Spotlight Athlete – Alberto Miranda (Aging Backwards)

“I guess I used to think I was strong. I was wrong. I wasn’t even close.” – Alberto Miranda

Athlete Feature: Alberto Miranda
Training Facility: CFD Lincoln Square
Joined CFD: March 2014
Profession / Titles: Husband and father of 2 are the most important titles I have.  Corp Finance, VP Finance at The Millard Group, Inc.
Hometown:  Chicago, IL

Who is Alberto?
Alberto is known by coaches and fellow athletes for his humble hard work. But beneath that is a strong, fearless athlete who has never said “I can’t” or “I won’t be able to”. This year he completed one goal of his first Vested RX “Murph”, days before his 40th birthday . There is nothing standing in the way of Alberto’s success and this is why he has inspired us as our Spotlight Athlete.

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Tell us how you got started with CrossFit and what you did prior to finding CFD?
Back in the fall of 2014, I had been doing what I had been doing the past 20 yrs…paying for a gym membership I hardly used and ‘Yo-Yo’ing with low carb diets to try and manage my weight. I was never really active, most comfortable resting at home in front of the TV with a pizza and soda at arm’s length. I did have some success, but it was never sustainable, dieting left me too tired to work out, and it felt as if working out just allowed me to eat more. I had thought about changing things up a little to get in shape for the holidays . At the same time my wife’s cousin, Dayna, wouldn’t stop going on and on about how much she liked this thing called CrossFit, how much its improved her health and that we needed to try it out. I wasn’t sure what it was all about so I found a box close to home and scheduled a visit. I wasn’t completely sold after my visit. It felt intimidating seeing a class in progress (no treadmills), a lot of heavy looking weight, class environment. So I went back into my comfort zone, signed up for rib eating contest and thought I had moved on. I ended up winning for the 4th time in 5 years, thought I was feeling pretty good about myself, but then started re-thinking priorities, especially about the example I was setting for the kids. I did not want them following me in these footsteps. I was already having trouble keeping up with the 4 yr old, and I knew it wasn’t going to get easier when the boy started walking. At about the same time, cousin Dayna started asking me when I was going to give it a try, she had an answer for all my excuses and wasn’t letting up so with my wife’s blessing I figured I’d give it a go.

What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs you’ve tried?
Everything!  Workwise, I was doing a lot more cardio before and significantly less strength work. I rarely touched a barbell and looking back I’m surprised I hadn’t seriously injured myself when I did. I would get bored easily after several weeks of doing the same routines over and over again that I’d stop going. Right now I think I’m in the strongest shape of my life.

Setting up for a strong pull during a recent powerlifting meet.

Setting up for a strong pull during a recent powerlifting meet.

Support/Instruction wise, I had spent the past 20 yrs working out mostly on my own at my own pace. I’ve signed up for personal trainers who would show me how to use equipment but not necessarily how to progress. The staff at the gym was friendly, but in 20 yrs probably I only remember them stepping in once or twice to instruct me on how to correct my form….and once to tell me not to drop my weights.

What is your proudest accomplishment during your time as an athlete here?
There have been so many milestones and I’m proud of all of them:
1 – I climbed a rope for the first time ever (I remember just swinging from one when we had to do it in grade school)
2 – I hit 3 pullups after a year of trying (never able or wanted to do even 1 before)
3 – I lost 37 lbs in my first year and have been able to maintain weight this year.
4 – Late last year I put on a suit that I hadn’t fit into in over 10 yrs (when I was 25 lbs lighter than I am now)
5 – I think mostly I’m proud that I’ve gone, as of 11/7/16, 624 days without drinking a soda. Accomplishments considering I used to polish off a couple of 2-liter bottles daily…but that was before you guys introduced me to the whole 30 challenge for the first time.

What do you love most about CFD?
Hard to say…why do I keep coming back for more? I’m perpetually sore, the workouts are brutal, I can only workout late at night when body and mind are telling me I should be sleeping or vegging in front of the TV….with a pizza, but here are some of my favorite parts.

The coaches; I can’t say enough about each and every one of them. I couldn’t have made the progress that I did without the help of all of them.  My fellow athletes are amazing motivators and create such a welcoming community.  The programming works – I feel fitter than I ever have – I wouldn’t keep doing it if it didn’t work.  My numbers keep improving (except when they don’t – double unders), and it doesn’t hurt that CFD LS is walking distance from home, one of these days I might actually walk over.

Another day.  Another lift.  Alberto continues to look and feel younger from week to week.

Another day. Another lift. Alberto continues to look and feel younger from week to week.

If you could give somebody starting out some advice what would it be?
1 – Listen to your coaches – I wouldn’t be here, practically in one piece, if it weren’t for them helping me do this safely and productively.
2 – Mobilize – show up for a session or two or just go every week, take notes and find time.
3 – Participate in one of the nutritional challenges…..who would of thought, diet AND exercise will help you get fitter.
4 – Record everything – log your PRs and WOD’s…best way to measure improvements.

How has training changed how you see yourself?
I guess I used to think I was strong. I was wrong. I wasn’t even close. More important than how I see myself is how I hope my family sees me. A few months ago, my wife was showing our 6 yr old some baby pictures, when they came across a couple like this one of her and me….she didn’t recognize ‘that’ guy on the couch.

One thing we would be surprised to know about you?
Not afraid to admit it, I got a little choked up when the cubs won the World Series! .then I yelled so loud I woke up the boy.

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What are you looking forward to most in the new year? What are your goals for this year?
I’m looking forward to continued improvements. I still have work to do with my double-unders and stringing together more than just 3 pullups at a time. Trying to get to 400lbs on my deadlift before the end of the year and to improve my form and weights for my clean and jerks. Tried my hand at a little more endurance work this year, and looking to put that to good use next year (10k + maybe).

Words to live by:
I keep reminding myself to do better today than I did yesterday. I still struggle with overeating and my inner couch potato. I know I’ll lapse again just keep telling myself to forget yesterday’s mistake and try to do better today.