, well some of them...)   

Favorite WOD (Girl, Hero, or just a type of workout)?

Any WOD with cleans (or shoulder to overhead) makes me happy.

Least Favorite WOD?

Whatever that includes us hanging from the rig (pull ups, toes to bar, etc). I still need to work on those movements (and find a way to better protect my hands).  

Favorite Lift?

Push jerk

Least favorite lift?

Squat snatch, ew.

Something you might not know about me is…

I cry during every movie. If you look around during those five seconds of drama in a comedy, I'll be the one over there, balling my eyes out

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