Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Interview with a Crossfitter

     An Interview with a Crossfitter: 
 Meet Justin Vee

    Aside from posting recipes, and antidotes about Zombies I'd like to start interviewing people who inspire me.  I'd like to start with the person who is has been one of the most influential people in my Crossfit career.  Meet,  Justin Vee. 

Born:  May 31, 1989

Hometown: Swedesboro,  NJ
Employment:  Godwin Pumps, Crossfit Solstice (Crossfit Solstice Website)
Most Resembles:  Rich Froning

     The reason I chose to start with Justin is because no matter what, he is nothing but enthusiastic toward his fellow Crossfitters.  We could do a serious burner of a workout that would make the devil run back to hell,  and while everyone is assed out on the mats Justin is walking around panting giving everyone fist pounds and telling them good job.  He is the go to person when looking to have a movement broken down, because he simply does not get frustrated.  When I was trying to figure out double unders, he stood there with me for 2 hours.  When I felt like screaming F this, he'd tell me to take a break and start over.  He never gets frustrated or gives up-- which is admirable since I give up on myself daily .  He just breathes and teaches.  I learned double unders and squat cleans from him (which happen to be my new addiction).

    Now before we get too far into this,  he's taken ladies.  His girlfriends name is Julie and she is an absolute doll.  So put your fangs away....

I'd like to introduce, Justin Vee, in his own words.

Q: How long have you been involved in CrossFit?  

Justin: 6/27/2011 was my first wod, which oddly enough was 3 years ago today! {responses written on date}

Q: What made you join CrossFit?


Justin:  I was a typical bodybuilding gym rat back in the day. I had just got hired at my new job at Godwin Pumps where I met my coworker Ron Orbin. Both being into fitness, Ron would tell me about CrossFit and I would occasionally get to see him do some “wods” in our local gym. They looked brutal, but I was up for the challenge.  A few weeks later I had my first wod in his buddy’s garage near where I lived (Adams Griscom's house-- Co-owner Crossfit Solstice) and I was hooked ever since.

Q: What made you want to become a Certified CrossFit Coach?

Justin: I honestly had no intentions on becoming a coach, Adam and Ron were full force with starting Solstice (Solstice Website)  and they needed another coach to fill in the time gaps  for a full schedule. I was very nervous and wanted to coach as little as possible. A lot has changed since then; today I can honestly say coaching is what I am most passionate about even over training. My certification was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Q: What makes you continue to CrossFit?


Justin: The pursuit of excellence, I just want to be better all the time. Whether it’s running, lifting, conditioning or coaching. When I get done doing something I always think about how I could have done it better. I am my own worst critic and that keeps me working.

Q: What gains or changes have you seen in yourself since beginning CrossFit?


Justin: The physical gains are a given, I am the strongest I have ever been and my conditioning has increased dramatically, though I have a LOT of work to do, I look forward to the journey. Looking past the physical stuff, CrossFit has had the biggest effect on my work ethic. I have done things I never thought I could do, I am a firm believer that you can achieve damn near anything if you work hard enough.

In the article “Crossfit: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” author Mark Rippetoe  states “CrossFit is a random exposure to a variety of different movements at different intensities, most of which are done for time, i.e. as many reps as possible in a stipulated time period or a stipulated number of reps done as fast as possible.  As such, it is Exercise, not Training, since it is random, and Training requires that we plan what we are going to do to get ready for a specific task.” (Source:

Q: How would you respond to this? Do you feel the members at your gym are

trained and given a purpose for a workout before completing one?


Justin: The programing at CrossFit Solstice is designed to improve the 10 general physical skills (Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy). Having said that, programing can be fine-tuned for those who have specific goals, so someone looking to improve their 5k time could benefit from different programing then someone looking to prepare for a strongman competition, and we are here to help them achieve their goal, that’s what it’s all about. So whether you are looking to just get in shape or you are specifically training for an event,  CrossFit Solstice can help.

In this same article Rippetoe cites “Any organization which grows this fast will have problems. Among the more serious problems that CrossFit has are the injuries. Shoulders, Achilles tendons, rhabdomyolysis, and all the other things that are the potential result of overtraining an athlete who cannot continue to adapt to randomly applied and sometimes very intense physical stress. These are potentially life-altering exposures to needless trauma that can be prevented by  not doing stupid shit to people who don't know any better than to do what they're told.” ((Source:

Q: What would you say CrossFit Solstice does with its members to avoid these

injuries from happening?


Justin: It comes down to the coaches. The coach needs to be able to find the fault in not only the movements but they need to be able to measure the 10 physical skills of an athlete before presenting them with a task. The first coaches of Solstice spent a lot of time in the CrossFit world before opening Solstice, pulling as much information from other resources as possible. We have learned a lot and continue to learn every day. Today we are fortunate to have our own members who became so in love with  CrossFit that went and got there CFL1 {certification} and are now parts of our coaching staff. Each new coach spends a few weeks shadowing classes where we break down the fundamentals of coaching and scaling for our members. I believe this is the best way to keep these injuries from happening, having knowledgeable and passionate coaches.

In the article: “Crossfit: Too much of a Good Thing is Definitely Bad” the author Ken Reed says”There's that infamous CrossFit group peer pressure. It's almost a cult-like phenomenon, and I think a lot of members don't want to rock the boat by saying anything against the program for fear of looking weak. Others have simply swallowed so much grape Kool-Aid that they can no longer think objectively, in my opinion. (Source: )

Q: What would you say to the critics claiming CrossFit is a “Cult”?

Justin: It is like a cult, and if you don’t like cults then it’s probably not for you.

Q: A lot of people who support CrossFit speak about the community which comes along with being a member of a CrossFit Gym—what does community look like in your gym?

Justin: It’s so great to follow up with someone after they try a free class or there first onramp session and hear them say “the people are awesome “.They truly love this stuff and they cannot wait to share it with someone else. It’s incredible to watch people meet for the first time, do a few wods together then a few weeks later they are damn near best friends. I have witnessed so many relationships build at Solstice, I am just so happy to be a part of it.

Q: What would you say to someone who was interested in trying CrossFit for the first time:

Justin: Christmas Abbot said once “just give it a try and if it doesn't work out then I am a firm believer that you try it again just in-case.” I like that.

Q: Can anyone join CrossFit?


Justin: Yes absolutely, BUT it’s not what everyone is looking for and that’s OKAY. CrossFit is for anyone, but not for everyone.

Stay Tuned for my next interview:  Talia Giordano,  Crossfit Novem (Philadelphia, PA)