Eric Penko

Eric Penko



What brought you to CrossFit Renaissance?
I was sick of the normal “chest day, leg day, back day,” etc. routine at the normal gym. To be honest, I was first introduced to CrossFit workouts when guys at my old gym took up all the space and plates in the weight room to do a WOD. I hated those guys. I just wanted to get huge. I decided to try CrossFit when I was sick of working out alone and lost motivation to go to the gym.

What was your first impression?
When I did my intro classes, I had no flexibility, my form was terrible, and I thought I had done so much disproportionate damage to my body from working out that I would never be able to be good at this. Learning to workout for functionality rather than aesthetics was a struggle and still continues to be.

Has that changed?
Absolutely. I remember having my workouts scaled at first and how discouraging it was when I hit a cutoff. I honestly wanted to quit. Now, I realize there was a method to the coaches’ madness. If Ray and Bill didn’t scale the workouts for me at first, I would probably be in a wheelchair.

What are you currently working on?
Olympic lifts. I still struggle with these and am terrified of getting under heavy weight. When it comes to Olympic lifts, it’s like my brain shuts off and I have no motor skills.

What is the toughest part of CrossFit for you?
Endurance. I have a lot to learn about breathing technique, managing heart rate, and to mentally “go somewhere else man!”, as Bill would say. It’s bizarre because my favorite WODs are long and heavy.

What is your favorite memory at CrossFit Renaissance?
My first muscle up. I did so much progression work for these. I mean weeks of work. I learned them just in time to do the Open workout 15.3 RX’d. It included 7 muscle ups. After my first one, I remember leaving the gym and not being able to get the grin off my face for days.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?
A little over a year and a half.

What kind of results have you seen? Both physical and mental.
Physically, I’ve never felt better. Currently, I’m close to my pre-college weight, and haven’t lost any muscle mass. Mentally, I’ve never had more confidence. I feel great knowing I’ve accomplished or can accomplish anything with enough hard work and dedication. Also, I can rarely pick a time of day that I am not thinking about the gym. Sometimes, I wake up and wish I was unemployed so I could spend the entire day at the gym, but then I would have no way of paying for it. Which is why I need a sponsor. Rogue, Progenex, Reebok, if you read this, what’s up?

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