Athlete of the MonthMarch

Chris D.

Career: Real Estate Investor

Years at CrossFit Fortius: 1

"There’s no getting ready to start in CrossFit, just start CrossFit."

Chris Deal (@realdealbjj), 38, Real Estate Investor

When did you start at CrossFit Fortius?
October of 2020

Sports/Fitness Background?
I’m a Brazilian Jiu jitsu brown belt and have been training for the last 7.5 years competing at some of the largest tournaments in the world. I have a total of over 40 medals from white belt through purple belt. 16 golds 13 silvers and 11+ bronze medals, the highlights being 2019 world championship Gold as a purple belt in my weight and bronze in the open weight as well as 2018 double silver in NOGI worlds as a brand new purple belt. I’ve also competed professionally for Fight 2 Win and have a 1-1 record there. I’m looking forward to the lockdowns ending so I can compete again. I also surf 1-2 times a week.

Why Fortius?
I chose Fortius because of the level of coaching they offer. The coaches here are top notch and pay close attention to details that many run of the mill coaches miss. Understanding body mechanics is huge in Jiu jitsu so it’s very easy to tell when the emphasis is right when trying a gym. My wife and I joined together and we have been looking for somewhere she could train at and get the proper support she needed as she had tried a few group training classes at a few different gyms and kept getting hurt and the coaches weren’t giving her the proper guidance to prevent it from happening over and over again. Fortius is worlds apart from those places.

What kind of progress have you made over the past year?
When I joined Fortius in October I was 220lbs, today I’m 220lbs but man has that weight shifted around on my body. I had a bit of a gut since I got injured and couldn’t train Jiu jitsu much and now it’s getting toned down significantly and my shoulders, back and legs are getting solid. People have made comments in zoom meetings about my shoulders being bigger than they remember. I’ve also been hitting PR’s on a lot of my lifts and have gotten a really solid foundation to a lot of the technique through the coaching of the team. I probably annoy some of them with the amount of questions I ask but they have all been super helpful and it’s noticeable in my performance. I also used to loathe when we would have to run(it’s my mortal enemy) now I’m jazzed up when there’s a 400m run in the Wod and I can see how much better my cardio and endurance is. At Jiu jitsu I’m more explosive, stronger, and able to be more calm and controlled when needed. I thinks it’s also helped my surfing too as my pop up and control is noticeably improved.

What is the biggest misconception about CrossFit?
The biggest misconception I had about CrossFit is that you are just throwing around Olympic lifts as fast as possible and sacrificing form leading to a high probability of injury. This may ring true at some gyms, but it couldn’t be further from the truth at Fortius. Countless times I’ve been coached to stick to the numbers, don’t rush to stack on more weight, work on the technique and the weight will come, etc. if you have an ego/pride like me checking that at the door can be hard when you’re standing next to someone half your size lifting heavier weights, but it will pay off in the long run when you master the techniques.

Advice for someone looking to start CrossFit?
Take the free trial, ask LOTS OF QUESTIONS the coaches actually like that. Know that it’s a marathon not a sprint. There’s no getting ready to start in CrossFit, just start CrossFit. And at Fortius they have a bunch of coaches that all have different styles/personalities; there is a coach for everyone here.

What’s next? What are your goals for the future?
I’m doing the CrossFit open. I love competing in anything, it pumps me up. Within 30 days I will back squat & deadlift 300+lbs. I have a goal to get my first unassisted muscle up within 30-60 days (this may be a tall order). I want to clean & jerk over 200lbs within the next 30-60 days. And get back in the Jiu jitsu competition scene this year with the goal to win Masters Worlds this November as a brown belt.

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