12 Questions with CrossFit Athlete/Personal Trainer Sam Decristofaro Gregory
1) Who is Sam Decristofaro Gregory? (where are you from, what do you do, a bit about yourself (hobbies, etc)
I’m currently living in Tampa Florida with my husband Grant & our crazy lab Lloyd Christmas (actually I was born and raised in FL which is rare to be a true Floridian!) my hometown is in Vero Beach FL. I love to travel (we try to go on one bucket list trip per year, so far we’ve done Italy, Hawaii, Thailand & Singapore, with Egypt next on the list), go to the beach & go out to dinner and try new foods & wine, hanging with Mr Christmas the lab, training for a purpose which CrossFit has given me, & training my clients. I was previously working in corporate America for several years but felt something was missing. I finally took the leap and left to be a personal trainer where I’ve happily been the last 2 years.
2) How many years have you been training?
I’ve been training in CrossFit since the end of September 2014 (and was on my regional team 15–16–17), but I officially started weightlifting (snatch/clean jerk/ etc) sophomore year of high school (I was a gymnast prior for about 10 yrs). I had just moved to a new high school and it was something a few of my fellow cheerleaders were doing. Just so happened that my dad was a weightlifting coach and even trained at the olympic training center in CO in the 80s…. so hey why not! I ended up taking home the State Championship titles all 3 years I competed. Unfortunately it fell by the wayside once I went to college cause it wasn’t that popular then, wasn’t many coaches & college cheerleading took up a lot of my time. I stayed in shape but didn’t really olympic lift for almost 9 years.
3) Whats been the most challenging/hardest part of your journey so far? and how have you overcome them (set backs, rejections, injuries, basically anything difficult that you have had to overcome)
I think the hardest part at first for me was swallowing my pride and allowing myself to get my ass handed to me during CrossFit wods. I struggled A LOT with the cardio aspect a lot (apparently exercise induced asthma is a thing?! Yes, I use an inhaler prior to really cardio intense wods- for example; Fran and NO, I’m not ashamed of whipping it out when needed LOL!). My first competition was legit less than 30 days of starting CrossFit and I was TERRIFIED! I did scaled even though my husband tried to bump me up to RX because I was able to do Bar Muscle ups and prescribed weights in RX (but not at the pace thats needed hahah!) I completed 2 WODs and felt so bad, both my hands ripped bleeding everywhere, and I actually was crying wanting to quit. I couldn’t believe people would put themselves thru something that felt so miserable, like what the hell are they thinking!? I almost didn’t complete the final wod but I’ve never quit at anything before (and I’m pretty sure my dad would give me hell if I had quit and he found out!) so sucked it up and finished. After that day I never looked back. I didn’t want to suck anymore. I didn’t like how I had nothing to work for (other than not get fat). I wanted to have something with purpose as silly as it sounds.
Fortunately for me the worst thing I’ve had to deal with was finding out from the ortho that I have a hip impingement in my left hip socket August 2015. Luckily, with LOTS of mobility daily over an 8 week stretch and cutting back on anything squatting related did the trick. Cutting back on training was hard because I was starting to make gains on my cleans/snatch but I did what I was told and partook in “operation top heavy”.
One other sucky moment I had to deal with was during the open in 2016, after completing 16.5 with the burpee/thruster combo my triceps got severe DOMS/boarderline rhabdo (i know ridiculous). I couldn’t bend my arms to put my hair up or put on sports bras/shirts for almost 2 weeks (picture someone completely bent over putting on shirts and such). After that I could barely move a barbell over my head and we had about 7 weeks or so until the Atlantic Regionals. I thought for sure I was going to lose my spot on the team because of that. I cried and prayed I would heal in time. I had to modify so many movements and was stressed to the max. Luckily the doctor told me I would be fine but I had to be smart during that time period to let my triceps heal. I ended up being ok and got to be at the 2016 regionals and things worked out.
4) What does your typical workout/diet routine look like?
I train Mon-Tues-Wed-Fri-Sat with Thursday and Sunday as active/rest days. Two training sessions a day usually go on during summer once regionals have ended and the next year of building starts all over again. I count Macros & worked with Lindsey Jenks over at Macrostax for 2 years. She really helped me understand food better and how to fuel my body for what I need it to do. I feel like I have such a better relationship with food and how I perceive myself now. It’s also awesome that I don’t have to deprive myself of certain foods 🙂
It’s about balance. Not that I would consider myself old by any means at 32 but I have to be smart about my training volume & my recovery. Means I have to warm up better and cool down vs just skipping out after the training session. I’ve also finally come to understand that I have peaks and valley’s during the training season. I’d be lying if I said I never had a “mental meltdown” during the year where I don’t feel like I can continue or my body is just beyond exhausted. I know now I will bounce back and be fine but I sometimes forget during those moments where I feel so tired & broken so to speak or when I’m not making progress. It’s all about trusting the process and knowing you’ll be ready when the time comes, and when it does come OHHHH boy is it sweet!
6) Whats your favourite cheat/Treat meal?
I LOVE Pizza!! I’m more of a savory person than sweets person so I love me some good New York style Pizza.
7) Whats one supplement that you could not live without?
I LOVE my 10 Performance Carb supplement. It’s super easy to drink prior, during, and/or after an intense training session. It tastes like gatorade minus the 30g or so of sugar. I’d say a close second would be the 10 performance Recover Pro Deer Antler which I take daily.
8) If you had to start your Journey from scratch with your health & physique what would you do differently and why?
I’d start sooner! What I wouldn’t give to have found CrossFit about 5–10 years earlier. Once college ended and I was done cheering it was almost as if a part of me died. There wasn’t many things I could do as an adult other than run 5Ks/marathons (& in all honesty straight up running is not something I enjoy doing). I guess I could have tried doing triathlons or something but it wasn’t really my thing. I missed lifting and I wouldn’t have stopped, I would have kept up and tried to find a coach and kept competing in weightlifting if I had to start over.
9) Who do you look upto in the fitness industry and why?
I wouldn’t say I have any one particular individual whom I look up to. I greatly admire the masters level athletes due to having about 10000 things on their plates at any given time but they still manage to find time to be amazing at what they do. I admire all the women who have bucked the trend that you can’t be strong or athletic and need to be “skinny” or whatever to be considered beautiful. I admire the men & women who have overcome obstacles such as illness & injury that show with determination anything is possible.
10) If you had to give one bit of advice to people starting out what would that be?
When it gets “hard” keep going. It’s going to suck, you’ll question your sanity of why you keep doing this to yourself. Then all the sudden one day it clicks; you hit that skill or you get that lift you’ve been trying so hard for. It’s the most wonderful thing to look back upon and see progress you’ve made. The hard work WILL pay off. If it’s something you love, believe in yourself and just do it, regardless of how crazy others think you are.
11) What new goals do you have on the horizon?
Regarding CrossFit goals: I was hoping we could make it back to regionals as a team this year for 2018. I’m unsure since my husband was out due to elbow surgery & another teammate just injured his knee during 18.2. We do have a shot but we will have to see. Personally I wanted top 100 this year in the open with no workouts getting the best of me like in years past. Always one WOD has gotten me and knocked me down the leaderboard. Next year I’ll bump that higher to top 70 or better. I have about 2 years until I’m a masters age athlete and I would love to qualify and have a crack at master individual. If you would have asked me this same question 2 years ago this answer wouldn’t have even been a thought. If you would have asked me if i have chance at it as a master, I might have laughed and thought “no way”. I want to keep improving on my fitness and be able to do this stuff when I’m in my 60s/70s. Might seem crazy to some people but for me it’s a lifestyle. Having a purpose to keep going and not just sit around and age. I want to also be able to contribute to our FL Grid team, the Tampa Bay Brigade, again for upcoming 2018 season and take back to back championships!
12) Where can people find you? (website, social media accounts)
Facebook: Samantha DeCristofaro Gregory