Congratulations to Misha Vyazmensky, November’s Extraordinary Athlete! Born and raised in Russia, Misha is the Chief Technology Officer at Exponent Technologies as well as a husband and a father to two kiddos. He is a very busy man with work and kids, but he always finds time to fit in his workouts. Misha came to CrossFit Odyssey a little bit over a year ago. He was competing in Iron Man Competitions but had a recurring problem with his Achilles’ tendon, which put a stop to all running for him. A man who enjoys his physical exercise, Misha was looking to find the same satisfaction with CrossFit.

When Misha joined us he was in excellent cardiovascular shape. That means he could run and row and bike and swim and do anything that gets the heart pumping with relative ease because his body had been trained in those areas. The greatest element he was missing, however, was weightlifting and muscle development. Misha was very smart about how he approached CrossFit, though. He knew that these elements were relatively foreign to him, or at least he hadn’t done them in a good while, so he started very slowly and carefully, yet diligently, and he made sure he had the proper technique and form before he increased any of his weights. As some of you know, this can be a really difficult thing to do. You are in a room with a bunch of men and women your age who are moving more weight and often moving it faster. If you have a competitive spirit it is easy to get sucked in and push yourself harder than you should and get hurt. Misha, however, kept it under control and focused on what he knew he needed to improve first.

In CrossFit coaches’ training, we learn to “triage”. That means we find what problems are the biggest problems and we solve those first, then we start moving down the line. At first, we are focused on basic mechanics such as sitting on your heels, knees out, head up, straight back, basic coordination. Everything begins with good posture! Then we start to focus on details such as mobility, muscle activation, breath control and more. Any of you who have done this know that in the beginning, your goal is just to survive and return. Then as you get better you can learn more about the movement and your body and how it works. Well, this is exactly what Misha did from the very beginning – he was able to stop himself, adjust, refocus and hit it hard so that his success rate has been incredible.

We have a saying in CrossFit, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. Take your time to get to know your body and the movements and the speed will come naturally. Misha did just that and now he is moving heavier weights with better movement and speed. Not to mention, have you seen his abs? This guy is looking good! Congratulations Misha on being November’s Extraordinary Athlete!