Athlete of the MonthDecember

Dan Stowe

"I Don't HAVE to do it, I GET to do it"

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself – where you grew up, what you do now, family/social life, etc.

While I was originally born in Louisiana, I’ve lived in Minnesota since I was 12 so I would call myself a Minnesotan at heart.  I currently live in Mounds View (only a couple of blocks from the gym, hence the initial appeal!) with my wife Sara and our little Dachshund Sapa.  When I’m not doing my day job as a computer support specialist for Ramsey County, I enjoy getting outside for hiking & trail running, enjoying the sport of obstacle course racing (think Tough Mudder and Spartan Race if you want to know what that sport is), and honing my skills as an extremely amateur rookie photographer.

2. What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to joining CrossFit Southpaw?

Challenges can mean many different things depending on the context. I like to think of challenges as opportunities to learn.  While I’m fully aware of how self-help/cheesy that statement sounds, it’s true.  When I have a challenge in front of me, I like to think that I don’t have to do it, I GET to do it.  Using that mindset makes the challenge more attainable, even if I fail miserably in the end.
One challenge that led me to join CrossFit Southpaw would be the social aspect of working out.  While I’ve never really had an issue with putting in the work myself, there were many times/training sessions that I would be doing it by myself.  Having the mindset of going full effort in a workout, while doable by myself, was getting to be more and more of a challenge to keep that intensity.

3. How did that challenge make you feel?

That challenge made me feel like I wasn’t putting in my full effort.  While I knew I could mentally do it, trying to find that next gear was getting to be more difficult and less fulfilling when found.  I started to question my “Why?”.

4. What changed after joining?

After a couple of conversations with some people that are very near & dear to me, I realized that I needed to learn that social aspect of enjoying that grind in the gym.  The last time I had felt that in-person social comradery was when I did CrossFit, so I joined with Southpaw.

5. What specific results can you share?

While I’m still working on figuring out what benchmarks/goals I’d like to hit, I will say for certain I’ve found my social joy in the gym grind again.  I can find plenty of people online through a screen to share my ups & downs in training, but nothing compares to a crisp high five at the end of a grueling metcon!

6. What would you say to somebody on the fence about joining Southpaw?

Get off the fence and get in the yard.  You’re reading this article already, so you’re already leaning on the fence.  Something that can’t be translated through any marketing, any flyer, any social media ad is the vibe of a gym.

I’ve been to a few different gyms in different states, and the first thing I’ve personally noticed is the vibe.  How do people interact with each other?  How do the coaches teach the class?  What kind of comments do you hear in the background afterward? Are there any egos?  These things, and many others, are hard to understand without physically being there.  A screen can only tell so many words.  Sometimes you need a good workout to tell you the rest.

7. What is one of your favorite memories from being at Southpaw?

Hands down, the Crossfit Open is my favorite memory to date.  Aside from the workouts, which were hard and challenging, was the constant flow of positivity and support from everyone that went to the Friday Night workout sessions.  If you got one dose of the crowd’s support, I guarantee you’d want to run through a brick wall with the adrenaline rush you got. 

8. Anything else to add?

I have a piece of art on my wall at home that simply says: “Do more of what makes you happy.”  When it comes to fitness, if it’s CrossFit, going hiking, lifting heavy things, riding your bike, or just simply walking around the block with your dog… forget what others think.  They’re not the ones doing your run, lifting your weight, walking in your shoes.  You are.

If it makes you truly happy & healthy, do it.

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