Joe Levy 20X Challenge graduate interview with SGPT.
SGPT: Tell us a little about yourself and your background coming into 20X?
JL: In early 2009, I weighed 265 pounds with high cholesterol and dangerously high blood pressure. At 34, I was already discussing a myriad of drugs to lower my levels, which I would then have to be on for the rest of my life. Given an ultimatum by my doctor, I started CrossFit. Three years later, I had lost 75 pounds and 11 inches from my waist. When I finally plateaued, I was introduced to SealFit. A year later, 15 of us decided to bring the 20X Challenge to our gym; including our coach, a Kokoro 21 graduate.
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SGPT: When did you go through 20X and tell us about your experience.
JL: I participated in the August 24th, 20X Challenge at CrossFit Alliance in Greenville, SC. Our coach had gone through Kokoro 21, so we had a pretty good idea what to expect. However, like anything else, you don’t truly “appreciate” something until you have done it yourself. To sum up the experience, during our “meet and greet” session early in the morning, one of the participants introduced himself and said, “I’m ready to kick this thing in the ass”, to which Coach Chriss Smith responded, “don’t worry, this thing kicks back”. Something he happily reminded us of all…day…long…
SGPT: What was the hardest part of 20X for you?
JL: During the 12th hour, I felt myself blacking out. The SealFit coaches told me to go and eat some fruit, which was the last thing I remember before passing out. Once I came to, and was “released” by the medical staff, I returned to finish the challenge with my teammates. Pulling myself up off the ground and finishing the last hour, depleted of all energy, was the hardest, yet most gratifying, part of the day.
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SGPT: How did you prepare for 20X and how long?
JL: I spent the better part of 12 weeks training. Our group did Angie and Murph a number of times, both slick and with 20 pound rucks. We did hour long Grinder PT’s, with and without water being sprayed in our faces. As a group, we completed 5 x 5 mile mountain rucks, with increasingly heavier packs (20 – 60 pounds). By the end of our training, our Saturday morning workouts were 6 and 7 hours in length, in order to prepare us for the 13 – 14 hours of the challenge.
SGPT: What is one tip you would give a candidate for 20X to take heed?
JL: Don’t underestimate what you are capable of accomplishing. As long as you’re still breathing, you are still able to put one foot in front of the other. If you happen to fall down, get back up and continue…your “will to live” trumps everything else.
SGPT: How does it feel to be done and what have you learned?
JL: On the Wednesday after the challenge, when I finally felt human enough to return to the gym, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to give the WOD 100%. After completing the workout, I realized that we had given 120% during the challenge, more than has ever been asked of us. Giving just 100% seemed like an “easy day”. During the challenge, I never thought I would feel this way, but I have come full circle and wouldn’t think twice about signing up for another 20X Challenge, or even taking the next step and enrolling in Kokoro.
SGPT: Thanks for the interview.
JL: Thank you for being a part of the experience.
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