We’d like to take a minute to introduce you to our first “Member of the Month”. We chose Mikey Hankinson to be our first member of the month. He has been a member at CWCF since we were in the church and he’s been CrossFitting much longer than that.
We’ve chosen Mike as our first member of the month, because we believe he embodies Commonwealth CrossFit’s values of Community, Joyful Drivenness, Generosity and Transparency. Mikey is amazing at always introducing himself to new people whenever he’s in a class and goes incredibly out of his way to make people feel welcome. He goes to great lengths to continue his education about movement patterns, be it fixing his own elbow issues through experimentation in shoulder rotation angles during pullups, to putting himself through his own Wendler strength progressions. In all of his commitment to working hard and making gains, he has kept a really good-natured view and perspective of his own training, realizing that time spent doing yoga with his girlfriend might be more important than WODing every single(t) day. He even even runs CrossFit workouts for the undergrad students in the dorm where he’s a proctor.
Thanks Mikey, for all you add to our community.
Name: Mike (Mikey) Hankinson
Nickname: Mikey, Stallions (plural, apparently), Naked Mike (at my old box, but those days have passed).
What do you do when you’re not making sweat angels?
I am a Ph.D. candidate in Government & Social Policy at Harvard University. More specifically, I study urban development. Where are buildings, parks, infrastructure constructed, why? What is the political process? How do developers, government officials, and community members interact? I have a special love for repurposing industrial sites, making our CWCF box particularly inviting.
Hometown: Unionville, Pennsylvania. An hour west of Philly, halfway to Amish country. The collision point between rural and suburban. Seeing scores of farms torn up, speckled with McMansions, I began to wonder why do our cities and suburbs look the way they do. Which, years later, brings me here.
Favorite WOD: Nancy, by far. Two extremes: Liberating, free-form strides with reckless abandon versus highly controlled, focused overhead squats. The juxtaposition between heavy breathing for the sprint and full-lung, tight-core squats adds to the fun. Also, Nancy was the closest I ever came to beating my first CrossFit coach at the prescribed weight.
Favorite Lift: Overhead squats. A full body effort requiring beautiful control.
Are you a morning, noon or evening kinda CrossFitter? Evening. My muscles are loose, my mind is eager to leave its troubles at the door. Unfortunately, my second job as a Resident Tutor (think RA/Life Coach for Harvard undergrads) prevents me from attending more evening classes.
How long have you been at CWCF? One year, consistently. I made a number of trips to the Vineyard Church back in the good ol’ days, but the commute prevented full-time membership.
How did you get into it? For eight years, I spent my mornings on the water as a competitive rower. First in high school, then at the University of Virginia, rowing taught me discipline and provide each day and year with structure. Leaving college, that structure vanished. Left alone, absent my forty teammates to help push me, the thought of sitting on the erg for 5 x 20 minutes began to lose its appeal. A friend had mentioned cross-training similar to CrossFit. A Google search later, I was signed up for my intro class. I knew I was on to something when, despite a rowing-related career ending back injury only a month before, I performed a 5 RM deadlift with no pain. I was hooked.
In high school were you a sport-o, motorhead, dweebie or a righteous dude? I was a sport-o minus the glamor. Our high school didn’t have a rowing team, so I joined a rowing club about a half hour away. All of the time constraints of a varsity sport without the prestige.
How has Crossfit changed your life outside of the gym…other than not being able to hold a conversation for more than 10 minutes without the word “WOD”? Crossfit has imbued me with a sense of power. As a kid, I could never climb ropes or do pull-ups. For me, the Presidential Fitness Test was the ultimate middle school embarrassment. However, through Crossfit, I have found that our greatest improvements come by tackling our weaknesses. My greatest Crossfit moment came the first time I climbed a rope.
What motivates/inspires you? ”Why not?” When I think of a challenge and self-doubt seeps in, I ask myself, “Why not? What is stopping me from accomplishing the task at hand?” The skills I’ve learned and WODs I’ve pushed through have taught me that will is the only limiting factor. When my goal seems unachievable, I think of climbing that rope for the first time and ask myself, “Why not?”
Name one goal/personal achievement that you would like to achieve through Crossfit. I have a long-term list of physical feats/adventures I would like to achieve, many of which are endurance events (swim the English Channel, Race Across America). The specialized nature of these tasks raises the question, “Why even bother with Crossfit when you should just swim/bike/run/row?” In the end, I come back to “Why not?” In the box, I continue to do things I never thought possible, like climbing the rope. If will is the limiting factor, then the mental training I get from Crossfit is invaluable.
What’s your best tip for the newbies? Be patient and enjoy the ride. I spent my first year and a half scaling the WODs before I could regularly tackle the prescribed weight. Build your foundation now with solid form and sound mechanics at an appropriate weight. Not only will you get a better workout, but you will make swifter, safer strides towards your ultimate goal. It’s about the journey, not the destination.