Name: Erik Richards
Hometown: Milwaukee, by way of Oshkosh, WI
CrossFitting since: May 2012
A little about yourself: I am a proud public school educator, teaching World History and Holocaust Studies at South Milwaukee High School. My wife and I live in the Washington Heights neighborhood in Milwaukee with our two children, Sadie (14) and Stella (12). Both girls are Crossfit Kids alumni (ae) — and love the fitness foundation the coaches at Badger helped build. It was through our kids that I was introduced to Badger CrossFit — Tyra Hildebrand and I coached our daughters’ soccer team together (Go Roadrunners!). After a game, and some complaints about my bad back, Tyra encouraged me to give Badger a try. Tyra and Greg testified to Badger’s healing powers, and I gave it a go. Best advice I ever received. Thanks, Tyra and Greg!
Background before CrossFit: I had been a decent athlete in high school, played baseball for a short time in college, and figured a little bit of athleticism would suit me for occasional soccer and basketball games and the Weekend Warrior circuit. Nope. Constant nagging injury and mental health problems told me it was time to make a change.
How did you get into CrossFit? The 4-week Elements course put an exclamation point on the problems with my outlook. I checked my ego at the door, stood in awe at the beasts inhabiting the warehouse, and figured that if I got a little better each day, I might someday be able to do a WOD as Rx. The first class after my Elements trial was really intimidating. But, as has been the case everyday over the last 4 and half years, the tremendous coaches and community got me through. Always cheered, first or last; Always encouraged, good day or bad–Badger has helped me build a lifetime fitness habit that I am proud to share with my family, my students, my friends, and anyone who will listen (in true CrossFit fashion: *smile).
Favorite WOD or movement: Oddly enough, the most intimidating part of CrossFit for me in the first two years has become the part I love the most: Olympic lifts. I love the mix of strength and athleticism that those lifts require, and appreciate the varied ways we work on them and use them in WODs. Constantly varied. Great coaching makes them possible for people like me without a background in weightlifting. I appreciate those movements every time I move.
How has CrossFit changed you outside the gym? Outside of the gym, I have become a much more patient, encouraging and reflective person. I notice it most in my parenting and teaching. I have lived the reality that judgement doesn’t inspire change. I have learned that building capacity in yourself and in those around you requires cooperation, communication, and commitment–the “co” in community.
What makes Badger CrossFit unique? I love starting my day, 3-5 days a week, with the 5 am crew. I rest when I have to, but I look forward to the work. In the end it is simple. I know that every rep I complete with this community is one more step in a longer, healthier, more rewarding life.
Advice for people just getting started: My best advice is the advice I give myself every morning– get up and put your feet on the floor. That’s it.