Congratulations to Andrew Elash, our Viking Athletics member of the month for February! He’s been a Viking member for 6 months now, and he loves to eat. Andrew is a designer by trade, and loves pull-ups. Read more about him below!
- What are your hobbies/interest/talents outside of the gym?
When I’m not in the gym, I’m usually with my friends. Most of my closest friends are in New York City or Washington, DC, so I visit those cities as often as I can. I moved to Manhattan from Connecticut for work in 2018 but came back at the end of 2020. And somehow almost all of my closest friends in Connecticut ended up in DC over the last few years. I love both cities, so I’m lucky I have those connections.
I also have a pretty time demanding job, which I love but also keeps in a chair for many hours during the week. I design web applications and do brand strategy for a healthcare tech product company. We’re based in Hartford and our parent company is in Manhattan, but I’m fully remote. So if I have a talent, it’s that—I’m a good designer.
It’s super rewarding to be able to flex my creativity as a professional, but it leaves me pretty exhausted. So anytime I’m not working or exercising I’m either out being social, or at home trying to reset and unwind.
Also eating… I love food. Which is one of the reasons I workout so much!
- Share with us one thing that most people do NOT know about you?
I think I’m pretty good at projecting confidence, but inside my head I’m constantly worrying about everything. I’m very good at getting myself all worked up over nothing—which is a really good reason that I should never check the workouts in Wodify before going to class!
- How long have you been with us at Viking Athletics?
Since September 2021. Almost six months ago—wild!
- Take us back to your first week here. How did you feel? Remember the workout?
My first workout was with Mallory, though I have no idea what day or what the workout was. I remember feeling immediately welcomed. When I joined Viking it was after visiting a few other local CrossFit gyms, and I knew immediately this was the one. Mallory does a great job talking up Erik and CrossFit—she definitely won me over!
- What moment/achievement are you most proud of at Viking Athletics?
Hard to pinpoint a specific moment. Finding out I could do handstand pushups (both kipping and strict) was pretty great. Or the first time I did a few kipping pullups in a row or unbroken toes-to-bar.
The Olympic lifts—cleans and snatches—were completely new to me when I started CrossFit. The front rack was so uncomfortable! I used to dread the workouts with these movements. I’m naturally an overthinker, and because they’re complex movements, it’s really easy to overthink them and mess up your form. I’m much more comfortable with them now to a point where I can typically push the weight—building my confidence with these makes me super proud.
- Design your perfect workout?
Any combo of the rower, pullups and pushups. The rower always gets my heart rate up and it’s always a good opportunity to push myself just a little harder. And I love pullups because—no matter what—they’re challenging, but grinding out a bunch of them is always an awesome feeling. And I love the pump you get from pushups.
And as much as I complain about them, I love how I feel after doing a bunch of cleans or snatches. The way your body adapts to handle these movements is amazing—so good for your core and your overall posture! I recommend front racks and font squats to literally everyone nowadays.
- What is your least favorite movement?
Burpees. Doesn’t everyone hate burpees??? Kidding aside, I think I’m warming up to them. If you can pace them, they aren’t that bad.
- Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less.
Always moving, always hungry.
- Have you experienced any changes in your lifestyle since joining Viking Athletics?
I’ve wanted to try CrossFit for a long time, because I always thought I would probably like it and that I’d be good at it. I’ve been lifting for years, and before joining Viking I was just getting bored with it. I felt like I was doing the same stuff over and over and not really seeing results. When work started to get more intense last year, I knew it was time to switch things up because I needed balance in my life—it was too easy to put off the gym because work was stressing me out.
Since joining, I honestly feel more fit than I ever have. CrossFit has really helped me understand my body and know what I’m capable of better than I ever have. I feel like I’m constantly challenging myself, learning new things, and getting better and stronger. It’s hard to imagine life without it now… so I’m going to keep doing it as long as I’m able to…
- What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking about joining or who has recently joined?
If you haven’t joined—DO IT! CrossFit is a blast. It’s hard, but exercise that is impactful SHOULD be hard. But at the same time, you have great coaches who will help you and never push you to do anything that could potentially harm you. And if you’re just starting out—stick with it! Be consistent. If you come to class at least four or five times a week, and you push yourself in class, you’ll see results!